Our very first Santa Fun Run!

I have always thought that ‘Fun Run’ was an Oxymoron. Suitable for us, really, being in OXford and me being a MORON for volunteering to put myself through the paces, albeit for charity. However, running under the team name of Childtastic Santas, Holly, her dad Carl and I turned up to run for Helen and Douglas House, an Oxford-based charity that looks after children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and supports their families. There are two houses – Helen House, which opened in 1982 and became the first children’s hospice in the world, and Douglas House, which opened in 2004, which was the world’s first hospice for young adults (from 16 to 35 years of age). Click on the link above to find out more about the wonderful work they do.

Holly and Carl both like running. Carl completed his first (and he says only) London Marathon in 2002, in an impressive time of 3 hours 50 minutes. Holly just runs and runs like a little greyhound. I used to do cross-country running when I was young but have never really enjoyed it. And with two dodgy knees I’d more or less given up on running as something that I enjoy. Admittedly, we did a one-mile fun run for Comic Relief earlier in the year, which gave me confidence in being able to hobble around in knee straps, but I’ve not managed two miles (the distance today) since I was in my teens.

Anyway, we DID manage it and in less than half an hour. Not mega-impressive when compared to proper athletes but we were pretty chuffed with it. Below are some pictures, and some reports of our experiences today. Holly interviewed me, and I interviewed her and Carl. Enjoy laughing at all the santas and, if you feel like being generous, why not give towards this wonderful charity?

Ready to start our two-mile adventure outside the Sheldonian Theatre!
Ready to start our two-mile adventure outside the Sheldonian Theatre!

Interview with Holly Santa:

I entered this fun run because I thought it would be fun from the pictures I saw last year and I like running. The Santa suit I was sent was very big! Mummy’s was too but hers split [Edit by mum – so did most of the adults’ costumes!] but not mine. Daddy pinned the bottoms of my trousers so they fit me. I liked dressing as Santa because it was exciting. The beard was good but it was sometimes annoying as it got in the way and once when I pulled it down to have some water it went flying around the back of my head!

The warm-up was fun. The best bit was when we all did Gangnam-style Zumba all dressed as Santas! The race wasn’t too difficult but midway I needed to stop for a drink of water as I had lost a bit of energy. But I got it back on track again after having a drink. It was amusing seeing all the Santas running – when I looked back there were loads of Santas and no end in sight!

The best bit was the end as I was getting tired by then. Everyone was clapping us and cheering too which makes you feel good. After the race, I felt tired but happy because we had raised money for Helen and Douglas House. Now I am going to chillax for the rest of the day… until I have to go and sing in my local Christingle Service! I’d recommend doing the Santa Run as it’s a fun thing for families to do and it’s good to raise money for charity.

Zumba warm-up, Santa style! Once Gangnam Style started, there was no stopping us!
Zumba warm-up, Santa style! Once Gangnam Style started, there was no stopping us! (PS You can see the famous Bridge of Sighs in the background… sighing at the sight of us!)

Sam Santa

I decided to do the run because Holly and Carl were going to do it. I wanted to challenge myself and also raise money for charity. I was a bit nervous in the morning before we left because I have bad knees but I started feeling better when we saw the other Santas – more than 1200 of us in total!

The warm-up was very fun because everyone was doing Zumba in Santa outfits. The run itself was not as hard as I had thought which was a relief! It was tiring but I kept going which made me feel very happy. And it was more fun going running with Holly and Carl and all the other Santas. It was all being done for fun and charity so there was no unpleasant competitiveness. I enjoyed the whole thing but I was relieved to get to the end!

I will definitely do the Santa run again as I know I can do it now and it made me feel good. What a buzz afterwards! I could feel all the endorphins whizzing around even though my face was as red as my suit! It was great too because we raised money for a brilliant charity. So I say to you all – why not do it next year? Go on, have some fun!

The ducks didn't quite know what to make of us all in the University Parks...
The ducks didn’t quite know what to make of us all in the University Parks…

Carl Santa

I heard about the Santa Run through my work colleagues who had run it in previous years. I thought it would be a fun family activity for winter and we’d also be raising money for Helen and Douglas House. The distance was good too – the whole family can do two miles and it’s even better that we could do it in Santa suits! It certainly helped get us into the Christmas spirit.

Admittedly it was a bit of a struggle getting up early on a Sunday morning in the dark but we got in the mood when we put on our Santa suits. Then, on the way in, we saw loads of other Santas getting ready and that was great. It was nice seeing Oxford on a Sunday morning before all the crowds, with loads of Santas around the place!

The warm-up was good fun though it was hard to see how to do Gangnam Style as there were so many Santas in the way. The run was fine – gentle, fun and not serious. People could stop and walk for a bit if needed, and there was great support on Holywell Street as we came up to the finish line, and it was lovely to have Holly, Sam and me all finish together as a team.

I found it OK – a gentle jog really. I’d say it was about one-thirteenth as hard as the London Marathon! I am aching though now I am done so it wasn’t a total walk in the park. I’d definitely do it again, though I won’t be getting up every Sunday morning to repeat the experience!

Beards off! At the finish line - tired, sweaty and red (that's just Sam) but triumphant. A fantastic experience!
Beards off! At the finish line – tired, sweaty and red (that’s just Sam) but triumphant. A fantastic experience for the Childtastic Santas!


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