Red sea of 1,700 Santas set to pound the city’s streets

Oxford Mail: These Santas got their blood pumping with a zumba warm-up with George Martini in Catte Street before their dash around the two-mile route.  Picture OX56116 by Jon Lewis Buy this photo » These Santas got their blood pumping with a zumba warm-up with George Martini in Catte Street before their dash around the two-mile route. Picture OX56116 by Jon Lewis

IT will look like Christmas has come early when hundreds of Santas flood the streets of Oxford on Sunday.

More than 1,700 runners have signed up to take part in Santas on the Run for Helen & Douglas House – the highest number of participants in the popular event’s seven-year history.

The Magdalen Road, East Oxford, charity hopes the two-mile family fun run on Sunday will raise £85,000.

Last year 1,500 Santas took part, raising about £70,000.

Organiser Poppy Hanbury, senior community and events fundraiser for Helen & Douglas House, said: “We sold out about two weeks ago and we also sold out last year.

“But we got permission from the council to extend the numbers by 200. We started off with 700 in our first year, so to go up to 1,700 within that time is amazing.

“People are coming back year on year and they say it is the day they put up their tree and do Christmassy things. It is great to be part of people’s yearly calendar.”

The run starts and finishes at Catte Street in the city centre, taking runners on a circuit around the University Parks.

The event has raised £400,000 since it began seven years ago.

Ms Hanbury said: “We are encouraging every Santa to try and raise £100 and this would pay for 12 days of care at the hospice – 12 days of Christmas. We are trying to get people into the Christmas spirit.”

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She added: “The money raised will make a huge difference.

“It means we can continue our work and care that we give here at Helen & Douglas House.

“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them.”

The roads on the route and in the area will be closed from 8.30am until 10.15am.

The run starts at 9.15am, but there will be refreshments and entertainment from 8.30am.

Lin Beekar, PR and communications manager for Helen & Douglas House, encouraged spectators to come along on the morning. She said: “The atmosphere is unbelievable. It is such a nice day – and seeing all the Santas running around is great.”

  • To find out more or to sponsor a Santa, visit helenanddouglas.org.uk/activity-events/Running/santas-on-the-run/ For the full story and pictures, see Monday’s Oxford Mail and send us your Santa run pictures to picturedesk@oxfordmail.co.uk

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