So many Santas suit up for a jolly hot run
Run, Santa, run
Yosef Gemechu and Gemechu Woyechu cross the finish line. Photo: Jay Cronan
Red-suited and afterwards even redder-faced, a field of 967 Santas streamed out of Reconciliation Place on Sunday morning, running a five-kilometre course around the lake to raise money for sick children.
It was the Variety Santa Fun Run and those who donned the Santa suits were in for a tough slog, with the temperature at 9.30am already about 24 degrees.
The inaugural Santa run in the ACT surprised organisers with the huge response from locals.
''Other cities, when they ran their first Santa fun run a few years ago, they only pulled in about 400 to 500 people. Canberra has absolutely wowed the nation by giving us close on 1000 santas,'' event co-ordinator Jodie Herbert said.
Variety provides support for children with serious illnesses, special needs or those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Canberrans are at the top of the fund-raising Santa Fun Run leaderboard over other major cities. As of Sunday afternoon, more than $14,000 had been collected.
''Across NSW and the ACT, we're hoping to raise $150,000 net … the money will be used to buy wheelchairs, walking frames, nebulisers, insulin pumps, anything for a child … that the parents can't afford to do … and provided they meet our criteria, we'll fund that equipment for them,'' Variety chief executive David Small said.
The run also had the goal of topping Portugal's world record of 14,000 for the most Santas in a fun run. An achievable target, as the various runs throughout Australia are synchronised. However, the attempt didn't quite make it over the line, with just under 13,000 Santas taking part.
Children waiting patiently for the real Santa weren't disappointed - he arrived just in time to officially start the Canberra event, doing so in style by ditching the sleigh and opting for a motorcycle.