Athens.- Five thousand people participated in the fourth annual “Santa Run” held in Chania, on the Aegean island of Crete, on Saturday, to support children with health issues.
The Santa Run organisation collaborated with the Region of Crete, the municipality and its agencies and NCOs devoted to the welfare of children in Chania.
Despite the unstable weather, there was a large turnover of spectators as well, who sampled sweets and chocolates by local store owners. Fifteen music producers in the city had ensured that there was music along the run’s path.
The run – actually a walk in Santa Claus costume – was first held in Chania in 2011, when 400 “Santa Clauses” participated. In 2012 their number rose to 1,500 and in 2013 to 3,000. The run parodies similar runs held in other cities in December. There is no time-keeping or ranking of winners, and Santas stop along the route to treats. A party was held at a local high school at its end.
In northwestern Ioannina, fewer but braver Santa look-alikes are facing stiff temperatures to race three kilometres in the city, to support the purchase of Braille machines for the blind and equipment for athletes with handicaps.
Their run – for which they each pay 10 euros to participate – will culminate in a party at the Ioannina main square.