CARLISLE's Santa Dash has smashed its £50,000 fundraising goal with its 2023 event. 

The run, which took place on Sunday, December 3, began near the Sheepmount and saw runners and walkers wind through Carlisle city centre and past landmarks such as the castle and cathedral

The Santa Dash was launched in 2016 by sports events company Sport in Action and before the 5km run and 2km fun run began on Sunday, it had raised around £48,000 for Carlisle's Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw, Cumbria's Children's Hospice.

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Speaking after the event, organiser Claire Allen was unable to provide a final total but did confirm that the latest event had smashed its target.

She said: "We will have smashed £50,000 and more, definitely, that is what we wanted and we have.

"It is our charity, everybody in Carlisle knows Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw for the kids, so we just like to be a part of it.

"We feel it is a little bit extra special for us because it is Christmas time and everybody is happier to give that little bit extra and it is just nice to think that we have done that little bit."

Claire also reflected on the event and shared her delight at how the community got into the Santa Dash spirit.

She said: "It is the start of our Christmas because we have it so early and try to time it with the Christmas market to make the atmosphere a bit better.

"The marshals really got into it, they came along with their own jingle bells and all the kids were ho ho ho-ing at all the marshals so it was really good. 

"Olga the Fox was there - he was really getting into it with the kids - and even Santa was there. He came and stayed with all the runners, he was cheering them all along and everyone got in the spirit of it."

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Despite the success, the Santa Dash 2023 was initially threatened by Cumbria's adverse weather conditions. However, Claire thanked everyone who helped make sure the event took place and was a safe a possible for all participants and spectators.

She said: "It was lovely... unfortunately, the weather was not with us, although everyone would think the snow was great.

"On Saturday we were thinking, oh God, it looks lovely but it can be quite treacherous and dangerous for runners.

"We were very fortunate because Andrew Allison from the [Cumberland] Council was there at the event because he looks after the city centre and he was on the phone getting this gritted and getting that gritted and we had people out from the market gritting for us.

"Everything was safe for the day and it was just amazing."