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Thousands take part in epic Santa race in heart of St. Petersburg (VIDEO)

Thousands take part in epic Santa race in heart of St. Petersburg (VIDEO)
Thousands of people took part in a Russian charity race of Santas, with competitors dressed in their finest Father Frost gear dashing past St. Petersburg’s palaces and busy central streets.

Racers young and old ran about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) starting at the Central Palace Square for the mass dash on Saturday. A sea of runners dressed in white beards and red Santa suits took off and ran past the square’s magical New Year’s tree and into the central streets, where traffic was halted for the occasion.

The colorful charity event, held for the third time and set to run annually, attracted crowds of bystanders. Hundreds donated to take part and get into the Christmas spirit in a special way.

Even for those unable to be in the lavishly decorated center of St. Petersburg there was an option to participate “online” – by registering your own little run elsewhere and verifying it with data from a GPS tracker.

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