The last ‘First Saturday of the Month’ NHRR race around Norton common is billed as the ‘Santa Canter’ and saw a record breaking 293 finishers. The emphasis of this race is not really on the times but on the sheer fun of being out early and running with other people, Oh and of course, dressing up! There were more Santas, Elves, Fairies (good and bad), Snowmen, Wise Men, Reindeer, Turkeys, Christmas puddings, Christmas Trees and Christmas jumpers than you could shake a stick at, with one person breaking the mould in a full Bah Humbug outfit.
It was a great atmosphere on a day which was warmer and drier than might have been expected, although it was a little slick under foot in paces. During the run one of the marshals combined his roll with serenading the runners with Christmas tunes on his Trumpet, and a group of Singing Snowman were singing all the way around the 5K route. The finishers were rewarded with medals and refreshed with (non-alcoholic) Mulled Wine and mince pies. With over £700 raised for the MS Therapy Centre into the bargain.
The flat running race was won by NHRR’s John Auld in 18 mins and 16 seconds with Jane Clarke, again of NHRR, the first lady home in 21:43. The winners of the awards for costumes went to Shani Fielding dressed as a Christmas tree with Spencer Bevan and his two children winning the best dressed family, with a couple of matching Santa outfits and a human Christmas tree/elf on the shoulders.
With the Santa Canta being such a popular event with there were only a few NHRR runners running in other events Patrick Norris ran the Parkrun in Bury St Edmunds in 34:51, Helen Nuttall ran in the one in Stevenage in 33:04 and Chris Poole might be forgiven for missing the Santa Canta as he ran the Amager Strandpark Parkrun in Denmark! Finishing in 23:27
Over a longer distance Martyn Annetts (1:33:49) and Suzy Trott (1:40:02) found that some recent hard training sessions paid off on the undulating Bedford Half Marathon course, both of them improving on their finishing times from their last outing at this distance.
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