VIDEO: People run long distances in festive costumes to raise money for Langley Salvation Army

Siblings Lorenzo and Sebastian Armellini showing off their medals to each other. The duo participated in Salvation Army’s Santa Shuffle – a five km run event to raise money for Willows Family Life Centre. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Siblings Lorenzo and Sebastian Armellini showing off their medals to each other. The duo participated in Salvation Army’s Santa Shuffle – a five km run event to raise money for Willows Family Life Centre. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Frances O’Grady, Barb Langham, and Jayne Fleming ran to raise money for Salvation Army. They later received medals from Santa himself for completing the run and supporting the cause. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Frances O’Grady, Barb Langham, and Jayne Fleming ran to raise money for Salvation Army. They later received medals from Santa himself for completing the run and supporting the cause. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Santa presented snow medals to all the participants who ran as part of Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Santa presented snow medals to all the participants who ran as part of Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Families cheered for their loved one, who participated in Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle on Saturday, Dec. 10. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Families cheered for their loved one, who participated in Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle on Saturday, Dec. 10. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Umberto Soda was the first one to return to the finish line after a 5km run at Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Umberto Soda was the first one to return to the finish line after a 5km run at Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
More than 200 people ran to raise money for Langley Salvation Army on Saturday, Dec. 10. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)More than 200 people ran to raise money for Langley Salvation Army on Saturday, Dec. 10. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Runners, families, staff, and volunteers gathered for Lions Club’s pancake party post run. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Runners, families, staff, and volunteers gathered for Lions Club’s pancake party post run. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Santa presented snow medals to all the participants who ran as part of Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Santa presented snow medals to all the participants who ran as part of Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Santa presented snow medals to all the participants who ran as part of Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Santa presented snow medals to all the participants who ran as part of Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Glenna Owen took a selfie with Santa after her medal. An active runner from Surrey, this was her first time participating in a running event post COVID. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Glenna Owen took a selfie with Santa after her medal. An active runner from Surrey, this was her first time participating in a running event post COVID. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Race director, and Langley Salvation Army’s Susan Tanaka receiving pancake from Lions Club’s Tom and Peggy Iwama, post-race. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Race director, and Langley Salvation Army’s Susan Tanaka receiving pancake from Lions Club’s Tom and Peggy Iwama, post-race. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Race director, and Salvation Army’s Susan Tanaka, said the event went “seamlessly well.” (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Race director, and Salvation Army’s Susan Tanaka, said the event went “seamlessly well.” (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)
Race director, and Langley Salvation Army’s Susan Tanaka enjoying pancake breakfast post-race. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)Race director, and Langley Salvation Army’s Susan Tanaka enjoying pancake breakfast post-race. (Tanmay Ahluwalia/Langley Advance Times)

More than 200 runners took off from a standing start on Saturday, Dec. 10, as part of Langley Salvation Army’s first-ever Santa Shuffle.

Amidst loud cheers from volunteers, Santa, friends and family, the participants started from Blacklock Fine Arts Elementary at 5100 206 St and covered long distances running or walking on a mapped-out route.

The event featured five and one km runs, and was organized by Salvation Army’s Willows Family Life Center. It also helped the local non-profit raise money for its community service work. The event was organized in collaboration with Running Room, a footwear company. Also in attendance were Councillor Leith White and Lions Club volunteers, who offered pancake breakfast post-run to participants and others present. People also enjoyed hot chocolate and coffee by Your Story Coffee, a Surrey-based mobile coffee bar.

Each participant also received a snowman medal from the Santa himself, and an event-themed T-shirt. The Salvation Army also gave scarves and gloves to those who helped them raise money.

For Umberto Soda, one of the participants, the event offered an opportunity to connect with the runners’ community and contribute his time and energy to a cause.

An active Surrey-based runner, Soda, covered 5 km dressed up in Santa costume, and came first. He said the cause, his passion for running, and support from the community kept him going and motivated throughout the run. He did encounter some deep puddles along the way, but overall, Soda said he loved the route.

“I love doing holiday runs, and this event was fun,” he said. Glenna Owen, another active runner and long-time supporter of Salvation

Army’s Vancouver Santa Shuffle, said she was happy to finally have a Santa Shuffle closer to home. It was also her first time participating in a run after COVID.

“[The run] is for a good cause, and that kept me going.”

Langley resident Barb Langham participated with her two friends from Surrey and Harrison Hot Springs.

She said her friends kept her motivated throughout the run.

Langham’s Surrey-based friend, Frances O’Grady, said she was hesitant to participate due to the rain, but she loved it so much that she is considering returning next year.

For Jayne Fleming, coming all the way from Harrison was a “worth it” experience.

“The organization, the spirit, the medals, and arrangement… everything was great,” said Fleming. She, too, is considering returning next year.

The team at Salvation Army had been preparing for the event for months. Race director, and Salvation Army’s Susan Tanaka, said the event went “seamlessly well.”

The local organization is hoping to raise at least $20,000 for its holistic family programs in the Langley community. Tanaka said although the numbers aren’t out yet, she is confident that the organization will reach its goals.

She also reminded those who could not attend the run that they can still donate by contacting The Willows Family Life Centre at 604-510-2628.

Although other Salvation Army units around the country have been hosting Santa Shuffles for more than 20 years, the Saturday event marked the beginning of an annual tradition for the Langley unit.

“For a first time, it went very well. We can only go much greater from here. So, we are planning on making it an annual event,” she concluded.

Tanaka further thanked staff, volunteers, attendees, and participants for their support.

“It is helpful to have a community of volunteers supporting us. Their support enables us to offer the programs and services that we do in the Langley community,” said Tanaka.”… also staff… a dream team when it comes to organizing and putting on events for our Salvation Army Family Life Centre.

Sarah Macdonald, the community youth outreach worker at Willows Family Life centre, said the local event not only raised funds to help her team give back to the community but also awareness about the services of the centre.

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