Record-breaking race as Santas paint Leeds city centre red

The Santa Dash in Leeds.
The Santa Dash in Leeds.
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HUNDREDS of festive fundraisers ran through the streets of Leeds in a record-breaking charity race.

Runners donned their best festive attire for the biggest ever Santa Dash, which is now in its ninth year.

Benjamin Hayes, aged two, takes part in the Santa Dash.

Benjamin Hayes, aged two, takes part in the Santa Dash.

The annual event raises thousands of pounds for Leeds-based St Gemma’s Hospice and sees fundraisers race around a course through the city centre dressed as Santa or his elves.

Charlotte Andreson-Hughes, event fundraiser at St Gemma’s Hospice, said: “It was funny to see 700 Santas running around.

“Shoppers were looking around and asking what was going on.

“It felt really festive and there was a lot of Christmas spirit.

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“It was the biggest ever Santa Dash we’ve had – with 667 people taking part.”

Crowds clapped and cheered as runners set off from the starting line near WH Smiths on Lands Lane this morning.

Runners of all ages and abilities can take part in the race, with routes between 1km and 5km, as well as a wheelchair and pram-friendly course.

Charlotte added: “We’re hoping to raise £16,000, which will go directly towards patient care.

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“It costs £25,000 a day to run the hospice so this money will really help, especially over Christmas.

“It will be the 10th anniversary of the Santa Dash next year.

“We are going to try and get 1,000 people to come and join in.”

St Gemma’s Hospice is based in Moortown and provides specialist medical and nursing care for local people with life-limiting illnesses and support for their families and carers.

Sisters Fraya and Orla from Leeds.

Sisters Fraya and Orla from Leeds.

Care is provided free of charge to patients and their families.

For more information about the hospice or to take part in next year’s Santa Dash, visit the website at www.st-gemma.co.uk.

Alternatively, you can also go to www.facebook.com/st.g.hospice or follow the hospice on Twitter @stgemmashospice.

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