MORE than 200 Santas of every shape and size — plus some reindeer dogs — created a festive spectacle at this year’s annual Santa Dash in Ryde held in aid of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.
The annual fundraiser is a popular event for all ages and sees participating Santas run, jog, or walk five kilometres from Ryde Superbowl along the town’s Esplanade to Appley and Puckpool Park and back again.
So far, the event has raised more than £2,700 with sponsorship yet to be received.
This year’s challenge on Sunday took place in perfect, sunny, yet seasonably chilly conditions and the Santas were given a warm send-off from onlookers and supporters.
The first Santa through the finishing archway was Nigel Eldridge who completed the course in 23 minutes.
The first female runner was Eilidh McCabe, 15, who finished in 27 minutes. Fergus and Freya McCarthy, seven and 11, were the first children through in 30 minutes.
Among the runners, there was one mystery Santa, Triathlete Liz Dunlop, who earlier this year won gold at the European Sprint Championships in Lisbon. She was cleverly disguised as she took on the course. Liz, who is a member of the Wight Tri Club, has recently been named as the Wight Tri Female Triathlete of the Year.
Dani Johnson, community events fundraiser, said: "What a great morning. Thank you to all who took part and also to all those volunteers who helped pull this event together on the day.
"It’s a lovely end to the fundraising year. Don’t forget to get your sponsorship in, read for the prize draw on December 16."
Nigel Hartley, hospice chief executive who started the race said: "It was a great atmosphere down on Ryde seafront and we are really grateful to everyone who turned out to make the Santa Dash such a great success."