With just over three weeks until Christmas and people all over the world getting into the holiday spirit, around 8,000 people dressed as Father Christmas descended on Liverpool for the annual Santa Dash.
The bitterly cold weather did not dampen the spirits of the thousands of people donned in red hats and coats, and white beards (with the occasional blue and white coloured suit for the Everton fans). The five kilometre run started in front of the Liver Building and proceeded around the city, with the finish line at the Town Hall.
Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle officially started the race, but did not run in it, with an event coming up next week. However, among the masses of Father Christmases were MP Steve Rotheram, Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon and singer Esco Williams.
Sporting a blue and white suit, McClarnon told the BBC: “It shows what Liverpool is all about, the fact that we are all here just to raise money.
“It’s very early on a Sunday morning, it’s freezing, but everyone is here to have a laugh and raise money for charity,” she said.
Local business owner Liam Butler, who completed the race in 24 minutes, echoed McClarnon’s sentiments, saying that the event “showed how great a city Liverpool is”.
He said: “It really is a fantastic event to be a part of. For all these people to come out on a Sunday morning and try raise a bit of money for charity, especially when the weather is practically Baltic, really shows the character and great attitude of people in this city.”
Various charity groups were represented in the race, including the OK Foundation, for which Oliver King’s brother Ben completed the race, in turn raising enough money for the foundation to purchase another defibrillator.
The event, organised by Run Liverpool, was raising money for various charities throughout the UK as part of ITV’s Text Santa appeal.
A ‘Mini-Dash’ also took place shortly after the main race, with children under 12 having a chance to dress up as Father Christmas and run a one kilometre course.
Santa Dash creator Alan Rothwell, thanked the thousands of supporters and said: “Without a doubt this has been the biggest and best Santa Dash we’ve hosted.
“Unfortunately we can’t claim the Guinness World Record this year, but we’ll be in a much stronger position to challenge in 2013.”
The current record was set in 2006 in Derry, with over 13,000 Santas.