A RECORD number of participants clad in red enjoyed the 10th annual Great Santa Fun Run around Skipton on Sunday.

In total, 1940 keen entrants set off from the high street surrounded by festival stalls and ready to tackle the new route.

Among them was 23-year-old Esta Watson, from Ingleton, who completed the course in her manual wheelchair.

She has raised over £500 for her charity the Horse and Pony Protection Association (HAPPA) at Burnley.

Esta’s mum, Ruth Watson, said that the event had been marvellous for Esta in being able to take part and the boost given to her by recent publicity spurred her on to complete the course and raise money for her animal friends.

She says she can’t wait to do it again next year. Esta has autism and finds herself becoming easily overwhelmed in some situations. Being around the horses and ponies has a calming effect for her.

Despite now using a powered wheelchair, she wanted to challenge herself to use a manual chair to raise money for HAPPA.

Elsewhere, the town was once again turned bright red as runners wearing special Santa outfits for the occasion, took to the course bedecked in tinsel and Christmas lights.

There was also more than a smattering of antlers and coloured stocking, with several taking their similarly adorned pets along for the run.

Streams of Santas poured across the start gate in a series of staggered starts to help reduce congestion later down the course.

Unfortunately, the canal tow path from Belmont Bridge to the entrance to Aireville Park, which was the route taken last year, was closed for renovations and the route was diverted along Broughton Road.

This year the course passed through new terrain, Skipton Woods, to give runners more space and allow many of them to see this arboreal gem near the centre of Skipton for the first time.

Santas good naturedly tackled this new section along with the occasional “Santa Jam” at the top part of the wood.

Course finishers were awarded with a completion medal and a chance to rehydrate with a well-deserved drink.

After the last Santa had crossed the finish line many stayed to enjoy the day’s convivial atmosphere, visit the seasonal stalls and attractions while awaiting the Christmas lights switch-on at 4p.m and enjoy entertainment laid on by Skipton Town Council.

The event, which has now been going on in town for a decade, was organised by the Rotary Club of Skipton Craven and was enjoyed by spectators and entrants in equal measure.

Rotarian Colin Hargreaves, event committee chairman said: “We are very proud to have been organising this event for 10 years. The principal purpose of the run is to raise monies for charities through the run’s registration fees without the need to find additional sponsorship, although many entrants do this also.

“To date approximately £300,000 has been raised for good causes and we hope this year will be a bumper one as we had five per cent more runners.

Last year the race had two special entrants in Wendy and Alex Griffin who, dressed in festive attire, started the race and veered off to the registry office part way through to get married.

They then rejoined the race as a newly-married couple before later having their marriage blessed at Holy Trinity Church.

The rotary club said it wanted to offer grateful thanks to all that took part and to those who helped make the event possible including Skipton Town Council, Skipton Bid, sponsors, local rotarians, their family and friends, local bands, the Sue Ryder Charity (Manorlands), media friends including Drystone Radio and the Craven Herald, and helpers from the newly formed Friends of Skipton Craven Rotary.