Scouse Santas win back world title

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Liverpool Santa Dash 2014. Pic by Connor Dunn © JMU Journalism

Liverpool Santa Dash 2014. Pic by Connor Dunn © JMU Journalism

Santa Claus came to Liverpool early and en masse on Sunday as 8,500 people donned the famous white beard and red (or blue) suit to take part in the 10th anniversary BTR Liverpool Santa Dash.

Organisers BTR Liverpool have announced that they have won back the unofficial world title from Las Vegas for the first time since 2010 as the annual challenge event in Nevada took place the day before, with less than 8,000 Santas participating.

The runners in Liverpool braved temperatures more suited to the North Pole but didn’t let the occasional rain dampen their spirits on the 5km run, which started at the city’s famous Pier Head under the Liver Building and ended at the finish line in front of the Town Hall.

Lord Mayor Erica Kemp attended the event and told JMU Journalism at the start line: “I’ve taken part a couple of times but you don’t get a sense of the scale of it, just standing here watching everyone go passed is amazing. It’s really very humbling. I do hope we beat Las Vegas this year, we’re the best at everything!”

Video report by Holly Jones & Connor Dunn, JMU Journalism TV

The Liverpool Santa Dash has grown in giant strides since it began in 2004, with 2,000 festive runners taking part in the first edition.

Since then it has become the UK’s biggest festive fun run, with a mini dash for under 12s which was introduced in 2007, and Everton fans across the city were given the chance to turn Santa blue when alternative suits were first introduced in 2010.

This year’s race included Paul Simons, the Guinness World Record holder for running a marathon dressed as Santa, and 91-year-old Eddy Mountford from the Wirral who became the most senior participant of the event this year.

Liverpool Lord Mayor Erica Kemp at the start of Santa Dash 2014. Pic by Connor Dunn © JMU Journalism

Liverpool Lord Mayor Erica Kemp at the start of Santa Dash 2014. Pic by Connor Dunn © JMU Journalism

Steven Martin was running for charity Stick ‘n’ Step, which aims to help children with cerebral palsy, and said he’d especially enjoyed the run in his blue suit.

He told JMU Journalism: “This is the first time I’ve run this race, but I’d heard really good things about it previously. Seeing so many people running, especially when you’re going over the flyover, is amazing.”

This was the first event that BTR Liverpool’s five official charities for this year: Radio City’s Cash for Kids; Claire House Children’s Hospice; Everton in the Community; Jospice and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. The charities were represented through the new BTR Footsteps Fundraisers initiative.

BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell said: “Once people put on their Santa suit, they cannot help but smile. The sea of red and blue Santas across the city is a fantastic sight, it’s a real highlight of our year at BTR Liverpool.”

Organisers also confirmed that next year’s run will take place on Sunday 6th December 2015.

Photo galleries by Connor Dunn; additional reporting by Holly Jones

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the images

Liverpool Santa Dash 2014. Pic by Connor Dunn © JMU Journalism5

Liverpool Santa Dash 2014. Pic by Connor Dunn © JMU Journalism2

Liverpool Santa Dash 2014. Pic by Connor Dunn © JMU Journalism3

Liverpool Santa Dash 2014. Pic by Connor Dunn © JMU Journalism4

About Adam Jones, JMU Journalism