Santa Claus is running to town! Annual Christmas run returns to Wigan next month

Santa will swap his traditional black boots for trainers as the popular Wigan Christmas Dash returns and a second similar event is held on the same day at Haigh Hall

Hundreds of people of all ages will get into the festive spirit as they wear Father Christmas suits for a fun run at Mesnes Park.

Competitors taking part in last years Santa dash in Mesnes Park. A second similar event will take place in Haigh Hall on the same day

Competitors taking part in last years Santa dash in Mesnes Park. A second similar event will take place in Haigh Hall on the same day

Entries are now open for the seventh annual event, which starts at 11am on Sunday, December 8.

Organiser Nick Abbott, from Orrell-based 8070 Events, said: “It’s a 5k fun run so people can run, walk or jog and bring their friends with them to get into the Christmas spirit.

“It’s not a serious race, it’s something fun and helps to get people out and promote healthy living.”

The event will start next to the statue of Sir Francis Sharp Powell and participants will complete five 1km laps of the park.

They will be able to don Santa suits, which are available in child and adult sizes, and festive music will be played.

Once they cross the finish line, everyone will receive turkey sandwiches and mince pies, as well as either mulled wine or water.

More than 350 people took part in last year’s dash and organisers hope even more will sign up this time.

People can raise money for causes close to their heart if they wish, with hundreds collected last year for Three Wishes - the charity for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust - as well as other good causes.

On the same day, Wigan Samaritans are organising a Santa Stroll, which will see people of all ages walk 7km through Haigh Woodland Park.

They will all be dressed as Father Christmas as they get into the festive spirit and support the charity, which provides a listening ear for people needing someone to talk to.

The new event takes place at 10am and will be followed by a Christmas family fun day being held at the park later that day.

Entry for the Santa Stroll costs £10 and people are asked to sign up before November 20.

The price includes the Santa suit, which can be collected from Wigan Samaritans, on Upper Dicconson Street, on two open days.

Register at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/santa-stroll-tickets-74613836995.

Wigan Christmas Dash is open to people of all ages and does not have chip timing, as it is a fun run.

Entry costs £8 for under 10s, £15 for children aged 16 and under, and £20 for adults aged 17 and over. This includes the Santa suit and refreshments at the end of the event.

If there are spaces left, registration will be available on the day, costing an extra £5.

To sign up or find out more, go to www.christmasdash.co.uk.