Dashers and Prancers across the North East are asked to put on their running shoes for a virtual race to raise money for charity.

The Sunderland Virtual Reindeer Dash – a Covid-safe twist on the city’s annual event at the Bridges shopping centre – will take place between 1 and 24 December.

And, this year, the money raised will help the Red Sky Foundation charity buy vital equipment for Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and fund a campaign to install defibrillators in towns and cities across the North East.

The Virtual Reindeer Dash – which is sponsored by SR1 Rotary Group and Martin Telfer Carpets – is open to entrants of all ages, who simply sign up online and then run their 1K distance, when and where they like, between those dates.

Each participant who signs up for the race will receive a reindeer nose and antlers in the post, to get them in the festive spirit.

As this is a virtual event, organiser, Sunderland BID, hopes those who take part will share their participation and step count across social media using the hashtag #SundReindeerDash.

“We’ve really had to think on our hooves this year to come up with a Reindeer Dash that combines fun with social distancing,” said Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID.

“But, by doing a virtual run, not only can families get much needed fresh air and exercise, but they can do it where and when it suits them and raise money for charity at the same time.”

The Red Sky Foundation founder, Sergio Petrucci, hopes families will head to their local parks, do circuits of their gardens or even just run up and down the stairs.

“But, however they choose to complete the 1K,” he said, “the Red Sky Foundation is incredibly grateful for their support – it really will help save lives.”

Online entry to the Sunderland Virtual Reindeer Dash costs £3.50 for children and £5.50 for adults.

To sign up, or for more information, visit https://register.enthuse.com/ps/event/SunderlandVirtualReindeerDash





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