Places in an annual event which sees hundreds of Santas running to raise money for charity have gone on sale.

The Swindon Santa Fun Run 2017 will see an expected 500 runners donning their Santa suits for a 5km run through Lydiard Park.

Organised by the Rotary Club of Swindon Phoenix, the run will raise money for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance – who they have supported since the first run in 2012 – and the Swindon Down's Syndrome Group, an independent charity supporting people with Down's Syndrome.

With applications already open, the organisers are urging people to book their place, as the event is limited to just 500 people.

Organisers say that the event is open to all abilities, with advertising saying: "You can run, you can walk, you can jog, you can even bring your dog!"

The day will start with a Zumba warm-up, returning following its popularity last year, between 10.45am and 11am, before the main event begins.

Already dressed up, with Santa suits, hats and race numbers all available to collect from 9.30am, the runners will then set off on a 5km course, though a 3km alternative is available for those who have a pushchair, small children or who cannot manage the full distance.

The event usually raises around £5,000-£6,000.

Last year, around 400 runners took part in the event, making it one of the biggest events so far, with half the proceeds going to the Swindon Carers Centre. But with a regular event in Coate Park cancelled this year, organisers of the Lydiard Park event expect the number to grow again.

2016's Zumba warm-up was led by Wilbur, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance mascot, six-foot bear wearing a helicopter flying suit and a Christmas hat.

He bounced around to the music until all the runners were ready to go, then the surprises continued as the air ambulance helicopter performed a flypast and a swooping turn in an acknowledgement of the support the event gives to the charity.

Other entertainment in previous years included 2015's Swindon rock choir, when money was raised for the North Wiltshire branch of Breast Cancer Now.

Tickets are priced at £15 for adults, £7 for younger runners, £5 for children and free for infants, and dogs on a lead are welcome. To buy tickets, visit or email Paul Parfrey at email