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All aboard for festive dash as City Santas take ferry ’cross The Mersey to mark 100-day countdown

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Santa Dash Launch 2022 Oli, Riley, Mum Hannah, Dad Conor, Adam Dixon
Santa Dash Launch 2022 Oli, Riley, Mum Hannah, Dad Conor, Adam Dixon. Images by Paul Francis Cooper/BTR Liverpool

Passengers amused by festive sight in August 

Santa Dash organisers BTR Liverpool announce headline partner, official charity, and media partner 

Festive spectacular returns on Sunday 4 December 2022 

Visitors enjoying the iconic Mersey Ferry in Liverpool yesterday (Thursday 25 August) got an early festive surprise when they were greeted on-board by a group of Santas – on a sunny day in August.

The Santas were aboard to officially launch this year’s Liverpool Santa Dash – and mark the 100-day countdown to Santa Dash day on Sunday 4 December 2022. Online entries are open now.

The uplifting launch was hosted by independent race event organisation BTR Liverpool, who created the Liverpool Santa Dash spectacular and stage the festive event each year.

Tourists enjoying the 50-minute River Explorer Cruise, which offers the best views of the stunning Liverpool and Wirral waterfronts, could not believe their eyes. Thrilled with the colourful sight of their fellow passengers, they joined in the fun by posing for selfies with Santas.

The fun-loving Santas who raised plenty of smiles – and eyebrows – are regulars in BTR running events. These included the Dyet family from Coventry who were visiting the city, and Sue Gilham from Formby who has completed all 18 previous Liverpool Santa Dash events proudly sporting her medals.

The launch also included the announcement of the event’s headline partner, official charity, and official media partner for the 2022 event – an exciting hat-trick with all three organisations returning for a second year.

This year’s event will be sponsored by Park Christmas Savings, part of Liverpool-based Appreciate Group which is maintaining its support for another year.

Alder Hey Children’s Charity returns as the official event charity, with fundraising Santas supporting its ongoing Surgical Neonatal Appeal.

Four-year-old Riley from Wirral is already fundraising for the Alder Hey appeal, even though he isn’t an Alder Hey patient. He recently cycled five miles raising £400. He was a special guest at the launch alongside charity mascot Oli the elephant.

They are joined for a second year by In Demand Radio, who are supporting the event as official media partner.

This will be the 19th annual Liverpool Santa Dash, which is often regarded as the city’s kick-start to Christmas.

Last year, a sea of 5,000 red, blue and mini Santas took to the streets of Liverpool for the UK’s biggest festive 5K fun run.

Liverpool Santa Dash was first staged in 2004, created by BTR Race Director Alan Rothwell. It has continued each year, including a virtual format in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic when mass participation events were not permitted.

The 1K Mini Dash for youngsters aged 12 and under was introduced in 2007, while blue Santa suits were launched in 2010.

BTR Liverpool is the leading independent organisation for creating, managing, and delivering headline running events across Liverpool City Region. Its extensive portfolio covers various distances across different terrains, all with an ongoing commitment to sustainability.

The BTR event portfolio also includes the Tour Of Merseyside, Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon, Mersey Tunnel 10K, Port Sunlight Road Race, Wirral 10K, and Run For The 97.

BTR Liverpool Race Director Alan Rothwell explained: 

Over the years we’ve done lots of quirky and fun things to launch the Santa Dash including Santas zipwiring down Church Street, an open-top bus round the city centre playing Christmas songs in Summer, a Santa conga in St Johns Shopping Centre, and Santas enjoying the carousel at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. But this year has to be our most ambitious yet – Santas on a ferry across the Mersey! 

“It’s August. It’s heatwaves galore. And now Santas on the world-famous Mersey Ferry to mark the 100-day countdown. The sight of a collective group of Santas never fails to bring pure joy – and that’s exactly what we’ve seen on the ferry and at Pier Head Liverpool as we launch this year’s event. 

“We are delighted to announce our ongoing partnerships with Park Christmas Savings, Alder Hey Children’s Charity, and In Demand Radio who have all jumped aboard for a second year. Together we will give Santas a wonderful festive day to remember.” 

The Liverpool Santa Dash is an accessible event open to everyone, from those running purely for fun to groups of fundraisers.

Each year Santas walk, jog or run alongside wheelchair participants, families, groups of friends or colleagues – even tiny Santas in prams and even four-legged furry Santas.

The event acts as a platform for community groups, businesses, and charities to fundraise independently while taking part.

Park Christmas Savings has been the UK’s most popular and trusted festive savings company for over 50 years, having helped over three million families budget for a happy, stress-free Christmas. It presently helps around 300,000 customers plan spread the cost of Christmas each year.

Director of Marketing Katherine Scott said: 

“As a company dedicated to helping our customers enjoy the best possible Christmas, we’re excited to be supporting the Liverpool Santa Dash 2022 – regarded by many as the city’s kick-start to the festive season. 

“We’re all about helping people plan ahead for Christmas so it’s fitting to be launching this year’s Santa Dash in the height of Summer, when Christmas is likely to be the last thing on some people’s minds.” 

Last year, dashing Santas raised more than £15,000 for Alder Hey Children’s Charity. The funds went towards the specialist hospital’s new £3million Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) appeal to help develop a state-of-the-art unit for newborn babies and their families.

The new Surgical NICU is a joint project between Alder Hey and Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust as the Liverpool Neonatal Partnership. It will offer 22 neonatal cots, including 18 individual family rooms where parents can remain alongside their poorly newborns whilst receiving expert care.

Adam Dixon, Community Fundraiser for Alder Hey Children’s Charity, said: 

“We are so excited to be back on-board as the Santa Dash official charity partner for the second year running. It’s the real kick-start to Christmas. Seeing everyone running through the streets of Liverpool dressed as Santa is absolutely amazing. Every penny we raise through the Santa Dash will make a massive difference towards our £3million Surgical Neonatal Appeal to fund the new unit.”

In Demand Radio launched on DAB in November 2020 for Liverpool and the North West, and are official media partner for the second consecutive year.

Sarah Golden, In Demand Radio Brand & Partnerships Manager, added: 

“We are absolutely thrilled to again be the official media partner for Liverpool Santa Dash. It is an incredible day with such a great sense of community, love, and passion for the event, with participants supporting so many fantastic charities including Alder Hey.

The In Demand Radio team are excited to be there this year with some of our presenters joining in the fun run. We cannot wait to see everyone again, all getting fit while embracing the festive spirit – it’s going to be a very special day.”

The Liverpool Santa Dash is on Sunday 4 December 2022, starting at 9.30am from Pier Head Liverpool.

The 5K route takes Santas along The Strand and into Grade I Listed Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, through the city centre, before heading to the grandstand finish line at Liverpool Town Hall.

Online entries are open now. Santa suits will be available to collect from a city centre location from Tuesday 1 November. More details will be announced.

The event entry fee covers all costs to organise and deliver the event including road closures, safety measures, Santa suits, medals, goody bags, and entertainment.

For full details and online entry visit www.btrliverpool.com/santa-dash-event

Website          www.btrliverpool.com

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