The Christmas Pudding Dash

Oops this blog is a little late, Christmas kind of got in the way of me wanting to write anything, but here we are, my last blog, about my last race of 2015, a year that was supposed to see me race much less, but ended up almost as crazy as last year – but not quite!

The Christmas Pudding Dash was a 5mile cross country run around Ashburnham place near Battle, and included chip timing, however my husband and I were treating this as a fun run, and since the organisers said that fancy dress was encouraged, we embraced this and got ourselves some elf outfits for the occasion. Race packs were sent out in advance so their was no need for us to register, and when we arrived we ran into some friends also dressed up, Lee Haines and Zander Clayton, and we banded together to take on the run.

 

Three elves and a pudding
Three elves and a pudding

The run was almost entirely on trail, with only a few concrete paths to negotiate, and the trails were very muddy, meaning that trail shoes were the order of the day. The run was mainly nice and flat, but there were a few hills thrown in for good measure as well.

Running
Running

The course was made up of a 2.5mile loop, which you did twice, starting near the main house then heading out into the woodland and countryside around Ashburnham. It was a really pleasant run on what had turned out to be a lovely day in December. After finishing the second loop it was across to the finish line to pick up a festively themed medal, a Christmas pudding and a minced pie.

Finished
Finished

This was a really fun little run, and one I will certainly look to doing again next year.

Jedi Challenge Virtual Run – What’s the Virtual Point?

For the 6th time this year I’ve run a virtual race, and since I have run all of these in the same place, and there is only so many ways I can talk about running around similar routes in Alexandra Park, I’m taking a slightly different tack with this blog, by talking more about why I’ve found myself doing these, rather than focusing solely on the run itself.

In case you are unsure, a virtual run is where you sign up to run a certain distance, often with different conditions attached, but you do it in a place and at a time of your choosing, you then submit the evidence in the form of photographs and your route recorded on a GPS device. For your trouble you get sent a shiny new medal through the post, sometimes with additional goodies as well.

Virtual Run Bling: Muddy Race, Nuclear mission 1, Top gun Run, Run into Spring and Muddy Duck
Virtual Run Bling:
Muddy Race, Nuclear mission 1, Top gun Run, Run into Spring and Muddy Duck

But is this all not just us rewarding ourselves for going for a normal run? Why bother? Do we deserve a shiny bit of new bling just for trotting around the park or wherever? Well I can’t talk for everyone but first and foremost for me is that the entry fee for these races, for the most part, includes a donation to charity and it seems like a good way to raise money for good causes. It also actually encourages me to go out and run a certain distance. I’m not always very good at motivating myself to get out and run, I go through phases where I run a lot, but often I’ll find any excuse not to go and unless I’m made to then I tend to take the lazy option and stay at home. They can also be made to be really good fun, especially if you can find a group of people to do them with, and if that wasn’t enough, finally the bling is usually pretty awesome too!

Now I’ve actually had this Jedi Challenge medal for quite some time, but a series of boring circumstances meant that it got put off, put off again and then pushed to one side, but I decided it was about time to go out and earn the medal that has been sat in a draw for months, so I decided to take myself for a 5km run around the park on the day the new Star Wars film hit the cinemas. I also stole one of my geeky husbands Star Wars themed T-shirts to try and make a bit more of an effort!

My run
My run

So I ran, getting myself out of the flat, off the sofa and getting some much needed exercise just before Christmas, as well as knowing that signing up to this run has helped to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (US based charity) and I can now finally display my medal on my overflowing medal holder. Seems like a good deal to me.

Jedi Challenge 2015 Medal
Jedi Challenge 2015 Medal

Downland Devil 9

A last minute sign up, to put off going Christmas shopping saw my husband and I travelling an hour or so out of Hastings to run the Downland Devil 9 run put on by the Worthing Striders running club.

This run is 9 miles cross country on farmland at Church Farm, that is not usually open to the public. The terrain is hilly, very hilly, the tough uphill sections made up for by some fantastic downhill running.

People gathering at the start
People gathering at the start

The race started you straight up the side of a hill to kick off the 9 miles of trails over the farmland, you then proceeded to run up and down several more hills, some with a fairly gentle gradient, and others that reduced most people (including me) to a walk, these uphill sections were well rewarded with some nice flat sections and some downhill sections that really allowed you to get up some speed.

Some views from up heigh
Some views from up high

For the first 4 miles or so I seemed to be struggling a bit with cramp, but after that subsided I started to really enjoy myself, hubby however found his knee giving up, so between us we probably made up one fully functioning runner. We stuck together though, well, until the very final decent downhill to the finish where I took off and zoomed down to the finish to collect my race mementos, which turned out to be a Worthing Striders drawstring bag containing a Downlands Devil 9 mug.

With Phil at the finish
With Phil at the finish

This was a great run that was challenging but fun to complete and I would certainly give it a go again in future years.