It was a running race with a difference, an annual Christmas tradition that saw some of Rotorua's finest Santas (and friends) run, jog or walk a few laps of the village green.

Wednesday's Santa Run was a national event, taking place in towns across New Zealand including Kerikeri, Coromandel and of course, Rotorua.

But it wasn't a simple walk in the park, with those brave enough to take part encouraged to run six laps of the course.

Race director Ben Alton was delighted with how many came to show support.

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"We had a great turn-out, 85 Santas, elves and reindeers," Altom said. "It was a good mix, we had one corporate which brought 22 people which was awesome!"

At its heart is a great cause, raising money for the Graeme Dingle Foundation - helping improve the quality of learning for primary and intermediate school students. It's only the second time Rotorua has hosted the event.

"We want to get into more schools," said Megan Kusabs, the foundation's regional manager.
"We need to do lots of fundraising so events like this are so important for our community, also for raising much-needed funds for our program as well."

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