Santa’s Present Run, North Pennines, Sunday, December 9, 2012

Santa Claus

Ho ho ho Elvet Striders,

A few weeks ago I got a letter from a not-so-little boy who is a member of your club. Here’s what it said:

Dear Father Christmas,Each summer a wonderful running club from Consett called Blackhill Bounders organise a free race called the Snods 6. They also put on a feast of free food. They always invite my club, Elvet Striders, to come along and enjoy the race, the food and the craic. It’s a great evening out and is much appreciated by all Striders. I hope that you can arrange for Blackhill Bounders to get a present this year to thank them for their generosity. And, I have an idea…

Every year a little before Christmas Blackhill Bounders deck a lone tree up near Bolts Law in the North Pennines. It would be great if you could leave a present under the tree for them this year. I’ve heard that they are decking the tree on the 9th of December this year. I know it’s a little early for deliveries and you’re probably very busy but if you could do this for me I promise to be a good boy… next year.

Thank you.

How could I resist a trip to the snowy North Pennines? But what gift would suit some runners who’d just run the 6 miles over the moors from Edmundbyers? Home made mince pies! I set the elves onto baking some fresh mince pies while I planned a nice 5K run. I certainly wasn’t going to break my North Pole parkrun PB – but the trick there is that I use the International Date Line to my advantage. Talk about negative splits, I manage a negative PB every time!

As the 9th dawned there had been a little bit of a thaw overnight taking away the snowy beauty but it would certainly make the running a little easier. I parked the sleigh in my usual spot atop one of the old smelting chimneys near Bolts Law. I still love to come down a chimney given half a chance, not enough chimney opportunities these days and these chimneys are magnificent. I made sure to put Donner and Blitzen in charge of parking again this year. The one year I let Rudolph park he spent so much time admiring his own nose we ended up taking the top stones off the chimney, to this day the locals think it was a light aircraft that damaged the chimney – don’t tell them Striders!

Lone tree with presentWith the sleigh tethered – the winds up there were quite high – I dropped down the chimney and set out to the lone tree. I left the carefully wrapped pies wedged under the tree – where else! – so I do hope the Bounders found them. Then it was a quick run up Bolts Law, not bad for a chubby old fella, and back round to the sleigh before the Blackhill Bounders turned up. A few minutes later I was back at the North Pole with a hot coffee waiting for me courtesy of the chief Elf.

Merry Christmas Blackhill Bounders!

Merry Christmas Elvet Striders!

Merry Christmas everybody!

Ho ho ho!

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