A SEA of Santas of all shapes and sizes added some festive cheer to Oxfords’s University Parks this weekend.

Around 1,500 runners, as well as dogs and babies in strollers, donning the distinctive red and white outfit took part in the popular event on Saturday to raise money for Helen & Douglas House.

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The revamped Santas on the Run fundraiser, now named Frosty 5K, included four ‘zones’ along the course to add to the fun.

Oxford Mail:

Runners made their way through an igloo lined with masses of icicle lights, a fog tunnel, a fire zone with simulated flames and crackling sounds, and a snow zone with 15 metres of inflatable snow people.

The East Oxford children’s hospice also hosted a winter wonderland village for competitors and those there to cheer them on, with everything from a stall selling hot chocolate and crepes to a mini ice rink and vintage fairground rides.

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Mark Fry, ran the race with his wife Jo and their children – six-year-old Joseph, three-year-old Elliott and 18-month-old Emily. He also spoke to runners before they set off to share why Helen & Douglas House means so much to him and his family.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Fry, who lives near Swindon, said the couple’s first born child, Charlie, died at the hospice in 2012, aged just 17 days.

He added: “Helen & Douglas was incredible, the staff couldn’t do enough for us while we were there with Charlie.”

The first runners set off at 11am, with the second wave following at midday.

Oxford Mail:

Among them was Toby Hutt who decided rather than presents to celebrate his 10th birthday he wanted to take part in the Frosty 5k with his family, who are from Chesterton near Bicester.

He said: “I really enjoyed the Frosty 5k particularly the fog zone. I wanted to take part in the Frosty 5k with my family instead of getting presents to help other local children who the hospice look after. I’ve had a great birthday.”

Oxford Mail:

A similar sentiment inspired three generations of the same family to take part in the run with Marie Gitlings, from Chalgrove, deciding she also wanted to do something different for her birthday.

She explained: “There’s six of us aged from three to 56 who’ve ran, including my daughter, daughter-in-law and grandson.

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“It’s the first time we’ve taken part but it’s my birthday today and I decided I wanted to give something back.”

Friends Karen McGuire and Heather Talbot, from Kidlington, meanwhile, took on the challenge with their children after winning a Red Kite Days competition to enter the race for free.

Oxford Mail:

Ms McGuire said: "It's been really well organised. We've done Park Run with the kids and this was something fun while raising money for a great charity."

The hospice tweeted thanks to all the Santas, adding: "By taking part in this event, you ensured we can be there to share the joy of Christmas with our families to help them cope over the Christmas period.

"We’re honoured to have your support."