How fast can Santa run?
When, in late November, my friend Jan left a message on my Facebook wall, telling me that within 45 minutes of getting her message 500 Santa Clauses would be on the starting line in the middle of our forest, ready to run five kilometres, you can imagine my reaction.
“Kids!” I bawled unceremoniously, “You have precisely five minutes to be kitted out in hats, gloves, mittens and thick coats worthy of Sir Edmund Hilary. Hundreds of Santas are lined up on a starting line in the forest right now!”
As we drove past the supermarket there were tell-tale signs that something was afoot. One young Santa was pushing a push chair. Another had an expensive leather handbag slung over his shoulder. A third sported state-of-the-art running shoes.
Someone had planned this run and they were coming. A swarm of Santas, converging on the forest, a red and white army of affable bearded gentlemen.
Except it became quickly obvious that not all of them were gentlemen.
Ladies of all ages and sizes sported beards. It was a scene paralleled only by that wonderful Life of Brian sketch. You know the one: Jewish stoning had to be carried out by men, but the joke goes that the really bloodthirsty ones in Brian’s society were the women.
So they all dressed up in men’s clothes and beards, and tried desperately to talk in deep registers.
Today, these women might have beards, but they had only festive cheer and athletic prowess on their minds. I wondered fleetingly what it must be like to run 5k in a ticklish beard.
We turned into the car park, and against all the odds, we found a parking space. Had all these Santas really walked here from town, I ruminated?
There was no time to consider Father Christmas’s parking policy because the moment we got out of the car, all we could hear was a roar; the sound of five hundred Santas preparing for battle.
We followed our ears.
And nothing could have prepared us for the sight which met our eyes.
A sea of festive red and white. False beards the like of which you have never seen. Women, men, children, even dogs sported Santa suits, trimmed with fake ermine.
A voice emanated from a public address system in the marquee: “If you are a reindeer – that is, if you are running the race in under half an hour- will you please make your way to the starting line.”
The atmosphere was electric. You could cut it with a knife. The reindeer headed off, preening slightly.
My children sported broad grins as we weaved through the Santas towards the starting line. This was a photo opportunity, and both Felix and I had our cameras on hand. We would not miss this for the world.
Then someone squeaked: “Maddie! Felix!”
Santa had children, and they went to my children’s school. I turned and struck a conversation with their father, who at over six foot, towered imposingly, but with infinite good humour, over all the other Santas.
“There’s about double the Santas we had last year”, he confided happily. “And it was raining then. Beautiful weather for the run today!”
And it was. The sun dazzled amongst the leaves as children skipped round happily. The runners were urged to get into place at the bright red inflatable starting line.
And they were off. All human life was here. Every conceivable shape, size and gender and incarnation of St Nicholas: every age, some accompanied by their dogs. They all shot off, savouring those first vital minutes, finding their pace and rhythm, getting the breathing right, sorting out the itchy beards.
We clicked and clicked. We got shots of the Weasleys, freeze-frames of the front-runners, pictures of our tall Santa friend, Santas in sunshades, happy St Nicks every one.
As a jubilant Santa in a wheelchair completed the hectic procession, we heaved a satisfied sigh. Felix reflected that he had some amazing shots. December or no, this was a breathtaking beginning to our festive season.
And as we headed back to the car park, having wished the fleet-footed Father Christmases well, an announcer issued an interim message: ” Will the Christmas puddings on bicycles please report to the marquee.
“Christmas puddings on bicycles to the marquee, please. Thank you.”
This is a repost, as regulars will have ascertained by now….I have started confessing to this at the end, not the beginning, of the post. I find it is far more conducive to ratings.
50 thoughts on “The Running Santas”
I’m participating in my first Holiday 5K this year but it won’t be as red & white as this one. Next year, I hope to participate in a race where I can get the whole shebang!
Hi! We’ll look forward to the false beard pictures immensely next year 🙂
Now that is a fun run! I have never run in a Christmas race, but ran in several Turkey Trots years ago :-). A running tradition here in the U.S. on Thanksgiving. Run a 5K in the morning and then go home for a huge holiday meal.
Sounds ideal to me, Steven…
Glorious! Is this an ‘only in England’ type of event, Kate, do you think? I do hope you turned back to shoot the Christmas puddings … 🙂
😀 No, I was all Santa’d out by then. It was a chilly morning, Wanderlust…. excuses, excuses….
Alright, I undertstand, but christmas puddings on the move … 🙂
I know, I know….
They have a Santa run in Las Vegas too. And I believe another one in England, farther north.
I’d love to see the pics from that, Nancy. Santa and Vegas. What a combo.
Ahhh – that must be a sight to behold – Santas taking oer the streets of Las Vegas 🙂
one of a kind 😀
It was, Roger. Red and white as far as the eye could see.
It looks great. Even if it happened last year. 🙂 But surely, there is a race this year too. And Christmas puddings on bicycles, no photos of those?
*Hangs head* I didn’t get along this year, Banno. I shall now have to wait a whole year to get a picture of the Christmas puddings on bicycles…
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, and laying his finger aside his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose to prepare for his 5K
Mr Mello, you are a poet of considerable quality 😀
I shall teach that to the kids.
It was a lot of fun 😀
It seems Master Sgt. Shrew bellows orders like the best of them. Kitted out indeed! 😀
Quite, Rafael. One has to get one’s troops dragooned.
That’s a hilarious race! what a fun idea 🙂
It made a huge sum for charity, I believe, Lexy.
This post was new for me. Sounds like it was a real hoot!
A laugh a minute, Kate!
I demand a drugs test for the cycling Xmas puddings Kate!
I have a feeling you might have a figgy pudding scandal on your hands were that to take place, Jim!
Lance Armstrong has a lot to answer
How I love living in Britain! I just wish I lived nearer to all these mad Santas.
Good point about the reblog confession. I might follow suit.
It has worked rather well, Tilly!
All that running has left me feeling slightly shattered, Kate! All those Santas reminded me of the scene in Sister Act where Maggie Smith tells all the other nuns to ‘try to blend in’. Fun post!
That is such a classic film, Tom. I was a convent school girl: anything which makes nuns look funny is top of my favourites list.
I loved this then, I love it now. I only wish I could see this in person.
I should take a moving camera down there, Penny 🙂
Brilliant – like the Santa paws too 😉
Isn’t he gorgeous? There were quite a few of them around, nNcola…
Talk about a FUN run! 😀
It really was, Nancy 😉
I don’t think I’d ever stop laughing if I saw a zillion Santas running like that.
It took me a while, Weebles, but Sunday lunch waits for no man (or woman). The woman Santas were the best.
As it is the first time I’m reading this it makes no difference when you tell us it’s a repost. Lovely post Kate 🙂
Thanks, Tandy 🙂
This fantastic event just has to have an American counterpart at some point in time! This would be soooo much fun to witness…I might even like to don a Santa suit! Also, love your disclaimer at the end of the post, Kate. Clever to put the “repost announcement” at the end! 🙂 But this was entirely new to me!
GLad to hear it, Debra. Nancy says there’s one at Vegas and I’m sure I’ve heard of other Santa runs in the states. Your grandchildren would just love it!
I opened our local paper after reading this and would you believe it? Stockport has its own version. I never knew, but I’ll look out for it next year.
Maybe you should put this on LFB – no one has posted since the 2nd.
Ha! I shall look forward to next year’s pictures, Tilly! Just my thoughts about LFB. Will shorten and post.
What fun! Not sure how I’d react if I hadn’t had advance notice on a swarm of Santas running my way. Merry Christmas, Kate.