Why We Ran Dressed As Santa In March

It’s Easter time which, obviously, means that it’s time to dress up as Santa… Right?

Christmas may have been 3 months ago but that didn’t stop  just over 400 people of all ages and abilities dressing up in their festive Santas outfits and running in the St Frances Hospice’s Annual race, Santathon, in order to raise money.

Mrs Santa with her little Easter Bunny
Mrs Santa with her little Easter Bunny

Santathon was planned for last November 2017, but due to snow and ice on the ground it was postponed to March-one weekend before Easter.

It was our 4th year that we have run the race as a family. Of course, we may all start at the same time but it’s not long before I am left behind and all I can see if a sea of red ahead of me. They are always there at the finish line to cheer me on though.

The boys and their Dad have won it 4 years in a row. Dad being the first male over the line and Jak being the first under 16 to finish.

The boys before the race
The boys before the race

There is nothing quite like getting dressed up and going for a run, especially when you know it’s for a good cause. Not only is it fun, but it is such a fabulous community event with an amazing atmosphere-everyone cheering each other on and giving each other words of encouragement as you run round the streets.

The event was started by Sir Trevor Brooking, who was made a patron of St Frances Hospice, after a big warm up in the stands of Dagenham and Redbridge Football ground

Courtesy of Time 107.5
Courtesy of Time 107.5

Hands on watches and. with squeeze of a horn they were off

Courtesy of Romford Recorder
My boys up front    Courtesy of Romford Recorder

We certainly raised a few eyebrows. Can you imagine seeing hundreds of Santas: babies in prams, children, adults and even dogs pounding the streets, what a sight we must have been! Families came out of their houses to wave us on, Cars bibbed as they passed by and children banged on the windows of their homes to say hello.

You don’t have to run, many people walk the route. It’s a time to enjoy the event with friends and family.

A Rabbit amongst the santas Courtesy fo Romford Recorder
A Rabbit amongst the santas
Courtesy fo Romford Recorder

Dad and Jak were competing for the first place. Unfortunately for Jak, the stewards didn’t point him the correct route and he didn’t do the full course ( he attempted to make it up at the end after he realised that he hadn’t done the full 5k, but it wasn’t enough) He finished first, and to be honest he still would have won, if he had done the correct route but he passed the medal over to the first person that ran the whole route and that was his younger brother, Joseph. What an honourable young man my boy is.

Dad and Joseph with their trophies
Dad and Joseph with their trophies

Joseph was over the moon to be the first child under 16 to win the race, something he has been dreaming of doing. Of course, it’s not about winning but rasing money, but it means a lot to my little fella. Last year I was in hospital and couldn’t run with them, so this year he said he was doing it for me. My boy has a heart of gold.

Joseph collecting his trophy
Joseph collecting his trophy

I think that they should rethink about when the race will be next year. I’m thinking that Santathon at Easter was much more enjoyable and we certainly got the attention from the public.

St Frances Hospice is one of the largest adult hospices in the UK. They provide care and support to local people affected by a life-limiting illness, as well as their families, completely free of charge. They are an independent charity and rely on voluntary income and volunteers.

 

 

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Running together as a family at Westminster Mile

A family that runs together stays fit together

With three very active boys we are always looking for ways to keep them active but also for us all to be together. It’s not easy when you have three lots of sports clubs to get to all at the same time. We have tried football, swimming and athletics clubs and the boys even went to drama club but these type of clubs take up a lot of family time, especially when you’re a working family and just want to spend the weekends together doing fun stuff.

We found that going out running, jogging together ticks all the boxes. The boys are keeping active and letting off steam, as a family we are keeping healthy and spending quality time together.

Running is an activity that the whole family can get involved in and enjoy, no matter what your ability or age is. And what’s best is it requires very little equipment, meaning it’s not heavy on the purse/wallet.

The children partake in a 2k timed Jumior Parkrun every Sunday morning, Dad runs every evening at a club and also enters races for cross country and track and I just jog at my own pace. Since my surgery I have being trying to increase my stamina and to get my muscles working again in my abdomen.

For the past few years the family have entered into family waves in Westminster Mile. It’s just a short distance around St James Park – Starting on The Mall, going around the edge of the park and down Birdcage Walk and finally finishing on Spur Road, just in front of Buckingham Palace.

The eldest races in the Junior Athletics One Mile Road Championships, Dad races in the first wave and the younger ones and I race in the family wave.

Last year I ran along with the youngest, just 3 weeks into my chemo-radiotherapy treatment. This year I ran 6 months after having two major surgeries.

