Is it still too early, perhaps? With only eight parkrun days before Christmas we have finally succumbed to the pressure and feel it is time to decide which of the many Santa Runs to enter during the 'run up' to the festive season this year.
The first appearance of the red-suited, black-booted, bearded benevolent in runABC South's comprehensive race listing seems to be Alzheimers Dementia Support Santa 5K Fun Run that takes place at Dorney Lake on 24 November, raising funds for people with dementia, their carers and families in the Windsor, Ascot, Maidenhead, Slough and Langley areas.
December is peppered with opportunities for men and women to dress identically as Santa Claus and to do some good while feeling good, sharing a common goal with hundreds of like-minded runners. There is something about donning the traditional outfit, included in the race entry fee, that makes the occasion feel extra special even if it is a run at a familiar distance on a regularly trodden course.
Some of the biggest Santa Runs are held in city centres and the occasion may be enhanced by crowds of shoppers who suddenly become extra supporters and the closed roads to run safely through often brightly decorated streets. Usual distances are 5K or 10K – any further could become arduous in the essential race outfit – while a few events offer either distance for their Santas to choose between.
One of the best examples is Nice Work race management's Gravesend Cyclopark Charity Santa Dash
on Sunday 15 December. Course records are 37:56 by Jonny Wells and 46:50 by Olwen Cockell in the 10K and 18:27 by Daniel Longhurst and 23:21 by Lisa Walker for the 5K run. The venue has excellent changing facilities, on site car parking, cafe and viewing area.
This is just one of at least 20 Santa-themed events in the runABC South area during the festive season and our advice is if you have never experienced the thrill of racing while trying to keep an errant beard in place, it is high time you signed up for your nearest Santa Run!