More than 400 runners and walkers of all ages dressed in their festive finest to bring seasonal cheer to St Albans on Sunday 2 December as they gathered to take part in our annual 5k Jingle Bell Jog and 1.5k festive fun run.
Kitted out in Christmas jumpers, antlers, Santa hats, scarves and costumes, adults, children and dogs went all out to dress to impress!
There to set them on their way was the Mayor of St Albans and District, Cllr Rosemary Farmer with encouragement from Heart DJ, Daniel Fox. All participants joined in enthusiastically with warm ups led by Joanna Hancock from Everyone Active.
Runners were thrilled to see Ben Faulks, CBeebies’ Mr Bloom, who is part of the Cinderella cast at this year’s Alban Arena pantomime.
The 1.5k fun runners set off first and among them were Etienne and Lianne from Harpenden who were there to support Rennie Grove as they know how much the charity does for the local community. Etienne said: “I’m the strongest in my class so I’m going to run, run, run!”
For first-time fun runners Gracie and mum Sarah from St Albans it was all about girl power. Sarah said: “It’s just us girls doing it today. The atmosphere is great and we’re excited about running.”
It was Tom Hearn and daughter Emmeline’s second fun run but little brother Rafferty’s first. Dad Tom said: “We’re looking forward to the 1.5k with the little ones – they’re a good excuse for not doing the 5k… maybe next year!”
It was the Gadhia family’s third time taking part in the event and having recently moved from St Albans to Market Harborough, they made the 140 mile round trip to join in.
“We came back this year because we have great memories of this event. I think it’s something we’ll do every year as a family tradition. The support Rennie Grove gives to families after a loss is amazing, something our family has experienced, so we like to support that.”
Hot on the heels of the fun runners, the 5k Jingle Bell Joggers set off and first across the finish line was 15 year-old Thomas Fell from Haddenham.
Also running were the Athena Ladies Running Club. Frances Nicholls, said: “I try to support Rennie Grove has much as I can because I have a friend who has a personal connection with them. We’re all excited to able to support a fantastic local charity who do so much for the community.”
The most entertaining costume of the day was worn by friends Dave and James who donned a Christmas jumper made for two. They also ran the 5k three-legged style. Dave, originally from St Albans, said: “We wanted to do something silly this year as it’s our third year taking part. Shout out to the back marker!”
Tracey Hancock, Director of Fundraising at Rennie Grove Hospice Care said: “The turnout for our annual Jingle Bell Jog and fun run today was brilliant. It’s been a great way to start the countdown to Christmas. A massive thanks to everyone who participated and also to the Mayor and the Panto stars those who came to cheer on the runners. Events like these raise vital funds to support the care we provide for patients and families both through our 24/7 Hospice at Home Service and our Day Services at Grove House. All our services aim to keep patients at home surrounded by their families and friends and that is particularly important at this time of year.
“Thanks also go to our headline sponsors, Blanco, to Waterend Barn for hosting us and to Greggs who kindly donated mince pies. And lastly, but very importantly, we would not be able to run the event without our fabulous volunteers who helped with registration and signing and marshalling the route to keep our runners safe. We are really grateful to everyone for making today such a great success.”
View photos from the day here