First Milton Park Santa dash is a runaway success

Published: 11th December 2017

Over one hundred runners braved the freezing temperatures and forewent their lunch last Friday to come together to support two local charities.

Milton Park was a sight to behold with a Santa 5K run taking over the business park with 150 runners, walkers and joggers taking on the fun race organised by The Park Club gym to raise money for both Play2Give and MS Therapy Oxfordshire.

The first ever Santa 5K was a resounding success with around 150 registered by the time of warm-up, and so far has seen £600 raised from entry fees for both charities. P2G, which supports both Oxford Children’s Hospital and Headway Oxfordshire, was set up by Didcot’s Andy Baker in 2007. The fundraising group has gone on to raise over £69,000 in ten years.

MS Therapy Oxfordshire provides affordable and accessible complementary therapies, often not available on the NHS, as well as information and support, to those with MS.

The run, which even Santa’s themselves take on the 3.1-mile course, was organised by The Park Club gym in conjunction with the business park to bring early festive spirit and cheer, and it is hoped it will become an annual event in the calendar.

The fastest man came in at 17 minutes whilst the first woman across the finish line was Didcot’s very own charity running champion Eileen Naughton, who dressed as Lady Claus. Eileen has raised more than £20,000 for charities by running many marathons over the years.

A Christmas Fair was also held over 6 hours by the gym boosting P2G’s funds even further, which was also a chance for everyone to warm up over mince pies and hot chocolate whilst browsing a festive range of stalls.

P2G has raised the most amount of money in history this year as part of its tenth anniversary appeal. Funds from both events last week could push the group nearer to £20,000 in total this year, as they come close to the end of their milestone year.

P2G founder Andy, of Great Western Drive, said: “It was a fantastic event and a fantastic sight. It was truly inspiring to see so many workers on the park and members of the gym turn out to support both causes braving the incredibly cold weather to dash around the business park!
He added: “To see 150 signed up to take on the challenge of 5 miles on a bitter cold December day was heart-warming, and it was, with the help of Santa, a real privilege to officially start the assemble on their way. I would like to say a massive thank you to Richard Claydon and all the Park Club team who organised such a brilliant festive feel-good event – and for all the hard work. P2G are delighted to be one of their nominated charities throughout the year, we love working with them!”

Run organiser, Soll Leisure’s Richard Claydon, added: “Soll Leisure prides itself on being a community-focused company, and it is great to be able to support local communities and charities. We are delighted that our first Santa Run event was such a success, raising money for two great local charities, and we really appreciate everyone supporting the event through the cold weather and bringing such a positive, festive spirit on the day. A BIG thanks to all local businesses that supported the event, and we look forward to doing it all again next year!”

Soll Leisure, who last month won the Apprenticeship & Trainee Scheme Award at the 9th Didcot Business & Community Awards, has raised close on £1,500 to date for P2G in the past two years including spinathons, fun days and open events. They have been inspired by Andy, who suffers with a brain injury, who has raised close on £90,000 in over 15 years.
To donate to P2G’s 10th anniversary appeal, visit