Even though the eldest and Dad compete in other races they also run along with us as family. I can’t tell you how proud i am of all of them and how warm i feel when i am running along with them close to me.

I wouldn’t class myself as a runner, not like the rest of my family (especially Dad and Jak who race at competitive levels) I just jog along at a slow pace or i get dragged along by the youngest. I still enjoy the feeling and we are all spending quality time together.

First up was Dad in the first adult wave, we cheered him on as he was the first person to cross over the finish line with an impressive time of 4.31

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It was then time for the family wave. We made our way to the start line, where many other families were.

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The boys sped off as soon as the gun fired and left me behind, they were eager to get a fast time. I could still see them up ahead of me.

Joseph finished first with a time of 6.50

Then came Oliver with a time of 8.10

And lastly, Mummy with a time of 9.53

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After picking up our goodie bags with our medals in them, we made our way to Green Park where there were plenty of fun activities to keep us busy in the wellness vitality festival whilst we waited until the eldest ran in his race.

The youngest got his face painted at one of the stalls, he chose to be Batman20170528_120704

Then we found a spot on the grass where we sat down and had a little picnic.

There were many other fun child-friendly activities to try like target football, basketball, a range of demonstrations, zumba and yoga sessions.

Dad and Joseph tried the tumbleator. Which was a giant conveyor belt that they controlled the speed of, varying from 0-8m/sec Mo farah world 10,000m champion pace. Dad took on the challenge to get to 21mph on the Canning Conveyor Tumbleator, he made it look so easy! He said he wanted to carry on until he tumbled but they stopped him at 21mph. The machine is capable of in excess of 25mph

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Joseph was up next, he managed to stay running at a speed of 13mph for 60 seconds. What a star!

Joseph getting ready on the tumbleator
Joseph getting ready on the tumbleator

It was soon Jak’s turn to race in the road championships. He went off to the start line and we found a spot near the finish line to cheer him on

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It was his first time in the under 15s race and he done really well. Finishing with a time of 5.10, he even had enough energy to finish with a sprint.

I may not be in the same league as the rest of my family but I still enjoy to race along with them. It makes us all feel good, as well as being in each others company.

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A Cold and Icy Cross Country Race 21/365

Today was a big day for the eldest. It was a cold morning, the ground was icy bit with adrenaline pumping though his veins I don’t think he felt a bit of the bitter weather. 

Back in November he was entered into the boroughs school cross country race, representing his school, he came 2nd in his year group. He was picked out to represent the borough (a different borough to what we live in) in the Essex Schools Cross Country Race. 

He has enjoyed running for a while, but normally on road or track. Lately he has really got into his fitness and was totally looking forward to racing in such a big race. 

Although when we got there he was a little overwhelmed by it all and was a little anxious of not doing so well in this race. I gave him a big Mummy cuddle, kissed his cheek and told him to just go for it. Mummy will be cheating him on and that I was proud of him.

The year 8/9 boys were called over to the start line. He lined up with the rest of his team. And they were off. He didn’t have such a great start and after the first lap of the smaller field he was in the last 15 boys. Dad said he was pacing himself, clever boy. 

As they exited the starting field, they went off to run through the trees and through another field before entering back into the smaller field. We didn’t see him again until he came near to the finish line. 

We cheated. We shouted. We jumped up and down. 

We tried to count where he came. You see the top 6 boys go through to represent Essex. The top 29 get selected to represent Essex in the south East counties. 

We found him with his team, sitting on the floor getting dressed. He stood up, put his arms around my neck and held me tight. He was shaking. He whispered in my ear “I don’t it Mum. I done it!” He showed me a card that congratulated him for coming 20. Woah! My boy. 

He was shocked. He was scared. He was happy.

I held him and told him he makes me proud every second he exists. 

Next stop Inter County Race 4th February.

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A weekend of achievements and Personal Bests

Living in a London borough gives the children a very good chance of competing in the London Mini Marathon for their borough. Children that live else where in GB have to be within the top four runners of their region/nation.

Each London borough, region and home nation has a team manager who is responsible for selecting a team to take part in the Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon, which also doubles as the British Athletics three-mile road championship race. Boys and girls race in 3 age categories and there are 6 races in total.

We are lucky to live in a London Borough and back in February my eldest boy who is 13 years old, attended the trials for a chance to win a place on the boroughs team. For the third year in a row, he managed to get through.

Unlike previous years, he has tried hard with his training. He hasn’t managed to run every evening but attended the training sessions each week that was run by a local running club and went out for local runs after school. Not only has he been running but he has also been attending his swimming sessions at his club three times a week. This has really helped with his stamina. He had more drive this year wanting to achieve and try his hardest.

