Another belated post as I catch up in uploading my photos. On 1st December the tenth Liverpool Santa Dash saw increased entries taking part in what is now the U.K’s biggest festive fun run. The event is open to runners, joggers and walkers and everyone has to take part in the Santa suit provided. As well as the main 5K Festive Fun Run, there is a 1K Mini Run for under 12s which takes place immediately afterwards. There was a sea of Santas waiting by the start at Liverpool’s Pierhead.
This year the event organisers were targeting 10,000 runners in a bid to reclaim the world title for the biggest number of Santas taking part from Las Vegas. Last year, the US rivals beat Liverpool by just 714 runners despite a record turnout of 8,500.
Olympic champion Beth Tweddle and Everton FC legend Joe Royle got this year’s event underway from the starting point outside the Cunard Building on Liverpool’s Pierhead. Big Brother’s Craig Philips along with former X Factor star Chris Maloney started at the head of the crowd.
The run raises money for charities. The official event charity was Claire House children’s hospice, with supporting charities Walking with Giants and Liverpool Unites for Alder Hey children’s charity. The Santas made quite a scene as they made their way up Water Street from the river.
In keeping with the footballing traditions of the city around 500 participants are able to wear blue Santa outfits for those staunch Evertonians who just wouldn’t be seen in red.
Everyone can take part and many got in to the spirit of the event which included dogs dressed up in outfits, some pushing prams with babies in and others taking part in wheelchairs.
Some people were dressed in very different attire including one man in a kilt.
The Santa Dash is not just for hardened athletes most people were just out for a good time supporting worthwhile charities and having time for a good chat with friends.
Some couldn’t resist taking their own photographs of the event as they went round.
There was a sizeable crowd viewing the event from all sorts of vantage points.
The local Batala Liverpool Samba drumming band were on hand on the last corner before the finish to spur the participants on.
With such a number of competitors taking part many of the city centre roads were closed to traffic.
A key part of the route is the Churchill Way flyover that took the runners from Dale Street up to Islington on the other side of the city centre. It was quite a sight to see so many Santas thronging the flyover.
The runners were greeted by a very tall reindeer at the finish outside the Town Hall in Dale Street.
After finishing and collecting their medals it was a long walk back to the car, train or bus to get home.
Liverpool was hoping to reclaim the world record of the largest gathering of Santas from Las Vegas who hosted their own Santa dash on 7 December. Liverpool last had the title in 2010. A party from Las Vegas flew into Liverpool to witness the event. The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Gary Millar was joined by Carolyn G. Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas, at both the start on the Pier Head and the finish line on the balcony of the Town Hall in Dale Street.
Despite Liverpool’s bumper turnout of 10,299 runners, the city narrowly lost the title for staging the world’s largest Santa dash once again to rivals Las Vegas who kept the crown again this year with 11,201 participants in their fun run. Representatives from both cities welcomed singer Shania Twain, who served as “grand marshall” at the Las Vegas dash when the numbers of entrants were revealed.