Seven thousand Santa’s pulled on their running shoes at the weekend to take part in the UK’s biggest festive fun run. The 15th annual BTR Liverpool Santa Dash on Sunday (2 December) saw the city transformed into a sea of red, blue and mini Santa’s.The festive spectacular featured familiar faces from television, sport and soap join thousands of fellow Santa’s on the start line.
This year’s event attracted participants from across the globe, with Santa’s travelling from France, Gibraltar, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America specially to take part alongside those from closer to home from the Isle of Man and Ireland.
Hundreds of Santa’s took advantage of free bus travel from across Merseyside into the city centre for the Santa Dash and home again, thanks to the support of Arriva North West for the second consecutive year.
Radio City Breakfast Show hosts Leanne and Dave welcomed guests onto the start line stage. They were joined by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Christine Banks, to officially start this year’s event. Radio City was the media partner for the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash 2018.
Santa’s gathered on Canada Boulevard at Pier Head Liverpool – part of the city’s iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site – before embarking on their 5K festive fun run.
This year’s route changed due to ongoing road works in the city, but it gave Santa’s the opportunity to run along The Strand and through the Grade I Listed Royal Albert Dock Liverpool estate for the very first time.
The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash was chosen by Channel 5 as the official fundraising event partner for the national TV station’s new festive campaign, Help The Animals at Christmas.
Help The Animals at Christmas is raising awareness and funds to help support the vital activities of UK animal welfare charitable organisations, including the type of work carried out by nominated five animal charities RSPCA, Scottish SPCA, Blue Cross, The Donkey Sanctuary and Wildlife Aid Foundation. Donations are still being taken.
Radio and television presenter and avid runner Jenni Falconer, and a group of Hollyoaks cast members all became dashing Santa’s to support the Help The Animals at Christmas campaign.
Jenni was joined by Hollyoaks actors Nicole Barber-Lane (Myra McQueen), Parry Glasspool (Harry Thompson), Jacob Roberts (Damon Kinsella), and Adam Woodward (Brody Hudson).
Channel 5 will broadcast footage of the Santa Dash as part of a Help The Animals at Christmas television special, broadcast from Salford’s Media City at 8pm on Friday 21 December. Jenni will also be presenting on the evening.
The red and blue Santa theme proved popular on the day with Liverpool Football Club CEO Peter Moore taking time out on the morning of the Merseyside Derby at Anfield to take part in the Santa Dash for the second consecutive year. He was joined by Santa Dash regular and European Cup legend, former Liverpool FC left back Alan Kennedy.
Everton fans’ favourite and charity fundraiser Speedo Mick, and model and actor Joel Hicks – known for their fun and daring choices of attire – also joined in the fun.
Santa’s dashing along Dale Street to the finish line at Liverpool Town Hall were given a boost by the sounds of Liverpool drum/percussion band Katumba, before being greeted by The Real Santa Liverpool, stilt walking festive characters and ‘real’ snow before collecting their commemorative finishers’ medal. The day also included a 1K Mini Dash for children under 12.
First staged in 2004, the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash was created by BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell. Three years later, 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 Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:
“What an incredible day – 7,000 Santa’s dashing through the streets of Liverpool city centre, it doesn’t get much better than that. Our dashing Santa’s didn’t even let bad weather dampen their spirits on what proved to be a very memorable day. Christmas has officially started in Liverpool – well done to everyone who took part.
“We are grateful to our partners Channel 5’s Help The Animals at Christmas, St Johns Shopping Centre, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, Arriva North West and Radio City – they all played a vital role in making this year’s event a huge success.
“Thank you to volunteers from Claire House Children’s Hospice, Dockside Runners, Everton in the Community, and Merseyside Army Cadet Force, their support makes such a big difference to the smooth running of the event.
“Don’t forget to tune into Channel 5 on Friday 21 December for the very first Help The Animals at Christmas television show – you may just spot yourself running as a Santa on TV!”
The Santa Dash registration fee covers all costs to organise and deliver the event, including road closures and safety measures, Santa suits, medals, and entertainment.
Donations to Channel 5’s Help The Animals at Christmas can still be made by visiting https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/helptheanimals – you can donate via text, you can donate £5 texting HELP5 to 70028