The Motcombe Sandwich Board Mum Encouraging Santas To Run

The lanes of Motcombe will be filled with dozens of Father Christmases on Sunday 2nd December. The school PTA is arranging a Christmas-themed fancy dress run and walk – the Great Motcombe Santa Run.

News of the fundraiser has spread rapidly because organisers have been highly creative in their promotion. Volunteer Susie Burden has been wearing a sandwich board advertising the event. ThisIsAlfred’s Keri Jones caught up with Susie in action.

“I’ve been seen in my sandwich board around the village and delivering leaflets,” said Susie, as she stood next to Motcombe Memorial Hall. Passing motorists honked their horns and waved. “I’m thinking about taking it on the school bus, trying to target the teenagers who think they are ‘too cool’ to come to a Santa run but I’ve been told that’s not advisable by my husband. I might have a go at it anyway,” Susie said.

Susie’s splendid sandwich board is the size of an estate agent’s board but much more eye-catching, with gold tinsel around the edges. “I wear it morning to night. I’ve not taken it to the swimming pool yet but I may on the day before. I’m thinking of wearing it when riding a horse today. It might be a bit awkward. I cycle on my tricycle whilst wearing it. It’s quite good in windy weather. It keeps you warm,” Susie smiled.

Susie is a keen member of the Motcombe Runners Club and she can complete a 10k race in an impressive time of 45 minutes. The Santa run won’t be as long or as challenging. “It’s under 3K. There is a hill but that means there is a downhill as well,” she said.

Susie has never run in a Santa suit before and she’s considering making some alterations for aerodynamic reasons. “Maybe I could use a swimming cap and put a bauble on it, so it’s more streamlined,” she suggested.

You don’t have to wear a Santa suit to take part, but Susie would like entrants to make an effort. “You have to be creative,” she said. “You could wear a Christmas jumper and bling it up a bit with pom-poms or tinsel. If you don’t have a Santa outfit it is not a problem. This weekend would be a great time to stay inside and Sellotape and glue together something ridiculous, so you can join in the fun.”

If you’re fast on your feet, your challenge will be to catch up with ‘the fastest Santa in the west’ and grab one of his tags. He’ll be wearing a tag rugby belt around his Santa suit. “He will be our lead runner,” said volunteer Fran Bridgwater. “He’ll set the pace from the start. Anyone who is fast enough to catch him in the early stages – they’ll never catch him after that – can take a tag from him and exchange it for a fresh nutritious milkshake from Madjeston Milk Station in Gillingham.”

Fran says that entrants don’t have to run the entire 3k circuit, if they don’t want to. “There is a cheats’ course halfway around. You can pay a fine and cut straight back over the field. Near that area is a barn with a donkey or pony with antlers, so it looks like a reindeer. You can stop there and sit on the hay bales to take a break and get a reindeer selfie. There’ll be mulled wine shots for grown-ups too,” said Fran.

Susie will also be on MC duties on the day of the run. “I’ll be getting everybody excited. The Jazzercise ladies will do the warm-up and get people going. I’ll do some shout outs to people, too. I know that somebody has a birthday on the day so we might get everybody singing happy birthday to that victim,” she said.

Susie says that it’s best to get to Motcombe Memorial Hall, where the event begins, early on Sunday 2nd December. “It starts at 10 o’clock but I suggest getting to the hall at 9.30am, to enjoy all of the fun and get the atmosphere. The roads will be closed so it will be safe,” she said.

The event will raise cash for pupil activities and equipment. “We need to raise money for the PTA to get the resources at the school, and maybe the playground. We’ve got £600 in sponsorship so far from local businesses,” Susie said.

You can get an application form by emailing

“It’s £5 to enter and you get a free Santa hat and a mince pie at the end,” said Susie. The entry fee is just £2 for under 4s and free for children aged under 1 year.”

As there will be limited parking at the hall, organisers would like you to consider walking to the event.