Festive charity ‘Elf Run’ a huge success
Nearly 200 people enjoyed a bitter winter morning in Keele on Sunday 1st December, 2019, to take part in Caudwell Children’s annual Elf Run.
The Staffordshire based national charity, which provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, created the fully accessible 5km family fundraising event in 2015 to give runners of all abilities the opportunity to raise funds for the charity.
Kate Shirwin, Challenge and Events Manager at Caudwell Children, was delighted by the success of the event. As she explained: “The non-competitive nature of the Elf Run made for a fantastic, relaxed, atmosphere and the number of participants was brilliant.”
The run started and finished outside Caudwell Children’s recently opened Caudwell International Children’s Centre, on Innovation Way, Keele Science and Innovation Park.
“Pepper Street Performing Arts Choir ramped up the Christmas carols to get runners in the festive mood and staff from Bee Active personal fitness conducted a warm up session ahead of the run,” said Kate. “Our course was perfectly suited to families with disabled children, and parents with pushchairs which resulted in a great mix of participants.
“For those who didn’t run we held a Christmas activity session within the building and the Happy Donkey Company brought down an adorable, loving donkey that children could pet and feed.
“It was fantastic watching people jog, skip or simply walk around the course and when they crossed the finishing line they enjoyed a festive mince pie, courtesy of one of our supporters, Wright’s Pies.
“We’re still counting but we hope to have raised over a £1,000 which will allow the charity to support even more disabled children, across Staffordshire, in the New Year!”
Oscar Scholes-Furness, from Hanley, was the first over the line whilst Dr Lara Mehta, from Seabridge was the first female participant to complete the run.
“I do lots of half marathons and short distance runs but this is the first I’ve won,” explained Oscar. “I know it’s not really a competitive run but I just thought I’d push myself today and I had a real challenge from the local boxer Cole Johnson, who pushed me all the way.”
Simon Crofts from Loggerheads ran with his 12-year-old daughter Alys and said that they had a great time. As he explained: “This is the fifth time that we’ve taken part in the Elf Run and it really kicks off the festive season.
“We’re always extremely excited when we turn up and see loads of runners dressed up as colourful, festive, elves.
“It was amazing and made for such a good natured event.”
Paul Boon, travelled all the way from Salford, with his son Sebastian, to take part in the event and he wasn’t disappointed. “Caudwell Children supported Sebastian and the family in 2018 and every chance we get we try to support the charity,” he enthused. “It was a really fun event to take part in and it was great to see so many happy faces.”
Kate was keen to stress that whilst the Elf Run is a great family fun day out it also provides a very important function for the disabled families who take part each year. As she concluded: “Research shows that 78% of disabled children have no access to activities outside the home, whilst 75% of families feel so isolated that it has caused anxiety and depression.
“The Elf Run once again gave disabled children the opportunity to reduce their isolation by escaping the confines of their own home, and it also gave parents the opportunity to develop friendships and form lasting social networks.”
You can find out more about Caudwell Children’s Events programme here.