Christmas arrives early in the city as 6,000 Santas dash through Liverpool

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Christmas in Liverpool

Christmas in Liverpool: More than 6,000 excited runners in Liverpool pulled on their running shoes last weekend to take part in the UK’s biggest festive 5K fun run. The 16th annual BTR Liverpool Santa Dash last Sunday (1st December) saw the city centre transformed into winter wonderland for the festive spectacular.

Highly regarded as the city’s kick-start to Christmas, there was even ‘real’ snow to make the event more special for the thousands of red, blue and mini Santas.

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The established event was first staged in 2004, and entries have already opened for next year with an early bird price. The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash 2020 takes place on Sunday 6 December – blue places are limited.

This year’s international Santas travelled from the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, as well as Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Special guests included Radio City Breakfast Show hosts Leanne and Dave; Lord Mayor Of Liverpool Councillor Anna Rothery; Everton in the Community Ambassador and Blues’ legend Graeme Sharp; Liverpool Football Club Chief Executive Peter Moore; singer Stephen McNally from band BBMak; Liverpool actor Kurtis Stacey; Miss Liverpool Finley Unsworth; and Everton fans’ favourite Speedo Mick.

The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash 2019 was supported by St Johns Shopping Centre; The World’s Famous Grotto; Arriva North West; Radio City; Royal Albert Dock Liverpool; and Appreciate Group.

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Volunteer teams on the day included Claire House Children’s Hospice; Dockside Runners; Everton in the Community; and Merseyside Army Cadet Force.

More than 150 Santas took part to fundraise for charity partner Claire House Children’s Hospice, which has bases in Wirral and Liverpool.

Santas gathered at Pier Head Liverpool before setting off on the 5K route, which took them through the Grade I Listed Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and the city centre, before enjoying a grandstand finish outside Liverpool Town Hall. Royal Albert Dock Liverpool featured for the second year and now replaces the Churchill flyover part of the route.

The event also included the Mini Dash 1K, sponsored by The World’s Famous Grotto at St Johns Shopping Centre, for youngsters aged 12 and under.

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All Santas were given a special finish line celebration on Dale Street with entertainment from Liverpool drum/percussion band Katumba drumming band, stilt walking festive characters, and ‘real’ snow as they completed the Santa Dash and collected their commemorative finishers’ medal.

The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash is an accessible event and is open to everyone. The event attracts wheelchair participants, walkers, joggers and runners, taking part with friends, families, charities, colleagues – even tiny Santas in prams and countless four-legged furry Santas.

For third consecutive year, Arriva North West offered Santas free travel on the Arriva bus network across Merseyside throughout Santa Dash day.

It was a poignant day for the Furlong family from Aintree, who took part in memory of their mum Jayne who passed away suddenly in August. Jayne had previously taken part almost every year, and also volunteered when Scottish Power was a sponsor in 2017. The group of 30 included Jayne’s daughters Emma and Sophie; Emma’s 18-month old daughter Esme; and best friend Debbie Ashton.

The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash acts as a platform for community groups, businesses and charities to fundraise independently while taking part.

First staged in 2004, the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash was created by BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell.

BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing and delivering headline race events across Liverpool City Region. Its portfolio also includes the BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K; Port Sunlight Road Race 5K and 10K; and the 52-mile Tour Of Merseyside.

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BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell commented: “What another incredible year for the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash – long established and the longest festive run in the region.

“Thousands of red, blue and mini Santas gathering on the world-famous Liverpool waterfront, then turning the streets of the city centre into a festive spectacular – it’s something which just has to be witnessed and experienced first-hand. There’s nothing else like it.

“A huge thank you to our supporters, volunteers and most of all, our dashing Santas. The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash is a very special event for everyone involved, the smiles speak for themselves.

“Early bird entries are now open for next year, we’ll see you there for our 17th consecutive year on 6th December 2020. Christmas has officially started in Liverpool.”

Online entries for the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash 2020 are open now with an early bird price of £20 and Mini Dash reduced price of £10 until 1st January 2020. Find out more at

The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash registration fee covers all costs to organise and deliver the event including road closures, safety measures, Santa suits, medals, and entertainment.

The BTR Liverpool portfolio for 2020 starts with the long established BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon on Sunday 15th March, which marks its 27th consecutive year.


Facebook       Facebook/BTR Liverpool

Twitter            @BTRLiverpool

Hashtag          #LiverpoolSantaDash

Related read: City businesses throw their weight behind the annual Liverpool Santa Dash

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