IT may only be September but already this year’s Santa Dash in Liverpool has become another victim of the coronavirus crisis
The hugely popular event will be held virtually after organisers decided it would be too risky to have thousands of people gathering in the city centre during the pandemic.
The Santa Dash, now in its 17th year, is held in December and involves people dressing up in red or blue Father Christmas costumes to run 5k for charity.
BTR Liverpool, who organise the event, say it is “impossible” to ensure the safety of both runners and volunteers due to coronavirus.
Instead, the event will be held online with participants encouraged to run 5k in their own way and still raise money for good causes.
BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell said: “Due to the size and scale of the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash, it is impossible to host event with social distancing restrictions in place.
“Although we are only in September, we have made the decision early so we can inform people as soon as possible about the changes for this year.
“Not being able to host the event in its usual energetic and exciting format is hugely disappointing – the sea of red and blue Santas dashing round the city is quite spectacular. The event is a real highlight of the year, both for participants and the BTR team, but we are living in unprecedented times.
“However, given the growing popularity in virtual running and the absence of live running events – to ensure our dashing Santas still get their festive fix, we are making the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash virtual for 2020. The event will raise funds for eight fantastic charities who need a boost right now, and we’re encouraging participants to complete their 5K festive fun run and enjoy Santa Dash day in their own way.”
The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash goes virtual on Sunday, December 6.
The eight charities to benefit this year are: Alder Hey Children’s Charity; Claire House Children’s Hospice; Clatterbridge Cancer Charity; North West Air Ambulance; North West Cancer Research; Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation; Wirral Hospice St John’s; and Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.
Mr Rothwell added: “Just by taking part in the virtual BTR Liverpool Santa Dash, participants will be supporting good causes. We will be donating all profits generated through the event, and they will be split equally between the eight official charities.
“The BTR Liverpool Santa Dash is inclusive and open to everyone – wheelchair participants, walkers, joggers and runners. Take part with friends, family or colleagues, take those Santa Dash selfies. The event will be different this year but I am sure we can still make it very special.”
Event planning and registration will remain the same. Participants can still register online or in person at two pop-up collection points in Liverpool city centre and the Wirral, locations will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Santas will receive their medal when collecting their race pack. To support the virtual change, there is now an option for Santa suits to be posted. An online Santa Dash gallery will also be created by BTR Liverpool to feature the virtual festive fun run images.
To register for the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash visit www.btrliverpool.com