I’ve been waiting a long time for this, but finally, after all those
months days of training, the big day has arrived. It’s time to dust of the beard, climb into a pair of oversized trousers and run/jog/shuffle your arse all the way along Hove seafront and back for a whole 5K of festive fun!
I’d never done a Santa Dash before, or any kind of organised run other than my local Parkrun, so I was pretty excited about the whole thing. I even remembered to borrow some safety pins from the First Aid Box at work so that I could pin my race number onto my Santa suit.
Needless to say, I woke up far too early and completely over hydrated before heading out. Fortunately, however, there are public toilets on route so I knew I wouldn’t be caught short.
I arrived about twenty minutes before the start of the race. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t have time to collect my Santa suit and get ready before the start, but as most people seemed to be already suited up and ready to go, I didn’t have to queue up or anything.
After wrestling with the trousers for about five minutes, I finally managed to tie the cord tight enough so that they wouldn’t fall down and attached my number to my suit. No one seemed to know if you were supposed to pin the number to the front or the back, but the general consensus was that it didn’t matter. I opted for the back for no other reason than it was easier to attach it before putting the jacket on.
So, with about five minutes to spare, I wandered around for a bit, did some stretches and found myself a spot near the back of the pack. I’m not sure how many Santas there were, but going by the numbers on people’s backs and fronts, I’d guess at least 500.
The atmosphere was very friendly and relaxed, and I was surprised to see that I wasn’t the only one running on my own. I had tried to persuade some friends and colleagues to join me, but no one was really up for it. Still, I didn’t mind. I actually enjoy running on my own and there were plenty of people to chat with before and after the race.
Before long, it was time to set off and we all started jogging slowly towards the start line where a small crowd had gathered to cheer everyone on. We all cheered and waved back as we crossed the start line and headed west along the seafront, passing more supporters and photographers as we made our way past the beach huts and up towards the lagoon.
To be honest, the whole thing was very surreal. Although I run this route every week, it seemed different somehow. It wasn’t just the fact that I was running with a few hundred people dressed as Santa; the whole atmosphere was fun and relaxed, making the route itself feel a lot easier.
Of course, I was probably going a bit faster than usual, and the legs were really starting to feel it by the final kilometre, but getting through the run wasn’t as much of a struggle as it sometimes is towards the end.
As the finish line approached, I was spurred on by the crowd which seemed to have grown larger and redder by the time I got there. I spotted the clock at 32:55, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a PB, but it didn’t matter. I picked up my pace as best I could and got myself across the line, where I was handed a bottle of ice cold water and a lovely shiny medal to wear with pride on the way home.
Of course, I didn’t go home right away. I hung around for a while, cheering on my fellow Santas, chatting to some of the other finishers and enjoying the cool sea air and warm friendly atmosphere.
As for my time, It was 33:15 on the clock, and 32:54 on my RunKeeper app (if I count from when I crossed the start and finish line). Either way though, it was the perfect way to start the weekend, and a great way to start of the Christmas season.
Here’s a little clip of this morning’s event. Look out for me in the red suit! 😉
Have you done a festive fun run? Please share your thoughts in the comments.