London Mysteries: can you solve the riddle of the Running Santas?

Posted at 12:30 pm, December 19, 2011 in Arts & Entertainment

Each week we solve one of London’s great mysteries (as submitted by you, the reader). This week Lawrence from Greenwich asks: ‘On December 4, I was out walking with some friends in Greenwich Park when hundreds of Santa Clauses suddenly appeared over the horizon and made a mad dash across the park. Was I hallucinating?’

And as a Christmas treat, here is the mystery solved:
Don’t worry, Lawrence, you’re not seeing things. What you witnessed was the Do It for Charity London Santa Run, where people representing hundreds of good causes, from Amnesty International to the Cancer Recovery Foundation, run 5km to raise money for a good cause – while dressed as Santa. The race has been confusing and delighting onlookers in Greenwich Park since 2007. This year, more than 2,000 people donned Father Christmas’s red-and-white garb (a few opted for reindeer outfits) to raise more than a quarter of a million pounds. The event seems to have captured the nation’s imagination because www.santadash.co.uk lists more than 200 UK Santa Runs taking place this year in the  lead-up to Christmas. Entry fees start at around £20 and usually include a Santa suit. In case there is anyone else out there questioning their vision or sanity after a multiple Santa sighting, there is also www.doitforcharity.com, which deals specifically with charity Santa Runs and other Christmas fundraisers, including parachuting, skydiving, climbing Kilimanjaro and walking the Great Wall of China. But if you’re still worried about strange sightings of men in red suits, maybe cut down on the mulled wine and eggnog. Laura Liddell

Got a London mystery you want unravelled? Tweet your queries to @timeoutlondon

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