THOUSANDS of Father Christmases raced through Liverpool as the city held its annual Santa Dash.
More than 8,000 people took part in the race yesterday in aid of ITV’s Text Santa appeal, which raises money for Age UK, Anthony Nolan, Carers UK, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Together for Short Lives and Whizz-kidz.
The festive fundraisers set off on the 5km race from the Pier Head at 9.30am after it was officially started by Liverpool gymnast and Olympian Beth Tweddle.
Beth said: “Everyone’s getting into the Christmas festivities and it’s a great family day raising money for charity.
“I can't take part because I have a display in Glasgow next week and can't risk injury but my boyfriend is taking part on my behalf and I'm cheering him on.”
Beth’s other half Steve Cryer teamed up with Olympic boxer Thomas Stalker to take on the race three-legged.
Walton MP Steve Rotherham, Liverpool FC legend Alan Kennedy, former Big Brother contestant Nikki Grahame and Hollyoaks actress Alex Fletcher were among the crowds who took on the course, which finished at the town hall.
Liverpool singer Esco Williams turned up to support the event before being convinced to join in.
He said: “I’ve had a stomach bug for the past two weeks and this was my first day out so I wasn’t going to take part.
“But once I got here and was standing next to an Olympian with people saying ‘go on, go on’ I gave in to peer pressure.
“It was amazing and there was great energy and atmosphere.”
Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon was at the start line to wave off the runners.
She had been hoping to take part before injuring her shoulder in rehearsals for the Liverpool Empire’s Cinderella.
She said: “It’s a very important event raising money for lots of charities. Doing something for charity is everything that Liverpool’s about and this is also a great way of putting the city on the map.”
A group of 46 staff and students from Bellerive FCJ Catholic College in Sefton Park took on the run to raise money for the Ava Scott Foundation.
Attempts to break the Las Vegas record of 13,000 Santas fell well short.