Racers to celebrate run-up to Christmas

Runners, volunteers and spectators of a weekly race in Leicester are getting into the festive spirit with a series of Christmas themed events.
Scores of those taking part in the weekend's Braunstone parkrun - the weekly, timed, 5k race at Braunstone Park - will be donning festive fancy dress, amongst which will be dozens of Santas, reindeer, fairies and tinsel-clad joggers.
The regular race, now into its 61st week, will be starting its festivities on Saturday (17 December) with the first of two Santa Canter parkruns and many of its regulars have vowed to dress up. The second Santa Canter takes place the following weeknd (24 December) when it is hoped that even more will get into the party mood by sporting Christmas costumes.
The group will also be celebrating the winter solstice in the evening of 22 December (7pm start) when it hosts a torchlit, fancy dress, night-time run around the parkrun course. This will be the second themed "darkruns" that the Braunstone parkrun team has organised in as many months and follows the successful and well-attended one held on Halloween evening.
A spokesperson for the Santa Canter races and Winter Solstice "darkrun" said:
"Many of our parkrunners have enjoyed the various fancy dress races we've hosted throughout the year, including the orange themed one in May which smashed Braunstone parkrun's record attendance (223), a record that still stands to this day.
"Lots of our regulars, young and old, have already agreed to dress up for one or more of our festive runs and we're also expecting some newcomers to make their parkrun debuts wearing Christmas attire."
"What a great way of getting the festive period started!" she added.
Braunstone parkrun is one of more than 100 parkruns that takes place around the UK and other locations every Saturday morning. The Leicester event celebrated its first birthday in September and, since its inception in 2010, has welcomed in almost 1,500 runners, aged between around 4 and 79, to 60 weekly races.
Saturday's race, as indeed does all other parkruns, starts at 9am near the old stable block at Braunstone Park. It is free to enter but first-time runners must register beforehand online at www.parkrun.org.uk/braunstone. Meanwhile, the "darkrun" begins at the same place at 7pm next Thursday when all runners are urged to wear headtorches or carry lights and run in groups.