He was dropped off early Sunday morning, along with his other team mates, to catch the coach into the City. He wasn’t nervous but eager to get running. Not long after dropping him off, we set off ourselves as a family to go and cheer him on.

I was in pain from an op I had the day before but i needed to see him. I needed him to know that I was there supporting and cheering him on.

It wasn’t long before we saw him running past us along the embankment, he was looking strong and doing so well. As we called out his name, he got a burst of energy and it must have spurred him along. He looked over to us and smiled and carried on running.

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The boy in red shorts

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Dad and little brother went off to collect him from the finish, whilst I found a cafe to sit in and wait for my big hero to come.

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He was so proud of himself .

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When the results come through he was in complete shock. Couldn’t believe the time that he had got. Said it must have been a fluke. I say that it was determination. I have always told him that if he puts effort and time into something he will acheive.

Jaks time 17:56 Placed 23rd for the borough challenge.

Now, I have 3 boys and they all run. On Saturday saw my middle boy who is 8 years old run in a local 5k parkrun.

He had asked his big brother to take him along to the park to join in with adults and other children to run 5k. His brother ran along his side all the way, they didn’t stop and he managed to pass over the finish line in an amazing 25:47. A personal best for him.

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I love to see my boys enjoying the outdoors and feeling the freedom of running.

I love watching them grow with determination and dedication.

Little brother can not wait to follow in his big brothers footsteps and compete in the London Mini Marathon himself. I am sure big brother will be cheering him along all the way.

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An active chilly morning at Junior Parkrun

Every Sunday at 9am a group of children and volunteers gather together in the park to participate in a free, timed 2k run. They are safe and easy to take part in, all you have to do is register online and then print out your bar code in order to receive a time. Winter or Summer, rain or shine, wind or snow this activity happens no matter what and it’s all thanks to the volunteers that give up their Sunday morning lay in. They are amazing!

It’s a struggle foe me to get the youngest up and out of the house during the week for school so when it comes to the weekend, he is not having none of it. On the odd occasion he IS up and moving around the house, we take the opportunity of having to be able to go the park and join in.

This morning was a good morning. We managed to be up, fed, dressed and out of the front door by 8.30. Good eh!

We arrived at the park a little early, which was convenient as I had noticed a few weeks back that their was a geocache located in the park. Using the Geocache app on my phone we navigated our way to the cache. We did cheat a little by reading the hint, which was to ‘take a pew on the left hand side and have feel about’ As we neared the cache we spotted a bench

geo running

The boys ran off ahead to search for it, after a little feel about under the bench we found it

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Didn’t take us long so we had some time to try out the fabulous swing and rope frame to climb

park fun

 

We only had a short play and it was time to head on over to the start ready for warm up before the race began. The youngest one doesn’t like to participate, not because he doesn’t enjoy it but he lacks confidence and is not happy when people show him attention. So I wasn’t going to push him into running, although I did dress him ready for it just in case he had a change of heart. As we was walking over to the Junior Parkrun Flag, he said that he would take part. He must have been in a good mood. I promised him a hot chocolate in the den at home if he ran and offered him a tic tac, which we said was a speed sweet and it would help him find the energy to run. With sweet in the mouth he was ready for the warm up. It took a lot for him to walk over to a bunch of strangers and join in, I didn’t want to give him too much attention otherwise it may have caused him to not join in. He had a big smile on his face when the countdown began and off he went along with his older brothers following the orange cones that was set out so that the children ran on the correct course. There were volunteers on every corner, supporting the children and pointing them in the right direction as they went past. They had to run round the course twice. It wasn’t long before the eldest passed by, with the middle boy following shortly behind. I waited by the start for the youngest to pass, as he neared he asked if I would join him. He told me that he was cold and needed my hand to warm him up. We ran the rest of the course hand in hand.

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As we neared the finish line i let go of his hand for him to finish by himself. His brothers came to join him, followed by other children that had already finished. They were running along side him, encouraging and cheering him on. The support that the children receive from the adults and other young children is immense, it really does help them along the way.

He finished the 2k run in 14:07. He done so well and was very proud of the token that he received at the end. You need to get your bar code scanned along with the token in order to get a time and place on the website.

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Qualifying for the VLM Mini Marathon

Today was the day when lots of local children aged between 11 and 17 took over the local park, running through mud, puddles and shed tears of pain to compete for a place to represent the borough in the Virgin Money London Mini Marathon.

Jak is now 13 and has run in the mini marathon for the past two years. Each year he turns up to the park, along with other young eager runners and puts in his all so that he can qualify for a place in the team.

