Take your marks for a Preston charity Santa dash in memory of much-loved fund-raiser

Runners and joggers are being asked to start festive celebrations by signing up to Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s Avenham Park Cheeky Santa Dash next Saturday (December 4).

By Phil Cunnington
Thursday, 25th November 2021, 3:45 pm

The 5k dash, which is run over a quick course from under the railway arches opposite the Continental pub, is returning as a group event after Covid-19 restrictions last December forced it to go virtual.

This year’s dash – the eighth – will be run in partnership with the Central Lancs Running & Triathlon Club (CLAN), which means entrants affiliated to running and athletics clubs will pay a reduced entry fee of £8. Non-affiliated entrants will pay £10 but everyone will be given an officially logged finish time, a medal and post race refreshments.

Official dash starter is Louise Harlow, who along with late husband Ben Ashworth, founded the event.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Official starter and dash co-founder Louise Harlow with daughter Frankie. This year’s Avenham Park Cheeky Santa Dash is on December 4, the eighth running since it was founded by Louise and husband Ben Ashworth, who died from bowel cancer in 2017

Ben ran the dash three times before losing his fight against bowel cancer in the summer of 2017 aged just 38-years-old. Along with running 24 post-diagnosis marathons, Ben used the dash to raise more than £40,000 for various cancer charities, among them Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and to raise awareness of bowel cancer, hence the dash’s full name.

Louise is also a veteran dash runner, but having remarried just before the first lockdown and given birth to new daughter Frankie just five-and-a-half months ago, she is not running this time.

Mum-of-three Louise, who is currently on maternity leave from her job as a fund-raiser for Mummy’s Star, a national charity that supports families diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth, said: “With everything that has gone on this year, I just haven’t had time to train but myself and the girls wouldn’t miss a chance to be involved with the dash.

“I am delighted to be setting the runners off. The dash is always an emotional event for us and a wonderful way for the community to remember Ben and other loved ones lost. I had some very strange emotions when pregnant with Frankie as I was also pregnant when Ben was first diagnosed. We had wonderful support from Rosemere Cancer Foundation and other charities, and as a family we know how important the work that they do is and what a difference it makes.”

Louise Harlow and her late husband Ben Ashworth, who set up the Avenham Park Cheeky Santa Dash in aid of Rosemere Cancer Foundation. Ben died from bowel cancer in 2017

The dash starts at 11am. Festive fashion is encouraged but not mandatory.

To register, go to www.rosemere.or.uk