A SEA of red, blue and mini Santas swept through the city on Sunday (3 December) as 7,500 took part in the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash 2017as the UK’s biggest festive 5K fun run returned for its 14th consecutive year.
Claire House Children’s Hospice, which has bases in Wirral and West Derby, was this year’s official event charity.
Special Santa guests included the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, who swapped his Mayoral robes and chains for a red Santa suit and finishers’ medal. He was running to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s Charity Appeal, whose good causes this year are The ADHD Foundation, The Owen McVeigh Foundation, The Choir with No Name, and All Together NOW!
Everton fans’ favourite, fundraiser Speedo Mick, braved the December weather in his usual speedo attire to take part and collect a blue Santa Dash medal.
Fourteen ever present Santas, who have taken part in every Liverpool Santa Dash, were back to run and collect the 14th medal in their Santa Dash collection.
Four generations of the Kearon family, who live in Wirral and Ireland, took part for the first time as a family. The seven family members included Mum Pat, Dad Brian, sons Shaun and Stuart, granddaughter Amie, son-in-law Matt, and great granddaughter Amelia, who is just three months old.
Father Christmas from the St Johns Shopping Centre Grotto made a special trip to officially start the Liverpool Santa Dash with Leanne and Dave from the Radio City Breakfast Show.
The event also attracted a number of Santas from overseas, who had travelled from Australia, France, Gibraltar, Italy, Spain and the United States of America specially to take part in this year’s event.
First staged in 2004, the Liverpool Santa Dash was created by BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell. The event has since continued to grow in popularity. In 2007, the festive fun run was expanded to include the 1K Mini Dash for under 12s, followed by the introduction of blue Santa suits in 2010 by public demand.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented: “What another incredible year for the Liverpool Santa Dash. Free bus travel for Santas was a very generous gesture from Arriva North West, and the sea of red and blue Santas at the Pier Head really is a breathtaking sight.
“Heading over the Churchill Flyover remains a massive highlight of the route, as does the fantastic Katumba drumming band welcoming Santas onto Dale Street. Stilt-walking festive characters and real snow at the Liverpool Town Hall finish line all add to the Santa Dash experience – there really is no event quite like it.
“Thank you once again to the 7,500 Santas for making the Liverpool Santa Dash 2017 such a special day. From babes in arms to senior Santas in their 80s, it really was a wonderful spectacle and a brilliant day for all. Each year thousands of Santas take the dash into their hearts.
“See you all on 2 December 2018 to do it all over again – we’re already counting down the days and entries are now open.”
The main Santa Dash was followed by a 1K Mini Dash for youngsters aged 12 and under. The Mini Dash started in Castle Street, with youngsters enjoying the same grandstand finish line at Liverpool Town Hall.
Sophie Chilvers, Running and Challenge Fundraiser at official Santa Dash event charity Claire House, said: “We are thrilled to be the charity partner for the Liverpool Santa Dash. Laughter, positivity and care are what Claire House is all about, so dressing as Santa and running through Liverpool city centre is the perfect way to raise vital funds and make this Christmas magical for all the children and families we support.”
The festive fun continues with a Santa Conga at St Johns Shopping Centre this Thursday (7 December). The Santa Conga starts at 6pm in Roe Street, next to Matalan.
Registration is £1 with monies being donated to Claire House, collect a Santa Conga place at the centre’s management office, located on the upper level. The Santa Conga is open to everyone. Christmas jumpers are encouraged for those who don’t have Santa suits.
The date for the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash 2018 is confirmed as Sunday, 2 December – entries are open now at http://www.btrliverpool.com/santa-dash-enter