If you have ever been to London in December, there’s a good chance you would have seen hundreds of Santas running around the city. Each year various charities promote ‘Santa Dashes’ to raise money, and after spending several Christmases in the capital and thinking “I wish I could do that” as be-robed St Nicks breezed past, I finally got my opportunity when my workplace organised its own Santa Dash in support of Brainwave.
The 5k run began at Old Spitalfields market, where we were registered quickly and handed our Santa costumes. Some costumes in our team were missing small bits, but when you’re about to run a hot and sweaty 5k in them, there’s a good chance you’re going to wind up discarding bits of the suit along the route anyway. We were then herded to the luggage storage area, where several volunteers tagged and stored our bags in their secure area. Afterwards, we were invited to wait for the warm-up exercises by Ten Health and Fitness, which featured a mixture of Christmas dances and stretching exercises. If you don’t mind looking a little silly it’s a fun way to get into the festive spirit, otherwise you might end up feeling a little awkward.
The route is one big circle, taking in the iconic skyscrapers of the City of London and its historic buildings, with the halfway point being St Paul’s Cathedral (which is also a picturesque stopping point for a team selfie). Signs were posted along the way to guide runners and marshals were placed at busy crossings, and maps of the route were distributed during registration. Despite these efforts though, it was still easy at times to get lost, especially when the general public would get involved with giving directions!
With hundreds of people taking part though, and people pouring out of pubs and restaurants to cheer you on, the overall event is exciting and easily the best way to get into the Christmas spirit. The finishing point at Old Spitalfields market, with its Christmas lights, goody bag, Santa medal and free beer awaiting you, is well worth the GBP 25 ticket price.
Most importantly though, the event is crucial for raising funds for small charities such as Brainwave, which provides support for disabled children and their families to gain access to treatments to help them walk, talk and generally improve their quality of living. The run fills you not only with Christmas cheer, but the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you helped make a difference to children’s lives at Christmas.
Overall, if you are looking for a serious run to beat your PB, then this isn’t the race for you. However if you want a festive and healthy way to celebrate the Christmas season with your friends, then Brainwave’s Santa Dash will jingle your bells.