Preston residents are being called on to show their cheeky side this Christmas and sign up for the seventh annual Cheeky Santa Dash.Advertisement
Participants are also being asked to leave a pebble at a memorial stone dedicated to its co-founder, Preston runner and dad-of-three Ben Ashworth.
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The coronavirus pandemic means the 5k charity festive family fun run cannot take place in its usual format of a mass participation event around Avenham Park in December.
Rather than cancelling it, Ben’s widow and the Cheeky Santa Dash’s other co-founder Louise is asking people to still run, either on their own or in their family bubble at some point between Saturday 21 November and Sunday 13 December, along a 2.5k stretch of the Guild Wheel that was dedicated to Ben in July 2018.
Starting at the entrance to Miller Park, it heads in the direction of Riversway and was a route favoured by Ben, who died in July 2017 at just 38-years-old following a five-year battle with bowel cancer.
During the time he was ill, Ben ran dozens of marathons and half marathons to raise more than £40,000 for cancer charities, including Rosemere Cancer Foundation, which will be the beneficiary of this year’s dash.
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Through his “Ben’s Bowel Movements” website, he also campaigned to raise awareness of bowel cancer, using humour to diffuse embarrassment around the topic.
Following Ben’s death, thousands of Prestonians signed a petition to have part of the Guild Wheel dedicated to him. His stretch ends at a memorial stone, where Louise is suggesting runners drop pebbles or small stones as a show of support. Louise said: “Ben wanted to bring people together and get them exercising. He also wanted to help other people with cancer, which is why he used his running to fundraise for cancer charities.
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“While we can’t do the Cheeky Santa Dash as normal this year, we still hope to invoke the spirit of it and help Rosemere Cancer Foundation as our local cancer charity, which has, like other charities, had a difficult time since lockdown.”
To register for the Cheeky Santa Dash, visit Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s website or the Cheeky Santa Dash Facebook page. Entry is £10 and all participants will receive a commemorative medal. Ben’s 5k is a suggested route but entrants can run their own route if preferred.
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Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer, said: “We are so grateful to Louise and Ben’s daughters Skye, Isobel and Heidi for keeping the Cheeky Santa Dash going this year against all the odds.
“Ben was an awesome guy, truly inspiring. It would be really fantastic for Louise and the girls if there was a pile of pebbles at his memorial stone come Sunday, 13th December.”
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Will you be taking part in the Cheeky Santa Dash? Let us know in the comments below