DOZENS of people are set to dress up as Santa and take part in a race in York this weekend.

Chase the Pud sees runners dressed as Santa chasing a giant Christmas Pud around York Racecourse this Sunday (December 10).

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York Press: Chase the Pud takes place at York RacecourseChase the Pud takes place at York Racecourse (Image: Leanne Allsop and BHF)

The race gets underway at 10.30am and, as The Press reported back in September, Scarlet Hearson, 16, who lives in South Bank in York with mum Vicky and older sister Lara, 18, helped launch the annual Chase the Pud event which raises money for the British Heart Foundation.

Scarlet was born with a series of serious heart conditions which went undiagnosed until she was nearly two.

She ended up in hospital and underwent surgery five days later.

York Press: Scarlet as a toddler Scarlet as a toddler (Image: Vicky Hearson and BHF)

Now fighting fit, Scarlet is one of the youngest local volunteers to sign up.

“I’m really looking forward to helping out on the day and doing my bit to help raise funds for the British Heart Foundation,” Scarlett said.

“I don’t know if I would be here today if it wasn’t for the research the charity funds so I would urge everyone to join us on Sunday and help raise as much money as possible for a brilliant cause.”

Scarlet has recovered well from her operation and apart from regular check-ups lives a normal, healthy teenage life – she has just started studying for her A-levels at York College, and takes part in sports like swimming, horse riding and going to the gym. And now one thing she is very keen to do is get involved in the Chase the Pud fundraising event.

York Press: Scarlet todayScarlet today (Image: Vicky Hearson and BHF)

Every year, participants dressed as Santa chase another runner dressed as a giant Christmas pudding around York Racecourse. If anyone manages to catch the pud, they take on this role themselves the following year.

The event includes a “fun” 3km event but for the first time this year the organisers are broadening the appeal of the race by introducing a 10km run. Scarlet said while she had helped out at the event in the past, this was the first year she would be an official volunteer.

York Press: Scarlett in hospital as a toddlerScarlett in hospital as a toddler (Image: Vicky Hearson and BHF)

Congenital Heart Disease is diagnosed in at least 1 in 150 births – that's an average of 13 babies each day across the country, with more diagnosed later in life. Estimates suggest as many as 1-2 per cent of the population may be affected.

Before the BHF existed, the majority of babies diagnosed with a congenital heart disease in the UK did not survive to their first birthday. Today, thanks to research, more than eight out of ten survive to adulthood.

To find out more about Chase the Pud and sign up to take part go to 

York Press: Scarlet with mum, Vicky Hearson Scarlet with mum, Vicky Hearson (Image: Vicky Hearson and BHF)