RUNNERS came from across the county and beyond to create a sea of red to take part in the annual Oxford Santa run.

About 1,500 men, women and children, and even a few dogs, warmed up ‘Gangnam Style’ with two zumba teachers before taking to the streets of the city yesterday morning.

There were wheelchair users, babies in buggies, a runner on crutches and even a group from the Oxford City Singers performing Christmas carols on the route.

And for many there was a special reason for taking part in the sixth annual Helen and Douglas House two-mile Santa Run, which started and finished in Catte Street, just off Broad Street.

A team of 30 ran in memory of Katie James, 14, from Woodstock, who died in April 2010 after suffering cancer of the spine.

Mum Anita said the group had so far raised £1,300 for the Oxford-based hospices. She said: “Basically Helen House was our life line and still is. We have done the run four or five times, we also did it with Katie in her wheelchair one year.”

A team of 38 students, teachers and parents from Abingdon’s Our Lady Junior School took part.

The group has so far raised £1,200. Head of PE Gill Reedman said: “One of our 10-year-olds asked if he could do it last year and we entered the cross-country team. It just went from there and this year we had teachers and families taking part. We are really proud of them.”

Ian and Charlotte Mitchell ran with daughters Olivia, two, and baby Harriet, eight months. It was actually the second time Harriet had been in the race. Last year Mrs Mitchell ran while she was pregnant.

Mrs Mitchell, of Abingdon, said: “I was pregnant and had a huge tummy last time, so she has done it before but instead of keeping warm on the inside she’s on the outside.”

Running for the third consecutive year was Mike Dunbar, 44, who took part with wife Sarah, and sons Charlie, seven, and Jack, two. He said: “Charlie wanted to do it – we saw it advertised and thought it looked an absolute scream.” The family have so far raised about £100.

First over the finish line was postman Tom Scott, 44, of Botley, who had come second on a number of previous occasions.

One of five postmen taking part, Mr Scott said: “It was the first time I have ever come first in anything.”