Christmas has well and truly arrived in Craven, with a seasonal Sunday packed full of festive activity to welcome ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.
The 13th Great Skipton Santa Fun Run kicked-off proceedings on Sunday morning, with over 1700 Santas massing on the town’s High Street: ready to run, walk, toddle, push or be pushed around the 3 or 5k courses. The sun didn’t quite break-through, but conditions were pretty perfect for our runners - in contrast to a year ago, when snowy conditions made for a ‘Christmas Card’ event.
The annual event is organised by a crack team (not of Elves from the North Pole), but from the fantastic men and women of the Rotary Club of Skipton & Craven. To date the event has raised almost £400,000 for charity, since it was first held in 2010.
Santa’s key man-on-the-job was Peter Ripley, recognisable today in a sea of red and white, as he had cleverly donned a green hat. While humble about the achievements of him and his team, Peter was anxious to remember Tony Walton, his former Rotarian colleague who was the inspiration behind the first Santa Fun Run in 2010. “We lost Tony in 2012 to cancer, so this year (10 years) is a special day – and we’re thinking of him.”
In addition to Rotarian causes, the Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope is the dedicated charity for 2022, although lots of participants were also raising money for their own charities.
Prior to the event, Personal Trainer Emily Stirk did a fantastic job of warming-up our Santas, without the need for any brandy or mince pies.
Manorlands despatched an accomplished reindeer complete with microphone, to act as MC and commentator. While it was noted by lots of people that it is rare to see a reindeer able to stand on its hind legs for the length of time that this one could: there is absolutely no suggestion that the would-be sleigh-puller was in fact Andrew Wood in a costume. Whatever the origin…the commentary was fantastic! Five Stars for Mr Wood – and for Adam Brunskill, lead Sue Ryder Community Fundraiser for Craven – who clapped each competitor over the finish line.
Every single one of the participants and all those who supported should be experiencing a very warm glow for being part of such a special event, but particular mention must go to the oldest man who took to the track: Peter who is 89.
Predictably though, it was the Girls who have secured Gold again…as returning athlete Mary – at 90 years of age, was today’s Premium Santa. Wow!
The Rotary Club of Skipton & Craven, Skipton Town Council and all their partners deserve a huge thank you for making today the very best kind of traffic-stopper!
*The Collective Noun for a group of Santas is a Sleigh!