Thousands of runners in Santa outfits took part in Madrid's 'Santa Claus Race 2021' run on Sunday. | Youtube: Ruptly

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Thousands of people dressed as Santa Claus took part in a charity run through Madrid on Sunday to raise money for people affected by a three-month volcanic eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma.

Decked out in classic red and white outfits, the runners set off in a flurry of fake snow along the Paseo de la Castellana, a major boulevard through the city centre.

Some runners swapped Santa's traditional red trousers for more sporty shorts, while many wore face masks as a coronavirus precaution.

"You have to try to be careful, especially close to Christmas," said Teresa, taking part with her colleagues, who were all wearing face masks.

Thousands of people have been evacuated, at least 2,910 buildings have been destroyed and banana plantations have been devastated on La Palma, an island in the Canaries. The Cumbre Vieja volcano began spewing streams of molten lava in September, but scientists said last week the eruption could be coming to an end.