The saying that Christmas is a time for being with friends and family is also very applicable when it comes to running during the festive period. Certainly, for me that is. 

Long before the Felthorpe Boxing Day Run was even thought about in 2002, there was always a long Christmas Eve run with several friends where the last couple of miles would usually end up in a burn up or even a section resembling what is now the Boxing Day Run. As for New Year’s Day and prior to the Wymondham 10k there was The Ash Run from the West Norfolk Hospital which some readers of this column may remember. 

However, Christmas Day for several years also meant getting up very early to run into Norwich at 5am with the late great Peter Andrews to meet our policeman friend Dave Mytton what with him usually working night shifts between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

From there we would then run back home whilst taking various detours to get some extra miles in whilst listening to Dave telling us about some of the incidents (usually humorous) which he and the police had been called out to during the night. 

Eastern Daily Press: Friends Dave Mytton and Neil Featherby running side by side during the Eastern Devening News

Three weeks ago (December 1) I wrote about why I will also be putting on another Felthorpe Hare & Hounds Cross Country Run again this year after saying last year’s event was to be the final one. 

In truth, I only really touched on why I have decided to go again this year. 

Whilst Christmas is a time for being with friends and family which the Boxing Day Run very much symbolises, it is also a time for giving. 

However, and what I did not mention in my column of three weeks ago was that there was a much deeper reason for keeping the Boxing Day run going. 

Whilst I said that Dave Mytton who now suffers with Parkinson’s Disease, asked me to organise another run this year so he could do it one more time, he did also say ‘please don’t make this year’s run about me Neil’. 

Dave really is a such a great guy and well respected by so many people in Norfolk. Not just for his past running achievements but for all the work he did as a brilliant police officer and in a nutshell for just being the crazy fun-loving person which he is. 

He also told me that he wanted to have the chance of doing it with his son Eric what with having done it a few times in the past with his eldest son Harry. 

Eastern Daily Press: Dave Mytton with son Harry after a Felthorpe Boxing Day Run

How could I say no? Plus, it was another chance to once again raise money for charities close to my heart. 

It was also Dave who started the fancy dress element to this run 20 years ago which of course is what now makes this run so special ie runners all in fancy dress doing their very best to complete a course of around eight miles covered in mud and water by the time they finish. 

Oh, and to say the teams and runners go to great lengths when it comes to fancy dress, well that really is an understatement. 

To make this year's run even more special, several old hands of the past along with some top runners of yesteryear have entered as part of what will be Dave’s team. 

I must also mention Ian Sturgess a former work colleague of Dave’s who is a Parkinson’s Disease sufferer himself and will be making his debut in this crazy run. 

There may well be a couple of other surprises for Dave on the day too which I am sure will go towards making this year’s Felthorpe Boxing Day Cross Country Run, possibly the best one yet. 

A huge thank you to everyone who has made donations (some absolutely amazing) which will go to our many causes and to Gary Cooper for his sponsorship and Steve Sadd for the manufacturing of our finisher’s mementos. 

So, Dave – I can assure you this year’s run is most certainly not just about you, but then would I tell fibs to a policeman? 

One other bit of Christmas good news is that another very popular local runner and friend to many, Dick Cheung, has recently come through major heart surgery after his triple bypass. 

The Cheung family, Dick, Jack and Wai Hing whilst not forgetting their late dad and brother Sze Ming are all people who have touched the hearts of so many people here in Norfolk over the last few years. 

Eastern Daily Press: Dick Cheung at the recent Whitwell Mid-Week Cross Country Race with Marie Clark and James Reed

What with Jack and mum Wai Hing also coming through some health scares during 2023, they really are an amazing family. Resilient being the word whilst always looking for positives despite the setbacks which they have had to endure. 

Here’s wishing them and everyone else a very Happy Christmas and, if you are out about in the Horsford and Felthorpe area early on Boxing Day morning and see a bunch of bedraggled runners all in fancy dress, please do give us a shout out…