In a sea of cheerful red, around 150 Santas young and old participated in the Great New Zealand Santa Run at the Barry Curtis Park on Thursday evening at 6.30pm. The Great NZ Santa Run is a 2-3km fun run/walk that had 2500 Santas participate nationwide, over two days.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the community and family focused event, where kids and parents are encouraged to run through their local town, displaying a festive spirit.
To mark their anniversary, this year the Great Santa Run partnered with the Graeme Dingle Foundation. The foundation is a leader in positive child and youth development building resilience and self belief in young people. Their proven programmes include Kiwi Can, Stars, Career Navigator, Project K and MYND.
Participants over 13 years of age received a Santa suit as part of their entry fee, while younger kids receive a free Santa hat. There were lots of spot prizes were up for grabs.
Jenny Stiles, CEO of the Graeme Dingle Foundation, says the Great NZ Santa Run is not only a fun-filled way to bring the community together but all those who participate will help our young people build inner strength to set them on the right path to achieve their goals.
“We’re thrilled to have been selected as this year’s recipient charity.
“In a world where not all childhoods are created equal, it’s important we do what we can to ensure all young kiwis have a platform to reach their full potential. Every member of the community who contributes to this awesome initiative will help us to achieve this.”
Shaun Collins of Lactic Turkey Events, who organises the Santa Run each year says, “We chose the Graeme Dingle Foundation because we really believe in their focus. The more we help kids develop the skills to survive and excel in life, the less trouble they will have as adults and the more leaders we can potentially generate.”
The Foundation’s Kiwi Can leaders, who help transform lives of thousands of Kiwi kids across the country every year, were the cheerleaders / MC’s for races in their region.
Jayleb Dean, a Kiwi Can leader said, “Kiwi Can allows students to consciously dream. I’m honoured to wake up every morning knowing there is a chance a light bulb may turn on today.”