Over 1,700 Santa’s turned out on a glorious Sunday, raising money for over 80 charities and good causes in the process.
Treble winner May took to the stage on the Old Trafford forecourt at 11.30am to start the 5K Santa Run on a route which takes runners past the sights of the Imperial War Museum, The Lowry and MediaCityUK.
Following in the footsteps of United legend Denis Irwin the previous year, May took part in the event himself, joining families in the 2K race before crossing the finish line outside the Theatre of Dreams.
May commented: “The Foundation do an absolutely amazing job, I’ve been involved in a few of their events it’s great to be here at another one today. It’s an absolutely glorious day for it.”
Other Christmas activities taking place around the stadium included a brass band playing favourite festive tunes, ASH street dance crew performed ahead of each race and Father Christmas was giving out early Christmas gifts in his grotto.
Having received treatment at The Christie for the last seven years, Charlotte Ward, was one of 320 runners fundraising for the Manchester based cancer charity: “'There's a great sense of community spirit about this event and from a personal point of view, I feel a great sense of pride lining up with the runners today, especially my daughter, Isabella. It has taken seven years to get to this point and this is the first opportunity i've been able to give something back to The Christie. It's a way of showing my appreciation for all their help and support over the years, through such challenging times. They do an amazing job and I feel very fortunate to have such a specialist centre, with their expert input, involved in my care.'”
Ball assistants Kelly and Zainab both attend Foundation partner schools and decided to take part in the event to give back. Kelly said: “The Foundation have given us such brilliant opportunities, to be pitch-side at every match working as a ball assistant is something very special and this is our way of giving something back.”
Celebrating a special tenth anniversary of the festive event, Manchester United Foundation CEO, John Shiels said: “For me, Christmas doesn’t start until we do the Santa Run; it’s a great uplifting event.”
He added: “It's great charitable event because it's something people do off their own back, it helps charities raise the funds they desperately need. The charitable sector is really hard at the moment and events like this show Manchester United Foundation giving back to the heart of the local community.”