Last weekend, the milestone 20th staging of the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash turned Liverpool into a sea of red, blue, and mini Santas.
Approximately 6,100 elegant Santas participated in the joyous spectacle, which many saw as the official beginning of Christmas in the city. The number of elegant Santas present this year was the highest since 2018.
The largest festive 5K fun run in the UK took place on Sunday, December 3 in Liverpool.
In addition to Santas from the North West, participants had travelled from all over the nation, including Australia, Bangkok, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, and Spain.
In 2004, the inaugural Liverpool Santa Dash was held. Alan Rothwell, the director of BTR Liverpool Race, created it. In the Liverpool City Region, BTR Liverpool is the top independent company for planning, organising, and carrying out blockbuster events.
The event has changed over the previous 20 years. The 1K Mini Dash for children under the age of twelve was added to the schedule in 2007, and in response to popular demand, blue Santa suits were added in 2010.
After the Churchill Flyover in Liverpool’s downtown was demolished in 2018, the 5K route was modified to include the Grade I-listed Royal Albert Dock Liverpool estate. Ever since, the waterfront attraction has been an important part of the day.
On Sunday, December 1st, entries for the event next year are open. Limited spots are available for Blue Santa; sign up here.
All expenses related to planning and executing the Liverpool Santa Dash, such as road closures, security precautions, Santa suits, medals, goody bags, and entertainment, are covered by the entry fee.
Alder Hey Children’s Charity served as this year’s official charity partner, and Radio City served as the media partner. St Johns Shopping Centre, Arriva North West, and Royal Albert Dock Liverpool were the supporting partners.
The primary 5K Santa Dash began at Liverpool’s Pier Head and led Santas through the city’s centre, including Royal Albert Dock. Prior to a grandstand finale outside Liverpool Town Hall, which featured festive characters on stilts and “real” snow.
Subsequently, the 1K Mini Dash began on Castle Street and concluded at the same location on Dale Street.
Lincoln, a five-year-old Alder Hey patient from St. Helens, was the day’s special guest. The child has had open heart surgery performed at Alder Hey. He shone with his contagious energy and optimism, earning him the honour of representing the charity at the function.
Lincoln was honoured to kick off the Santa Dash with his family, including brothers Deacon, Mac, and Jaxon, mother Tanya, and father Mathew, present on stage. Later, Lincoln participated in the 1K Mini Dash with the help of Oli, the elephant mascot for Alder Hey who ran in the main dash.
The mission of Alder Hey Children’s Charity is to provide families with an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, frequently during the most trying times, by raising funds for inventive projects and imaginative endeavours.
The charity has proudly pioneered life-saving treatments and given comfort to young patients and their families because of kind donations. The money raised will go towards funding its innovative medical research, state-of-the-art facilities, and work to change the lives of young people.
Over £16,000 has already been raised for Alder Hey’s Santa Dash campaign. Donations are still accepted here, the charity’s official giving page.
Santa Dash organisers BTR Liverpool made arrangements for Lincoln to visit the St. Helens Community Fire Station and get to know the crew before he took on his guest of honour duties. He got to experience every aspect of a fire station, including riding in the engine, trying on a fire helmet, shooting water, and being shown around the apparatus. The crew also gave him a T-shirt, a baseball cap, and his very own big toy fire engine to take home.
Since 2007, firefighters and non-operational staff from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service have participated in the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash.
This year, a group of 100 Santas, led by Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan, supported the community event and the organization’s wellness and health ethos. They are participating with the largest group they have ever had.
Santas were welcomed to both events by Leanne and Scott, presenters of the Radio City Breakfast Show. Along with a team that applied through Leg It With Leanne, a radio station, Leanne participated in the main Santa Dash.
Other attendees included Craig Phillips, the original Big Brother winner, his wife Laura, and their two kids, as well as Councillor Richard Kemp, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Liverpool, who was cheering on his wife Erica in the main dash.
Santas have been signing up and picking up their Santa suits at the Santa Dash pop-up shop at St Johns Shopping Centre for the past five weeks. Since 2017, the shopping centre has sponsored the event, and 20 teams participated this year.
For the sixth year running, Arriva North West provided complimentary bus transportation throughout Merseyside on Santa Dash Day, for both the event and the journey there.
Among the day’s other highlights was Rock Choir Liverpool’s debut performance, which they gave as Santas ran into Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and then proceeded to the finish line to entertain them in Water Street.
After dazzling Santas and onlookers with their performance on Dale Street, Liverpool drumming group Katumba staged a grand finale to bring the event to a thrilling conclusion after every little Santa had finished the course.
Thanks are also given to Everton in the Community, Goodgym Liverpool, North West Air Ambulance, and cadets from 4 Coy Merseyside Army Cadets from units in Allerton, Aigburth, Norris Green, and Old Swan. Volunteer teams also play a significant role on the day.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash, from individuals running for fun to teams raising money.Participating businesses, charities, and community organisations can use the event as a platform to independently fundraise.
Alongside wheelchair users, families, friend groups, coworkers, tiny Santas in strollers, and furry four-legged Santas, Santas stroll, jog, or run.
Liverpool Half Marathon, Mersey Tunnel 10K, and the 52-mile Tour of Merseyside are among the year-round events offered by BTR. Its vast portfolio spans a range of distances and topographies, all while maintaining a dedication to sustainability.
BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell commented:
“When I visited a Santa run in Newtown in Wales in 2003, I was captivated by what saw – and just knew this was something Liverpool really needed. Fast forward 20 years, and after plenty of hard work and dedication, Liverpool now has the biggest festive 5K fun run in the UK.
“This year’s milestone event brought together 6,100 red, blue, and mini Santas for the most magical day to kick-start the city’s festivities. It’s a day really like no other – the sight of thousands of Santas gathering under the gaze of the Liver Birds on the banks of the River Mersey is now iconic.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with our partners Alder Hey Children’s Charity, Radio City, St Johns Shopping Centre, Arriva North West, and Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. The BTR team would also like to say a huge thank you to every Santa who made the day so special. Have a great Christmas and we’ll see you on 1 December 2024.”
The BTR Liverpool Half Marathon and 10 Mile Road Race will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Sunday, March 17, 2024, and is the next event on the calendar.
Details about the BTR event portfolio can be found on the website.