If you see a bunch of Santas cycling around the 4017 this festive season, don’t be alarmed – it’s just the Dawn Patrol celebrating the end of another year of fun and fitness.
The men’s health and wellness group started in Sandgate 10 years ago, and founder Chris Ferguson said it had become so much more than simply a way to keep fit.
“Dawn Patrol was just a bunch of guys meeting early in the morning to get some exercise,” he said.
“It started off as just men’s physical health, but it’s become about men’s mental health as well. “We go for a coffee after our session, and that’s how chats are had, friendships are formed, and all sorts of good things have come out of that.”
The Dawn Patrol meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4.57am at the Sandgate Pool, and walk along the waterfront.
“There’s absolutely no cost, no one runs, and after you’ve been a part of the group for a while, everyone has to take a session and be a leader, but it’s not the same person leading every time,” Chris said.
“It’s about challenging ourselves to get fitter and step outside of our comfort zones.”
The Cycling Santa event began as part of the group’s annual Christmas celebrations.
“We have an awards night for things people have done throughout the year, like for the person who has attended the most, and we have also have a Dawn Patroller of the Year,” Chris said.
“The Cycling Santas is part of the Christmas party, we all get together and dress up in a Christmas theme, and we cycle from establishment to establishment – it’s basically a fun pub crawl.
“The places are always happy to see us, they take photos and put them up on their social media.
“It’s not for any charity, it’s the charity that is just within the group, and it’s a reward for working all year and pushing yourself.”
The Dawn Patrol do have a Facebook page, although it’s a closed group, so if any blokes out there are interested in joining, there’s only one way – turn up.
“There’s been a lot of emotional connections over the years, some blokes have said it’s the best thing they’ve ever done,” Chris said.
“We take anyone, all ages, all fitness levels. After Covid, I think we all realised that we’re social beings, and everyone needs a tribe.”
The Dawn Patrol meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4.57am at the Sandgate Pool.