FATHER Christmas himself – or at least a top impersonator – is urging people to join him for the 2017 Santa Dash.

In fact the man behind the beard is Brian Waring at the finish line of last year’s event – but he's a dead ringer for his North Pole-residing chum.

Brian regularly takes part in Chester running events, including the Chester Half and Full Marathons and even the Boxing Day Round the Walls run.

He’ll be running with the Countess of Chester Hospital charity team again this year and remains the ‘VIP face’ of the Santa Dash.

Brian, who will be handing out medals this year, said: “Last year's event was fantastic.

“I hope this year’s attracts many more young and old fogies like me to run and support the Countess and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd.”

Kathy Kenney, community fundraiser at The Countess charity, added: “We are delighted to have the ‘real’ Santa running the Chester Santa Dash. We’d like to thank all those who make this event possible – Virgin money, Chester’s Dee 106.3, University of Chester and CWaC.

“You can sign up too and join Santa. You can choose to run or walk the 3.3 km route through Chester on December 3.

“The Dash starts at 10am along Castle Drive, near the Old Dee Bridge. Go to www.chestersantadash.com and follow the registration links.

“All money raised will be shared between The Countess charity, raising money to provide more for patients at the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Hospice of the Good Shepherd.”