OH the weather outside was frightful, but Thatcham Santas were keen and sprightful...
Around 300 runners braved the rain and sleet to dash through the town for Thatcham Rotary Club’s fifth Great Thatcham Santa Run on Sunday.
Among some of the soggy Santas was Martin Clark who, when asked why he was taking part, joked: “Because we are mad.
“I’m a runner anyway and obviously it’s for charity and good causes, so why not?”
A majority of the proceeds raised by Thatcham Rotary Club will be donated to The Rosemary Appeal, the £4.5m campaign to build a renal dialysis and cancer care unit at West Berkshire Community Hospital.
Mr Clark said he was running for the club’s charities and missed last year’s run because his family was in Lapland.
Also taking on the festive dash was Rachel Millard with her daughter Grace, both raising money for Rotary charities.
“We both like to run and thought it would be good fun, until we saw the weather today,” Mrs Millard said.
And returning to the event for another year was 72-year-old Val Bray with her family.
Mrs Bray had to attend dialysis treatment in Reading, and her husband had been diagnosed with cancer.
When asked why they had returned, her daughter Vicky Caws said: “The same thing, The Rosemary Appeal.
“Now, no matter the weather, it’s become a Christmas tradition.
“If we don’t do it, we feel like we have failed.”
With the weather being more fit for the club’s annual duck race, organisers shortened the 5km route to cut out the Thatcham lakes.
And first to cross the line for the second year running was Mike Cass from Thatcham – completing the 4.4km in 16:50:03, with his wife Danielle coming third.
Mr Cass, who ran the Newbury Santa Run the previous weekend, was raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
He said: “It’s good fun.
“Someone had to finish first, although I appreciate it’s a fun run and not a timed run, and it’s good to see so many people out.”
Second place went to 16-year-old Georgia Hayes, from Brimpton, who said: “It was good, but I lost my hat about halfway around.”
She added the course seemed a bit short, having run the 5km Newbury Park Run the day before.
Thatcham Rotary Club president Ray Stowell said the event had gone exceptionally well.
He said: “Conditions weren’t particularly great and to get such a big turnout shows good old British spirit really.
“It’s really fantastic.
“It’s really well established now.
“It’s getting the community together and having a bit of fun and raising a bit of money on the side and it gives individuals an opportunity to raise money for their charities.
“We’ll raise about £4,000 out of it, but others will raise their own funds.
“I’m pleased with the people who turned up because it really is a community event.”