Picture slideshow: Southsea’s Santa run

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Portsmouth turned into a sea of red on Sunday as thousands of Santas descended upon the city.

The annual Santa Fun Run returned once again – and in record-breaking fashion, with the biggest turnout in its eight-year history.

A team of runners before the start of Sunday's Santa Run

A team of runners before the start of Sunday's Santa Run

Families, keen runners and their four-legged friends walked, jogged or scooted their way along Southsea seafront – to raise cash for the RNLI and The Rowans Hospice.

People of all ages took part in the 5km and 10km runs, donned in red and sporting white beards.

James Bryan was the first to cross finishing line, completing the 5km route in just over 20 minutes.

The 15-year-old, from Winchester, was stunned by the result. ‘I couldn’t believe it,’ he said.

‘I stepped in to run the race for my brother Will who had a hockey tournament to go to – it was a last-minute thing.

‘I never thought I’d win though. It’s a brilliant feeling.’

There were plenty of families taking part in the 5km.

Tim Macfarlane, 32, was competing against his 11-year-old nephew, Cory, from the Isle of Wight.

Speaking at the finishing line, a sweaty Tim, of Yarborough Road, Southsea said: ‘It was a sprint finish by Cory who just beat me.

He added: ‘This was our first time here. I’ve done the Great South Run before.

‘It was really surreal seeing so many Santas but it was a great experience. Everyone was so supportive.’

Cory, who has competed in six Junior Great South Runs, added: ‘It’s all been about having fun. It’s been great.’

Husband and wife Paul and Helen Harris ran with their two children, Oliver, six, and William, eight.

Helen, of Fareham, said: ‘Today’s been great for getting into the festive spirit. There was a real sense of camaraderie.’

Keen footballer William, who ran with his mum, added: ‘I was really puffed out when I finished but I only stopped twice.’

The route took runners of the 5km along the promenade to Clarence Parade and back towards the finish line at the Pyramids Centre.

The 10km runners went in the opposite direction towards Eastney before heading to Clarence Parade.

Organiser Robert Piggott was thrilled with this year’s turnout. He said: ‘This is our eighth year and the event has just grown and grown. This year we’ve had just over 2,000 people come, which has been a record-breaker.’

The event raised £2,500 for the RNLI, and The Rowans Hospice is also set to benefit from the race, with many runners backing the Purbrook charity.

Robert added: ‘This is such a special event, people really love being a part of it.’