The title of the biggest Santa Dash worldwide has returned to Liverpool as BTR’s 13th annual event was back in town today.
Thousands flocked to the streets in their red and blue Santa suits in a bid to complete the UK’s biggest festive 5K fun run, with the occasional flash of purple adorned by those supporting the council-backed NHS ‘Fit For Me campaign’, or City of Liverpool FC fans.
The friendly rivalry between Liverpudlians and the Las Vegas race came to a close as Liverpool claimed back the title knowing that the Nevada event did not have as many entrants this year, though final totals are not yet known.
Family members, friends and even pets came along to cheer their loved ones.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Roz Gladden, was one of many spectators cheering the thousands of Santas on. Speaking to JMU Journalism at the start line, she explained why events like these are so important for Liverpool: “It gets people to come together, you can tell the atmosphere is absolutely fantastic and it’s also good for both mental and physical health, which makes it really important.”
YouTube: Paige Freshwater, JMU Journalism
The fun run started at the Pier Head and took participants through the city centre, ending up outside the Town Hall greeted by a mass of fake snow and festive activities.
Familiar faces also took part in the race such as Liverpool FC legend Alan Kennedy and well known Brookside and Benidorm actor, Philip Olivier.
The first Big Brother winner, Craig Phillips, also took part in this year’s race and told JMU Journalism at the finish line: “I feel great, it’s a wonderful atmosphere and it’s good to support charities. It’s my fifth time I’ve done the Liverpool Santa Dash and every year it gets bigger and better. I knew this year was going to be, again, part of running for the Guinness World Record so I thought I’ve definitely got to come down and be a part of it.”
This year also saw the return of ‘Sexy Santa’, Joel Hicks, who was taking part in his 11th Santa Dash. Winning the best dressed award last year, Joel certainly turned heads again running in his risqué ensemble of bright red boxers whilst sporting an eight-foot Christmas tree contraption on his head.
Joel told JMU Journalism: “I’m made to feel so welcome here every year, it’s just a fantastic event. Everybody comes together and it’s a great community atmosphere. You just can’t beat it really.”
This year’s event attracted a range of people from across the globe, from Germany to America, and successfully brought people together with various charitable organisations entering teams of up to 40 people.
A group of 60 from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service workers, which has supported the event since 2008, was also present on the day.
Each year, the Santa Dash proves a success with money being raised for hundreds of different charities.
Participants could raise money for any organisation of their choice, but were also invited to dash and raise cash for the BTR Footsteps Fundraisers, who are the three official charities of Radio City Liverpool Santa Dash 2016: Radio City’s Cash for Kids, Everton in the Community and Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.
YouTube: Molly Copoc, JMU Journalism
Galleries by Molly Copoc, Andrew Nuttall and Paige Freshwater. Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the images