Nearly 5,000 Santas smash world record

Shane  McCollum and Johnny McCabe

Shane McCollum and Johnny McCabe

Nearly 5,000 Santas gathered in Dundalk on Friday night to take part in an attempt to break the Guinness world record for most Santas ever to run a mile.

“Six thousand two hundred people signed up for the race,” said Jimmy, “and we have met all the criteria set by Guinness so we have well and truly broken the record.

“There were notaries there to make sure that the criteria for the record was met.”The Guinness Book of Records has yet to officially make the announcement that the record is broken but so far 4,961 tags have been counted as crossing the finish line and up to 7,000 Santas had actually started the race.

As well as breaking the world record, the event, organised by the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, along with the Louth County Council and local businesses, is believed to have raised over €100,000 for local charities SOSAD, Men’s Shed, North Louth Hospice, SNAP, and Lordship Children’s Respite Centre.

“The town and area should be very proud,” said Paddy Mathews, President at Dundalk Chamber of Commerce. “The town was buzzing on Friday and the event highlighted the “can do” positive attitude that the town has and it’s generosity to charities.”

Paddy singled out Jimmy Cumiskey for his vision, drive and hard work which made the event happen.

He also noted the massive work put in by all chamber staff, in particular Tracy O’Hanrahan, and thanked the supporting organisations including gardaí, Order of Malta and various bus and transport companies who provided their services free.

“Once again Dundalk did itself proud and also got a world record,” he said.

The Market Square was definitely the place to be on Friday night as the town’s Christmas lights were switched on.

The official turning on of the the town’s Christmas lights was a momentous occassion as it marked the last time the Dundalk Town Council will do so.

Cathaoirleach Eamonn O’Boyle was there to do the honours.

“We had the Festival of Light and Culture,” Cllr O’Boyle said, “the official opening of Dundalk on Ice and, of course, the eyes of the world were on us for the Dundalk Santa Run.

“The success of these events is down to all of you who have given time and expertise tomaking such a programme.

“Your coming together has created a spectacular night highlighting Dundalk’s reputation for giving whilst also promoting Dundalk’s retail history, one of our town’s main employers.

“I wish everyone a very happy Christmas from Dundalk Town Council and hope you enjoy the festivities throughout Christmas and safely through to 2014.”

“Well done to all who were involved in the weekends activities and brought the town to life with Christmas spirit.”

Paddy Malone of Dundalk chamber said it was a night to equal, and even surpass, Dundalk’s great FAI Cup victories and doubles.


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