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Elves, Reindeer And Santas Descend On Tamworth Castle
There was no shortage of festive Christmas characters on show in the beautiful setting of Tamworth Castle Grounds as scores of energetic and enthusiastic competitors took part in the appropriately titled Rudolph Run. Around 250 runners took part in the six kilometre fun run in the grounds of the medieval fortress on Sunday 4 December, with no shortage of elves, Santas, angels, and, of course, reindeers, taking part.
Runners pass over the River Anker with Tamworth Castle beyond
The Rudolph Run was organised by St Giles Hospice, a registered charity based in Whittington, near Lichfield, which provides specialist medical and nursing care for local people living with cancer and other serious illnesses. And to help attract entrants to sign up for the Rudolph Run and boost the hospice's coffers, participants were actively encouraged to don a variety of fancy dress costumes for the occasion.
A turkey joins runners as they pass the bandstand in the castle grounds
The event, which was open to anyone aged ten and over, was greeted with lovely crisp sunshine when it got underway within Tamworth Castle Grounds at 10am. There was no shortage of Santa hats, elf ears and antlers on display among the assembled runners, with one participant going a step further and donning what looked like a Grinch mask. And that welcome sunshine, which helped set off Tamworth Castle, the castle ground's bandstand and the River Anker to its very best, also attracted the crowds to cheer on the runners.
A pair of reindeer pass along Holloway next to Tamworth Castle Grounds
The course of the Rudolph Run started near the skateboard park end of the castle grounds and went through the park before leaving to pass along Holloway and then Market Street in Tamworth town centre, before returning to the grounds opposite the Town Hall. Entrants either ran or walked along the course, passing over two river bridges as they did so, with the impressive ramparts of Tamworth Castle - once the seat of Anglo Saxon Mercia - in majestic view for much of the time.
Ahead of the runners was a marshal riding a bicycle, naturally dressed as an elf, who warned members of the public when the runners were coming their way. And there was also no shortage of helpful St Giles Hospice volunteers to direct the runners along the course and also keep visitors informed.
The entry fee for the Rudolph Run was £8 for 10-14 year olds and £14 for those aged 14 years and above. All the proceeds of the Rudolph Run are going to St Giles Hospice which began life in 1983 at the former vicarage of St Giles Church in Whittington when the then vicar, Reverend Canon Paul Brothwell, became concerned at the level of care given to terminally-ill patients in local hospitals.
Today, the hospice is regarded as a centre of excellence and one of the best-known and most respected charities in the region, with more than 400 staff, over 1,500 volunteers, and 31 charity shops. It also has one of the most successful hospice lotteries in the UK, and spends more than £9 million on providing care every year.
Elves Emily (left) and Emma show off their finisher's medals