SANTA DASH 5k Brighton: 08/12/12

Before the race I wish fellow BOSH Runner Michelle the best of luck, telling her to just stick to what she learnt in her training and not to start too quick, but most of all to enjoy herself.  I can tell that she is a little nervous as this is her first race, but she seems excited to be amongst the friendly BOSH-Run group.

“30 seconds. Santas by the tent!” shouts the race organiser over the speakers.  I am huddled right in the middle of some 600 Santas and I can't even see the front…or the back!    My sister who is supporting me today has already gone to the front for pictures.
I tell everyone ‘all the best’ and try to squeeze further up towards the front, but I quickly decide staying put here is probably the best and more fun option.  I fix the white beard in place over my chin ready for action...

Countdown begins 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1…then a loud horn sounds and we are off!  We start at a trot until the group gets moving through the starting area.  Passing all the cheers and clapping spectators the Santas break into a fast sprint up the promenade.
I take to the left and keep at a 7:15min/mile pace, which is comfortable to sustain long enough until I feel I can speed up. I have been having some discomfort in my left knee since my Ultra in early November, so I want to keep the fast intervals for once I'm fully recovered.

Heading up past the King Alfred Leisure Centre, then further on past the Babylon Lounge Bar, I see many families and dog walkers out enjoying the hilarious sight of 600 running Santas along the seafront with the biggest grins on our rosy faces!  I think to myself this has to be the best fun run and I must make it a Christmas tradition every year!
After passing the many coloured beach huts dotted down to Hove Lagoon, I overtake some of the speedy Santas then see the turn back point up ahead. I see the Santa in the lead on his way back towards me then another and another. 

These Santas really mean business and must have some magic stardust on them! I overtake a Santa pushing a pushchair then a Santa racing with his dog! This has got to be the most bizaare race I’ve ever done!
I turn back around the cones and start to increase my pace to 6:30-6:15min/mile. The knee feels okay and I'm pretty warmed up by now.  The sun is shining on us and I can feel myself heat up under the Santa suit as there is very little breeze on this way back to the start.

To my left I can see a long stream of Santas approaching me from the other side.  Such a spectacular display of red and white, sparkling in the sun.  I see Tristan from the BOSH-Run Group and shout ‘Hey’. 
He is followed shortly by James, then further on down I see Sunday with an almighty grin on his face under the white beard. 
 Soon after I spot Michelle looking great, then Lucy and Chloe all smiles shouting 'BOSHER!' as I pass them.
By now I'm running faster at a 5:50min/mile pace and I start to overtake some more speedy Santas.  I pass many more spectators and enjoy their claps and cheers.  After passing the King Alfred Leisure Centre again there is only minutes left to reach the finish.
I sprint the best I can without feeling too strained to the point of exhaustion or the worry of my knee becoming painful.  The Santa in fourth place is playing catch up with me and I sprint on to lose him for a few 100 yards.  Before I know it he is back again, then within 20 seconds he tails behind again.

Lots of cheers and hoots as I approach the finish with a big roar of applause!  I collect my medal and water with goody snacks.  Sister Sam comes round to greet me and take more pics, then I see Dave and Stu from the BOSH-Run Group who have been spectators at the finish.
I check my Runkeeper app and I've completed in 20:34.  Turns out I came in third overall, but this is just a fun cause and not a timed event so it isn’t important.  The runners were raising money for Pass It On, a charity dedicated to building new schools in Africa. 

We look out for the others to come into the finish, giggling at the many Santas crossing the finishline in groups by now. Next in is Tristan at a super speedy time, then James, followed shortly by Sunday, then Michelle. Then big smiles and cheering from Lucy and Chloe as they reach the end!

BOSH-Run Santas and sister Sam 'support crew'
It's been a great run and such an experience that I decide to make this a yearly tradition for Christmas!  Plenty more photo opps follow and laughter before we say our goodbyes.  A big thanks to my PR sis for supporting today and taking lots of pics, including dragging us into a photo for the local paper, see here

Looking forward to next year already..... BISH BASH BOSHERS!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

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