751The London Santa Run

The London Santa Run

London, Saturday 11th December 2010

Women’s Running editor Christina Neal decided to dress like a man for her latest run when she donned her Santa suit along with 1,200 other runners to take part in the annual Battersea Park Santa Dash
Chris Santa Dash
My husband summed it up perfectly when he said: ‘This isn’t a competitive race - we’re making memories and creating funny stories to tell.' He was spot on. You can’t take this race too seriously, unless you’re serious about having fun.The Santa Run, organised by 209 Events, was intended to raise money for disabled children who want to participate in winter sports. It had been postponed for one week due to icy conditions but this time we were more fortunate with the weather. The ice had melted and the temperatures felt distinctly warmer, edging their way to nearly five degrees by the time we arrived in Battersea Park at 9am. There was even a hint of sunshine!As the name suggests, the Santa Run involves all participants completing the 6K distance in Santa costumes, provided by the organisers. I’m not known for my love of fancy dress (something I always refuse to consider for office parties), but the Santa suits were fabulous, darling. They certainly raised more than a few smiles as 1,200 runners started pulling on the trousers, jacket, Santa hat and beard. Despite the huge waistline on the trousers, there wasn’t a thing I’d change about the suits. As we lined up at the start, everyone was in good spirits. Families with children and walkers with dogs had turned up despite the cold to cheer us on and the atmosphere felt distinctly festive.The race was several laps around Battersea Park and I ran with my husband Eddie and our running buddies Eric and Eva. We got separated a few times during the route and were amused to discover that finding each other when everyone looked the same was something of a challenge. The Santa suits provoked much amusement - one slim female runner dropped her trousers by accident during the first mile, while other runners stopped to adjust belts and remove their beards as they began to get hot.The nice thing about doing a race in December is that everyone is already in the festive spirit. One of my friends had spent the week partying, I had come down with a seasonal sniffle and others had simply mentally begun to wind down for Christmas. That meant the atmosphere was non-competitive and fun. It’s always good to remember that running can be enjoyable and doesn’t have to be serious all the time! In any case, the Santa suits didn’t exactly provide PB potential, but they kept us warm and we got to keep them at the end - a fantastic race souvenir and handy party outfit during the festive season too. We were also delighted to be handed medals - a nice touch, as the suits would have been ample rewards for our efforts. We were also handed free energy drinks and bars at the finish line - another generous touch for a fairly short race. The Santa Run does what it says on the tin - it’s fun, jolly and with a good dose of ho ho ho along the way, I’d urge you to sign up for next year! We had great fun venturing into our local café for eggs on toast afterwards in full Santa suits! (Well, some of us did, others were too modest...)
For more information on the Santa Run, visit www.209events.com or or www.disabilitysnowsport.org.uk


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