Don’t be a pudding and get running!

The Christmas puddings are ready to go at Sainsbury's Whitley Bay.
The Christmas puddings are ready to go at Sainsbury's Whitley Bay.

Hundreds of runners will be swapping their turkey for trainers to tackle an annual festive run.

They will line up in Whitley Bay on Boxing Day for the 32nd Woodlawn School Xmas Pudding Fun Run.

All ages and abilities take part in the three-mile run, and everyone who finishes receives a Christmas pudding and certificate.

Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell, who starts the race every year, said: “I am delighted to have been asked once again to start the annual Xmas Pudding Fun Run and to be able to support Woodlawn School.

“It is a great community event, an opportunity to run off the excesses of the day before and all in a good cause.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to take part and to come to the Links to watch and support the event.”

The run, jointly organised by Woodlawn School Parents & Friends Association (WPFA) and North Shields Polytechnic Athletics Club, has taken place on all but two Boxing Days since 1985.

Snow and ice saw one run postponed to February and another cancelled altogether. Horizontal rain and gales are not seen as excuses for not taking part.

It has become such a feature of Christmas on North Tyneside that for many families it is what they do on Boxing Day.

More than one baby has had an exciting and swift Boxing Day buggy ride. Some people do it in fancy dress with Santas of both sexes, Rudolphs and gift-wrapped boxes taking part. Serious club runners make it part of their training schedule.

Runners range in age from under eight to over 80. Last year, more than 800 took part.

The run starts and finishes at the war memorial on the Links, opposite the Spanish City, and takes place on footpaths, unless ice moves it to the beach.

The Comrades Club will be open so that runners, supporters and organisers will be able to buy a warming drink before, during or after the run.

Race registration is from 9.30am in the Comrades Club and the run itself starts at 10.30am. Race fees are £7 for adults, £3 for under 16s.

Sainsbury’s at Whitley Bay has donated 810 individual puddings to the run.

“Buying the puddings is the most expensive part of putting on the run,” said WPFA treasurer Janine Finnie. “This will help us raise so much more for the school.”

The organisers are also grateful to Start Fitness; Potts Printers, who provided the certificates and posters publicising the run; and the events officers of North Tyneside Council for theri help, advice and support in organising the race, including turning out on Boxing Day morning.

Woodlawn, in Drumoyne Gardens, West Monkseaton, is a school for children aged from two to 18 with physical, medical and sensory needs, from all over North Tyneside.