The Santa Run returns to Dubai for the fifth year

Dubai residents dressed in their festive finest and competed to find out who was the fastest

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Dubai Festival City’s Santa Run has returned for its fifth year, with a marathon of Santas competing to reach the finish line first.

Putting on their Christmas finest, some participants arrived ready for the festivities at 7.30am — while others collected their costumes.

Adults and children alike dressed in full attire; some as bearded Santas, others as elves, and even a few tinsel-clad Christmas trees. Babies, meanwhile, reclined in strollers, decorated to resemble sleighs, while their parents lined up along the starting line.

With a “ho ho ho”, the runners took their places at the starting line at 8.30am, before darting off.

Organised by RaceME in association with Dubai Sports Council, the race was open to families, with children aged between four and 12 running for free. While the longest race spanned 5km, there were also 2.5km and 1km routes available.

The track stretched from Dubai Festival City Promenade towards the Festive Market at Dubai Festival City Mall, with views overlooking Dubai Creek and the city skyline.

Those taking part were handed not only a free Santa T-shirt, but a beard and Santa hat as well. For the most elite of Christmas cosplayers preferring to craft their own costumes at home, there was also a competition for the best dressed Santa — with a prize of Dh1,000 in gift cards. Parents, meanwhile, competed for the Best Santa Sleigh Rockets Stroller prize.

The runners completed the race to a cacophony of jingling bells, exhausted breaths and cheers from their families and friends in attendance.

Elsewhere, more than 200 participants also took part in the first-ever Festive Fun run at Ski Dubai. Part of the site’s Winter Wonderland, the race was also organised with Dubai Sports Council, stretched along two 400m and 1km racecourses in Ski Dubai — of course, with Santa in attendance.

Scroll through photos of Christmas tree lightings in Dubai and Abu Dhabi below

Updated: December 10, 2022, 1:13 PM