Christmas fun runs are a fantastic way for all types of runners to come together in an event that is fun (hence the name), good for your health, gets you in the Christmas spirit and helps to raise money for various worthy causes. Maybe this year is the year for you to try it out for the first time or try to beat a previous year’s time!
Who Can Take Part?
The great thing about fun runs in general is that they aim to be inclusive. This means that almost anyone of any age and ability can take part. The runs often have the options of 5km and 10km distances and, if you have difficulties in running for the duration of either of those lengths, walking is also a possibility.
One of the great things about a Christmas fun run in particular is that they involve such a diverse range of people so, unlike competitive races, there’s guaranteed to be a grouping that you fall into. For this reason also, it’s a great opportunity for those of you wanting to try out your first organised run in an inclusive environment.
Different towns / cities will organise varying activities but many hosts will provide a good base of facilities for you prior to your run. You’re likely to have stations to ‘fuel up’ on various items from serious runners’ choices like glucose drinks / gels to non-serious runners’ drinks like coffee!
Baggage stores and changing / toilet blocks are, as expected, provided to get you set for the start whilst some venues will even organise group warm-ups to limber you up and put a smile on your face. More serious runners will make their way to the front for the start but many will group into blocks – i.e. the ‘natter as we go’ group, the ‘Instagram’ group waiting for a camera moment, the ‘first organised run’ group, the ‘not seriously running but now it’s started I’m getting competitive’ group (this was me) etc.
Upon your glorious finish you’ll likely be greeted with some applause and a cheer and you’ll also be in receipt of a finisher’s pack. This may be as basic as a water and piece of fruit but it could also contain several other items to help you recover in addition to a medal for your efforts! Some organisers might be generous enough to provide a little tipple of sherry (or something else Christmassy) during the proceedings…
What’s So Fun About It?
The atmosphere is the core part of the enjoyment during a Christmas fun run event. Many events will supply Santa Claus based clothing prior to the run and a few will even deck you out in full kit – trousers, t-shirt, jacket, hat and beard! The sight alone of an army of Santas spread across the horizon will put a smile on people’s faces and that positivity radiates throughout the venue.
In addition to the Christmas garb, many organisers will also drum up the atmosphere in their own way. My event had a full Christmas warm-up with a fitness instructor although other venues may arrange alternatives like festive music, interviews or bringing in local celebrities.
Whether you’re running or just supporting, it’s always good to get involved and the event will be fun regardless of the capacity in which you’ve attended. Christmas is always a great excuse to let your hair down and lose some inhibitions in terms of contributing to a fun environment.
Despite the run taking place in cold weather, you’ll get very warm during the event and, if you’re running competitively or dressed in full Santa suit (or both!), you’re going to get very hot! My challenge to you is that you finish the run in full gear, complete with Santa beard!
Who Does the Fun Run Help?
Different charities will be helped through different fun runs, so there are no set organisations throughout. Some organisers will link with a local charity and part of your money will get go towards them. For example, my local fun run this Christmas is working to help The Children’s Hospital Charity. Other venues may reduce the entry fee and invite you to administer your own sponsorship. Whilst this does make more work, you have the benefit of choosing your own charity.
How Can You Take Part?
Christmas fun runs are available in a great number of locations and can be found online with relative ease. However, Timeoutdoors website provides a very useful search feature wherein you can locate your nearest fun run – https://www.timeoutdoors.com/events/runs/fun-runs
For those of you who decide to get involved in a Christmas fun run this year – be it as a runner or a spectator with a sherry in your hand – then I hope that you have a wonderful time!