Sportsister joined 1,200 runners on December 11to take part in the 5th annual festive DSUK London 6k Santa Run at Battersea Park. The Santa Run is organised to raise funds for Disability Snowsport UK, a national charity helping people with disabilities to access the thrill of snowsports.
The event was suppose to take place on Saturday December 4, but due to adverse weather conditions from a combination of freezing temperatures and sleet which created black ice, event organisers 2:09 decided that for runner’s safety and enjoyment the event would be postponed to the following weekend. Despite the change of date, hundreds of runners turned up to collect their Santa suits and quickly Battersea Park filled up with lots of jolly Santas!
The race distance was a manageable 6 kilometres, with the option to run, walk or wheel your way around. There were runners of a variety of abilities and ages, allowing families to participate together dressed as Santas with some of the more creative persuasion arriving in reindeer, elves and Christmas pudding running outfits. One family even brought the family dog along with his doggy Santa costume to run too.
The course is an easy two loops around the perimeter of Battersea Park. It utilises the nice wide paths around the park, with the option of running on grass next to it. Each kilometre was clearly displayed along the route and marshals were stationed at every step of the course to guide you along your merry way.
It is a nice flat course with no hills so perfect for beginners, and also wheelchair friendly which was very important as Disability Snowsport UK wanted to make the event accessible to as many people as possible.
There were areas where the paths met roads that were still in use, however there was very little traffic and this was all controlled by marshals who gave priority to the runners.
Taking into account that the event was postponed and consequently held on a different day, there was still a huge amount of jolly, happy Santas around the park. There were plenty of Christmas shoppers taking a break to support the runners and their families, providing festive cheer and support that made the event a success.
The build up to the event ,which involved registration and collecting your Santa suit, was simple and quick. Whilst getting into your ‘one-size-fits-all’ Santa suit, there were a variety of Christmas songs blaring out the speakers and photographers to take your picture with friends and family.
We then made our way to the start area which was all clearly marked and were led by enthusiastic instructors to warm up Christmas-style through gentle aerobic movements and free-style festive dancing.
The start was moderately organised into predicted running time kilometres, such as the front group below 6 and 7 minute kilometres, 7 to 8 minute, and 9 plus with walkers at the back.
After the race finished, everyone received their medals from Paralympic athlete Tim Farr from the Disabled Ski Team, and a well deserved power bar and vitamin water. There was then a small ceremony for the top three male and female runners.
Would I do it again?
Yes, I think I would. Even though it is possible to do the event on your own and still get a lot of enjoyment out of it, I think it does help to be with a group of people whether it be family or friends as it adds all the more to the Christmas experience.
- Nice uplifting and inspirational atmosphere seeing the paralympic athletes and knowing you are helping to raise money for a good cause (Giving – which is what Christmas is all about!)
- Nice easy course that is manageable for a variety of abilities and ages, which makes it a good choice for a family that has to cater for adults and children.
- Great location in central London with good transport access. You can easily combine the run with some Christmas shopping.
- Put runners in fancy dress and suddenly a run around the park becomes ten times more fun.
- Participants are welcome to run, walk or wheel their way round – as the course is wheelchair friendly.
- No timing chip, which means you have to time yourself. However they do make it clear that they have removed this feature from the event to reduce entry costs and allow more money to go to DSUK.
- The route being a double loop does mean that you are not discovering any new scenery past the half way point, however it does give you the chance to catch up with the walkers who provide some great support which you can reciprocate.
- Part of the routes did cross roads with traffic, even though there was very little and it was marshalled it still caused a slight distraction.
Want to give it a go?
The Santa Run is organised to raise funds for Disability Snowsport UK, a national charity helping people with disabilities to access the thrill of snowsports.
Children and adults with a range of disabilities including cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, visual impairment and autism can access programmes across the UK to enable them to make friends, improve their confidence and have fun through a sport which they would otherwise be excluded from.
If you are interested in entering for next year’s event please visit the race organisers website at www.209events.com. If you need a training plan to get you started click here to download the Sportsister 5KM plan.
Clarissa Goodwin, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine