Santa Jog raises money for British Heart Foundation

Basingstoke Gazette: Four-year-old Elsa Whiting with her medal and certificate. Buy this photo » Four-year-old Elsa Whiting with her medal and certificate.

A SEA of Santas in Basingstoke's Eastrop Park made for a very festive sight as runners took part in the sixth annual British Heart Foundation Santa Jog.

The event, which was this year renamed Chase the Pud, saw 70 runners - many wearing full Father Christmas outfits - run, jog and walk around the Basingstoke park.

All the entrants gathered next to the main pond before the start of the run last Sunday (DEC 1), where they were taken through a warm-up by Kat Allison, cardiac rehabilitation co-ordinator from Basingstoke Sports Centre.

She said: “It's an important cause and it's something quite close to my heart. We see 130 people who come to us each week for cardiac rehab, so it's great to raise awareness of the British Heart Foundation.”

The runners, some as young as four, then headed for the starting line before Neil Jarrett, fundraising and volunteer manager at British Heart Foundation, started the race.

The entrants completed either one, three or five laps of the 1km course, and the first home after one lap was four-year-old Elsa Whiting, who ran with her mother Helen.

Helen, from Chineham, said it was the first time she had taken part in the event. She said: “My husband runs a lot and I thought this would be a good run to do with Elsa as it's for all ages. She ran about half of the way around and she seemed to really enjoy it.”

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First across the line after completing the full 5km route was competitive 10-year-old Cameron Coveney, who completed the course in an impressive time of 18 minutes and 26 seconds.

The keen runner, whose six-year-old brother Charlie also took part, said he was really pleased to have beaten the adults who were taking part.

Cameron, who attends St Mary's Junior School., in Old Basing and runs for Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletic Club, said: “It was really fun and I'm pleased with my time. I've run it a couple of times before but never won, so it's good.”

His mum, Catriona Coveney, said she was very proud of both her sons. She said: “I told Cameron before the race that it was just a bit of fun but he is very competitive and always likes to win. I'm very proud of both of them. Charlie has never run five kilometres before.”

Neil Jarett said the event was a great way to bring the community together.

He added: “It's great that people are coming along to support the British Heart Foundation and all money raised will go to a really good cause. It's a real family event.”

Rohan Chaffey, 31, from Brighton Hill, Basingstoke, was the second to cross the finish line after completing 5km.

Rohan, who works in video conferencing, runs with Chineham Park Running Club and finished in 18 minutes and 50 seconds.

He said: “I run as much as I can and I've taken part in this event a couple of times. It's nice to see everyone dressed up and enjoying themselves.”

For Simon Hutton, 49, completing the course represented a big personal challenge.

Simon, who runs a software company, said: “I loathe running and I've never run 5km before so this was a real challenge. I wasn't timing myself, I just wanted to get round the course and I'm pleased I was able to.

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