An estimated 10,000 people took to the streets of Liverpool dressed as Father Christmas today for the city’s 10th annual Santa Dash.
Event organisers are hoping to claim back the World Santa Challenge title from rival runners, Las Vegas, with setting a new world record becoming an annual contest between the two cities in recent years.
The 5K festive run was open to people of all ages and abilities, with joggers, walkers, unicyclists and even dogs donning red and white (or blue and white for Everton fans) Santa suits for the occasion.
Sue Rogers, 54, Liverpool, took part and she told JMU Journalism: “It was great; I think they’re bound to have beaten Las Vegas. [Events like these] bring everybody into the city, it’s a great way to start your Christmas shopping and people stay in the city afterwards so it’s a great atmosphere.”
The race was officially started by Olympic gymnast, Beth Tweddle, Everton legend, Joe Royle and Santa himself. There was also a 1K mini-dash for under-12s which followed the main event.
Tweddle told JMU Journalism: “You look around today and you can see all the red and blue Santas, you can see that Liverpool and Everton supporters are coming together, just to have fun and raise money for charities. It’s the first week of Christmas and everyone just wants to get into that Christmas spirit.”
The official charity for this year was Claire House children’s hospice; however, many participants also raised money in support of other causes.
Bradley Ledson, 31, Liverpool, was running in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and completed the race in 24 minutes. He told JMU Journalism: “I think I’ve raised about 70 quid. It’s kind of emotional when you’re involved in it, you see so many people who want to do it so it’s really nice.
“It’s my first time, I don’t think it’ll be my last time though; my daughter wants to do it as well, so it’ll be a good family run next year.”
The event is the largest of its kind to be held in the UK and last year the run attracted 8,500 entries, helping the ITV Text Santa appeal towards its total of raising £5 million.
Las Vegas is set to stage its own Santa Dash on December 7 in a bid to retain the world title.
Additional reporting by Nathan McCrae