Hundreds join in Monmouth Santa Run

Free Press Series: Leah Ward aged 7 and her brother Sidney aged 4 from Monmouth (2783612) Leah Ward aged 7 and her brother Sidney aged 4 from Monmouth (2783612)

HUNDREDS of people dressed as Father Christmas, elves and reindeer took part in Monmouth's annual Santa Run today.

Despite chilly temperatures, an estimated 200 people ran and jogged for just over two kilometres round the park near Monnow Bridge at 10am, dressed in red costumes or onesies.

The sixth annual run, organised by the Spirit of Monmouth Running Club, usually takes place around the town but was diverted to the park for safety and ease, explained club secretary Jeremy Creasey.

"Each year we support a local and a national charity," said Mr Creasey. "This year it is Newport and District MS Society and TASCS, who train people to teach people with autism. We tend to raise about £2,000 each race.

"This year there is a very good turnout and we're also looking to increase our membership," he said.

Nikki Jones, of Monmouth, and her two-year-old son Ethan were there cheering on husband Ben, a Royal engineer who previously raised almost £1,000 taking part in the Hadrian Challenge, running 93 miles in 27 hours for homeless soldiers.

Nikki's sister Emma was also supporting her 14-year-old son James Phillips, a Sea Cadet who was escorting the mayor, while friend Ceri Jones cheered on partner John Sims who was dressed as the 118-118 television character.

Participants received a medal at the end of the run.

David Burns, of Abergavenny, and his sons Jacob, three, and James, one, travelled with wife Tracey to take part in the Monmouth Santa Run after Mrs Burns recently joined the Monmouth running club.

Alongside the route Lewyn Lewis and his face Frances, who is the vice-chairwoman of the Newport and District MS Society, set up a stall to raise awareness of the charity.

"A lot of people haven't come to terms with having MS and so by us being here hopefully we can help people to understand and know there are people out there to help them," said Mrs Lewis.

After the fun run, many club members went along to a cross country meeting in Rogerstone as part of the Gwent Leisure Centre League.

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