Jolly red runners take over inner-city
There will be no crying or pouting when 300 jolly red men and women run through Palmerston North's inner-city for charity tomorrow night.
It will be the first time volunteer Santas from the region can take part in The Great KidsCan Santa Run, held in conjunction with the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Mash Trust IT manager and local Santa Run organiser Grant Mantle said the event was on track to be the fourth largest in the country.
"The expectation was 60 people initially and we were going to run around the footpath but it's turned into quite a large thing - we're expecting 300 people and have had to order in more suits," he said.
"It's a nationwide event, with 16 different places that hold it and now Palmerston North is one of them.
"We were going to hold it today with the other events around the country but Destination Manawatu got a whiff of what we were doing and approached us to co-ordinate with them for the lighting of the Christmas Tree, so it's more of a community event."
Mr Mantle said inspiration for the event came from seeing it in action over previous years "and I thought we would give it a crack".
"We're a non-profit helping a bigger non-profit," he said.
"Adults who pay $25 are given a Santa suit when they turn up on the night, we've closed the roads around The Square and they have to run or walk three times around. Children can pay $5 to participate but they don't get suits."
Destination Manawatu chief executive Lance Bickford said bringing the Santa Run and the Lighting Ceremony together made sense. "The lighting ceremony has been happening for a number of years and when we took it over from the council a couple of years ago we thought it deserved a bit more of a profile," he said.
"But a short lighting ceremony won't do it, so we really wanted to find another community event that was a good fit with it and the Santa Run is just perfect.
"Expectations are we get a good group of people there celebrating a good fun community event."
The Santa Run will be held at 7pm tomorrow at The Square, and will be followed by the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Visit santarun.co.nz or the Mash Trust on Main St to register.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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