Organisers of the annual Liverpool Santa Dash say the 2020 event is being cancelled due to COVID-19 – but a virtual run to raise cash for eight charities will still take place. Tony McDonough reports
This year’s Liverpool Santa Dash is the latest casualty of the COVID-19 crisis with the 2020 5k run now cancelled.
However, organiser BTR Liverpool says people will still be able to participate in a virtual event and raise cash for eight separate charities. This year will be the first time the dash has not taken place since it started in 2004.
Regarded as the city’s kick-start to Christmas, the Liverpool Santa Dash is the the UK’s biggest festive 5K fun run. Created by BTR race director Alan Rothwell, the event added a separate 1K Mini Dash for under 12s in 2007, and blue Santa suits were introduced three years later.
After working tirelessly and considering a number of scenarios with the ultimate aim of delivering the large-scale public event safely, BTR Liverpool say this is just not possible. The large number of participants, volunteers, event support teams, and staff members cannot be guaranteed a COVID-safe environment.
However, the virtual event will take place on Sunday, December 6, and will enable Santas to still pull on their running shoes and “dash” socially distanced with a small group of friends. Ad they will still earn the bespoke Santa Dash medal.
Mr Rothwell said: “Due to the size and scale of the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash, it is impossible to host event with social distancing restrictions in place. Although we are only in September, we have made the decision early so we can inform people as soon as possible about the changes for this year.
“The event is a real highlight of the year, both for participants and the BTR team, but we are living in unprecedented times. However, given the growing popularity in virtual running and the absence of live running events – to ensure our dashing Santas still get their festive fix, we are making the BTR Liverpool Santa Dash virtual for 2020.”
Eight charities will benefit from the virtual event with BTR Liverpool pledging to donate all profits to them. They are: Alder Hey Children’s Charity; Claire House Children’s Hospice; Clatterbridge Cancer Charity; North West Air Ambulance; North West Cancer Research; Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation; Wirral Hospice St John’s; and Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.
BTR Liverpool’s other events include the BTR Liverpool Skyline Half Marathon; BTR Mersey Tunnel 10K; BTR Port Sunlight 5K and 10K; and 52-mile BTR Tour Of Merseyside.