In pictures: Thousands of Santas run in Scotland

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THOUSANDS of Santas spilled into the streets of Scotland’s two largest cities to take part in charity fun runs today.

• Organisers “delighted” with turnout

Santa Run in Princes Street Gardens West. Picture: Greg Macvean

Santa Run in Princes Street Gardens West. Picture: Greg Macvean

• Congolese Gillet Gaelo won the Glasgow race

Around 2,500 people ran the 5k Santa Dash in Glasgow, while a further 1,200 put on their red-and-white suits and trainers for the Great Edinburgh Santa Run.

Organisers of both annual events said they were delighted with the turnout.

In the capital, a mass Zumba session was held for the Father Christmases in West Princes Street Gardens to get the participants warmed up for the 1.5k race.

The bearded runners were encouraged to bring along their own “Santa’s Little Helpers” and a number of children dressed up as elves were also spotted in the crowd.

The winner of the Glasgow race, which started and ended in George Square, was Congolese Gillet Gaelo, who ran it in under 20 minutes.

He said it was the first time he had taken part in a race dressed as Santa Claus.

Glasgow City Council’s nominated charity was Malawi Leaders in Learning, which supports schools in the African country, but participants were free to choose who they wished to raise funds for.

Money raised at the Great Edinburgh Santa Run will go to the children’s charity When You Wish Upon A Star, and is to be used to send Scottish youngsters with life-threatening illnesses to Lapland.

Nickie Gott, managing director of Edinburgh event producer She’s Gott it!, said: “Every year, the sight of hundreds of Santas running through West Princes Street Gardens really takes my breath away.

“The Great Edinburgh Santa Run is a fantastic event and it’s amazing to see so many ‘Santas’ pulling on their trainers in the name of such a great charity.”

Margaret Rowarth, Scottish appeals manager for When You Wish Upon A Star, said: “I’m always astounded by the number of people that come out on a cold Sunday morning in December to support our cause.

“We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support we receive and all the money raised will go towards taking brave children to Lapland.

“I would like to thank the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh’s Christmas producers, She’s Gott It!, and all our volunteers for their efforts in organising another successful Santa Run.”

Glasgow Lord Provost Sadie Docherty said: “The Santa Dash has become a hugely popular date in the city’s festive calendar and, when you see that great sight of thousands of red hats bobbing along the street together, it’s not hard to work out why.

“People of all ages - and fitness levels - take part together; everyone gets into the spirit of the event and everyone does their bit for charity.”