Where Battle, East Sussex
When December 20, 2008
First Man Adam Clarke 26:59
First Woman Catherine Lee 33:57
Last Finisher 1:07:43
No. of Finishers 226
Festive cheer and frosty conditions went hand in hand as over 200 runners assembled in the grounds of Ashburnham Place in eager anticipation of the third edition of this annual Christmas race.
Woolly reindeer, bearded kings and Santa hats abounded, as many came festooned in fancy dress, as befitted a fixture whose emphasis fell firmly on family participation.
A delayed start – caused by unforeseen numbers arriving to register on the day – was a minor irritation but nothing more, and once underway, runners had their thoughts brought quickly into focus by the route veering sharply away from the estate over a rough, stony track. Yet no sooner had participants settled into their stride than they found themselves clambering up a mile-long ascent through woodland, made all the more taxing by slippery conditions.
Mud awaited at the crest of the climb, but this soon gave way to a flying descent along the imposing tarmac driveway of the grounds and, of course, the second lap.
Crossing back over the main approach road here caused a minor bottleneck – those at the front of the field were forced to nip in between oncoming runners – but organisers were quick to promise a revised route next year.
It was tired legs and flushed cheeks all round at the finish, where Santa medals and Christmas puds hit just the right note. Trays of mince pies and vats of mulled wine also helped warm the cockles back at race HQ, and almost certainly contributed to the cosy post-race glow.