A Little Less Action a Little More Conversation…
And so to the end of the 2016 race calendar (27 races – a quiet year) and a Santa Run in Battersea Park with Jenni and Kaya, with Baz in tow. I had run a Santa Run before, and in Battersea no less.
I had sworn off them but then thought, why not? Let’s end the year on a festive note. I had already read somewhere of a London themed medal, possibly with Tower Bridge in the background, and had also enjoyed the costume theme this year so thought, why not pull out all the stops?
The Santa suit they issue is almost impossible to wear. It will not survive the race, and you see the flimsy belts on the floor before the first lap is complete and people holding the jacket closed from then. One size fits all? My arse! Last year the people who were not desperately holding their trousers up or their jacket closed wore their own costume. They went as reindeer, trees, presents, turkeys, elves. I considered all the options and then decided to go as…
Yes, you saw that right. I went as ELFIS PRESENTLY, simply known as ELFIS, a mash up that allowed me to wear red leggings, red shorts, a thin red top (so all easy to run in) with Elvis glasses, a cape (with ELFIS on the back – my handiwork) and a Santa hat to complete the outfit.
- This would be a 6K race. Although I thought it was 6 miles. And in the end it turned out to be 6.3K anyway.
- It was not timed.
- It was two loops of Battersea Park.
- I was dressed as an Elf Elvis impersonator.
- I had a pretty nasty stomach bug that meant that I had spent the entire morning other than the journey on the loo, and that I was unsure for most of it if I could get around without a trip to the bushes.
I met Jen at Victoria as Battersea Park is one of those places that is just annoying to get to. You need to really know your buses, have to get to Victoria first and then get the overground to Battersea Park station or, and what we did and I always do, get off at Sloane Square and then walk the straight shot to the bridge and into the park (20 mins).
This race you bring a form with your details and collect your number and one size fits all (my arse) Santa suit. It was organised by the 209 events crew who you may, or may not, know are a travel partner for the majors as well as other large overseas races. And to be honest I expected a little more from them. An old codger was rambling on insanely from the warmth of his car through a tannoy system that had so much feedback at times that a pod of whales started making their way up the Thames towards us.
Jen got her suit and I donned the costume, very soon experiencing the first annoying comment. “Oh,” said a French girl to our right, “it’s Where’s Wally?” No!!! I was not Where’s Wally?! I am wearing Elvis sunglasses and have the word ELFIS ironed on my red cape in large GOLD LETTERS. Just because I had a striped top. Grrrr!
The plan was therefore to 1. ignore the Where’s Wally? comments, 2. run together and 3. not poop myself inside out wearing tight red leggings. Kaya was going full outfit, including beard (very brave), Jenni opted for the Victoria’s Secret just top look, not trousers (very brave), and Baz just decided not to run at all (not brave). And so the three of us could jog/run at a constant pace, talking the whole way around.
And that is exactly what we did. Although Jen did download some Micky Bubbles (Michael Bublé) Christmas songs on the second lap, killing her phone, but giving us, and those around us (including 3 ladies dressed as oven ready turkeys, a sleigh pulled by reindeer, and the cheating winners (four guys on roller blades pushing another guy in a wheelchair – how was that even allowed?)) some yuletide cheer.
Cameramen were few and far between, although the photos were free on the 209 Events Facebook page, and Mark Fuckerberg owns the rights to them all now, for his private consumption.
How we did?
Well, my rectal shutter speed was (fortunately) not put to the test on the run. I managed to get to a pub by Vauxhall where we happily ate before by intestinal tract tried to vacate my body like a Trump campaign manager after yet another heinous racial slur from the orange one.
We didn’t time it, we only used Kaya’s timepiece to let us know how far we had gone. Although we did talk the whole way around which meant we were not pushing it in any way. It was a comfy 6 point something K.
Very disappointed with this. For £20 I expected more than a bargain bucket medal. I think I got this before from one of the virtual companies last year. Shame on you 209 events. £20 for a crappy medal and a one wear Santa suit? Anyway, let’s not get all Scrooge on it. It is what it is. It was fun to run with the girls, and I look forward to our paths crossing again in the future.
When you run your first Santa run in London it is a learning experience. You realise how crap the suit it, probably the medal, but the sight of a few hundred Santas bounding around a park is something to see. You notice those who are not following the crowd and second time around you don’t wear the whole costume, you do your own thing.
Would I run a Santa Run again? No
Would I recommend running a Santa Run? Sure, why not? Do it once, and then never again.
In the end it turns out this wasn’t the race I planned to run at all. That was the next day and run by Rob O’Hara and Elle, as I distinctly remember the medal being London themed (their’s had Tower Bridge on it) rather than the bargain bucket medal we ended up getting for this. Ho-ho-ho-hum.
MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!
UM BONGO KWANZAA!
See you in 2017 for a great year running!