Standing at the start with freezing rain and strong wind, I began to wonder why at my age I haven’t learnt that sitting at home in front of a blazing coal fire tends to be more comfortable.   However the genuine Part Time elf from Loftus and Whitby AC and the Fake Father Christmas from Gateshead Harriers were duty bound to run this course in order to obtain the families Christmas pudding.

Once the gun went I did what most runners do that is I went off too fast the first 5K was close to my 5K PB, but it’s at 5K that the undulating turns into a steep climb that seems to go on for ever and so it was at this point that I realized keeping up with a club runner from Ambleside was more than a mistake it was utter stupidity, while she flew up this section I began to sound like someone with a severe case of asthma, and my pace fell off dramatically.  Luckily following the steep up hill there followed a long gradual down section then about 1Km of flat before climbing up and back to the “undulations”with only 2Km to go I began to get my second wind and when a father Christmas and a Mrs Claus drew up alongside I was not ready to go 2 more places down the order of finishers and managed to draw on the last of my energy to increase my pace beyond what i thought possible and the Welsh elf kept his place ahead of them.

The last 0.5Km is downhill and so is an easy finish apart from the last 50mtrs in the field, which was by now more of a swamp than a field.  Crossing the finish line was extremely satisfying; I’d done it despite the undulations, the headwind, the heavy showers of driving rain often making it difficult to see and the inclusion of the steep section that seemed to go on forever.

So a happy elf set off to get his Christmas pudding, which last year was a really nice family size one, but this year was a tiny individual, one, being handed to him? Surely this was not the pudding, well yes actually it was! What a disappointment, it was bad enough to find that parking in the really muddy field cost £5.

It may seem churlish to complain about the size of the pudding because although the course is challenging (more so with this years changes) it is a very friendly event. The marshals were terrific goodness knows how they managed to remain cheerful (and Vocal) despite standing out in real bad weather. It seems that this year there were new event organizers so maybe commercialism has crept in which the running club had resisted. Although, that said the new event organizers have said that they might review the puddings offered next year, lets hope that is the case. Now for proof that the Father Christmas from Gateshead is a Fake check it out see picture below

.   and the pudding? here it is with cheese box for size reference