Registration starts at 9.30 in the morning and the race takes part at 11am.

The children all race together. They start in the running arena. They run three-quarters of the way round before exiting the track and entering the park. They run twice round the pond and then back into the long stretch of the track to the finish line.

Today, just like the past two years, it rained. It wasn’t great conditions for a run in the park but that didn’t stop those children from running their little bots off. I saw dedication. I saw tears of pain and delight as they neared the finish line. I saw the children of our future.

Jak was a little worried this year as more children turned up to the trials than last year, so he knew he had to try his best for that place.

Running isn’t his passion at the moment, it is swimming but he does like to run still and it helps with his fitness.

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The youngest and I watched and cheered all the children on with extra louder cheers for Jak of course. As we saw him pass us by after the first lap of the lake we made our way back into the stadium to wait for him to finish. The first Boy came into the track and we cheered him on, not long after he was followed by a few more children. Then there was a long empty gap, I was sure Jak would be coming through pretty soon. A couple of seconds went by and then we saw Jak heading on to the track. We was sure that he had made it through to the Marathon.

After all the children had finished, we all made our way into the building where we awaited the news of entrants. Did our children make it to the team?

They called out the under 13s girls first, then the boys. No Jak. We waited. Maybe he had a place in the under 15s. Still No Jak. Poor Jak, I could tell by his face that he was confused and upset. As all the children were called up to receive their letters of places, Jak was left standing without an envelope. Everyone started to leave but we was sure that Jak had won a place on the team. So we went over to the event organisers. They had Jak’s number down but the name was down wrong. He had come second in his category, he was now smiling.

He now has a training schedule to keep to. Training sessions once a week with his team down at the track, starting in 2 weeks time.

All children that race have the chance to raise money for the mayors charity, which this year is Sycamore Trust. A charity based in Barking and Dagenham which supports parents, carers and individuals affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorders and/or Learning Difficulties.

I am proud of my boy for setting a goal and going for it 🙂

 

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Running through the town dressed as Santa

Every year in our home town, hundreds of people gather together at the local football ground dressed in Santa outfits and run in the boroughs annual Santathon. Young and old, people run or walk 5k to raise money for St Francis Hospice. A local independent charity who provide care and support to individuals with a life-limiting illness, as well as their carers and family members.

Last year the eldest boy and Dad ran and we supported them, they were the first male and boy child over the finish line. This year the eldest wasn’t very well due to a having sickness bug a couple of days earlier so he didn’t run, but instead the two youngest, Dad and I ran. I had been out to the shops over the weekend to buy some festive outfits. Dad wanted to go in a sexy santa outfit and Oliver a Reindeer. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, buying a santa outfit. I visited all the pound shops and superstores, but no where sold the outfits only santa hats. After traipsing round the shops for an hour I eventually found a store that sold a female and boys outfit.

The event was taking place on Sunday at 11am. Up and dressed, we arrived at 10.30 to register and pay our entry fee. All payments going to charity and any that they received on the day were going to be double by Barclays bank.

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posing before the race
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all ready to run

My boys looked so cute!

As time was nearing to the start of the race we was all called outside into the football stadium and gathered in the terrace for a little warm up by the Mayor and Diags from Towie. Dad and Joseph were down at the front with the other fast runners. Oliver and I were towards the back.

It took a while for us to get out of the stadium as there were so many of us but as we exited the gates and the crowds of santas began to filter out, Oliver saw a gap and began to run. I couldn’t keep up with him. He is used to running a 2k but this was his first 5k run, so I explained to him that it was longer and that if he wanted to stop he just had to tell me. That wasn’t going to stop him, he was in the running mood and just kept on running. We slowed our pace and enjoyed running along. Cars were bibbing us and people were waving, it was such a lovely, happy moment. Oliver held my hand and we ran together.

I felt so proud of my little man running along the streets, he didn’t stop once! We had to slow at some points to get passed other santas or because cars were parked on the pavement and there were no room but his little legs just kept on running. Just like Forest Gump!

As we neared the finish, Daddy (who had already finished) came to help us along

IMG_20151213_123038My little man was so proud of himself when he crossed the finish line. He was presented with a medal and he ran off to find his brothers to show them.

DSC_3073_optDaddy was the first male over the finish line so he was awarded a trophy

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We all had a fun day, there were lots of laughter and brilliant achievements. Joseph ran it in just over 22 minutes and Oliver just over 34. I’m so proud of my boys!

Can’t wait until next year when we can all run as a family again. Hopefully the eldest won’t be ill and he can join in too.

 

 

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