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Liverpool Santa Dash tries to break world record as Christmas charity fun runs take place across country

Organisers in Liverpool called for 10,000 people to attend in a bid to beat their Las Vegas rivals

Thousands of people have taken part in fundraising Santa Dash events across the UK, collecting money for charity and kicking off the festive spirit for December.

The largest single event saw organisers of yesterday’s Liverpool Santa Dash call for 10,000 people to take part, in an attempt to take the world record from a rival event in Las Vegas.

Click here for images from the Liverpool Santa Dash

Team GB Olympic bronze medal-winning gymnast Beth Tweddle got the race underway – though could not take part due to a thigh injury.

Early estimates suggested the 5km run reached its target of 10,000 participants, comfortably beating last year’s attendance of 8,500. The city will have to wait until the US event on 7 December before it knows if it is a world record holder.

The official charity for the Liverpool event was Claire House Children’s Hospice. The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Gary Millar, told the Liverpool Echo: “It’s the people of Liverpool coming together as they always do to raise masses of money for charity.”

Ms Tweddle said: “I just love it. It signifies the start of Christmas.

“I think there’s a lot more people here this year. It’s a family event with kids, dogs, and pushchairs.”

Las Vegas race director Linda Smith told the newspaper: “Both ourselves and Liverpool are stretching our hands across the globe this festive period and I hope that other countries can follow in what we’re trying to achieve, which is to raise money for those causes who need our help and support.”

In total 30 Santa Dashes took place across the UK yesterday, including events in Belfast, Bromley, Folkestone, Rotherham and Windsor.

A further two were held in Dublin and Galway, while Japan also got involved with the Osaka Great Santa Run, according to the “Santa Dash Charity Fun Run Directory” website www.santadash.co.uk