Hundreds of jolly Santas set off on an annual 4k run in Bicester this morning as the Eye of the Tiger played in the background.

The cold and rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of more than 450 runners dressed in red suits and white beards who joined the Sunday race to raise thousands for good causes.

Hosted by Bicester Town Council, the annual event is held each year to support the mayor’s charities.

This year they included Alexandra House of Joy, Nai’s House, OYAP Trust and Bicester Fire Cadets.

Bicester mayor Jason Slaymaker cheered the runners at Pingle Field as they arrived at the finish point.

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Oxford Mail:

He was unable to take part this year, but said that his deputy Nick Mawre was racing with his dog Bentley.

Mr Slaymaker said: “The event is important for Bicester as it brings everybody together at an important time of year.

“It is nice to get out on a Sunday morning and have a bit of fun together.”

Gold medalist at the Santa run was Edward Jolliff, a member of Bicester Athletics Club, who ran the lengthy distance in a little over 12 minutes.

Mr Jolliff was one one of over 20 club members to race at the event.

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Oxford Mail:

He was closely followed by team leader Paul Groves, who said he had already won the race more than five times and this year it was time to hand over to the younger generation.

The mentor said he was very proud of his team and how they have grown up over the years.

He admitted: “Now I’ve got to run harder and harder than ever before.”

Among other participants were the spectacularly-dressed women from Run Together, an informal running club that gathers people from Bicester and surrounding villages for social jogs.

The group of 20 was lead by Michaela Waddup, who is a qualified Coach in Running Fitness and certified GuideRunner for visually impaired athletes.

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Oxford Mail:

Ms Waddup said this is the sixth time she has joined the Santa Fun Run.

She added: “We are doing this for a bit of fun.

“Our group would do anything for a bit of bling (meaning the medal), a bit of a social and a bacon roll at the end’.

Many runners who took part in the challenge seemed to be motivated by the hot bacon sandwiches that volunteers were preparing for them at the end.

Some explained they were inspired by the Christmas spirit and wanted to feel part of the community, while others focused on fitness – like Bicester local Peter Deeley, who was joined by his wife Sarah, who said he was hoping to get rid of his 'festive belly' before the holidays.

Entry cost £10 per adult, £5 for children or £25 for a family ticket which includes two adults and two children.

It included a Santa suit, a participation medal and the famous bacon roll at the finish line.

One medic who followed the crowd of runners on his bike said: “I should have gotten dressed as a reindeer to chase after them all.”