Following on from the success of the brand-new Kings Hill Sports Park 1K, 5K and 10K in summer, organisers Nice Work decided to introduce another run in the same format and location, with a Christmas theme.
Taking place in the same area as my place of work (West Malling), the Kings Hill Sports Park Santa Run promised a bespoke medal for all finishers, chip-timing, on-site parking and the usual toilet and baggage facilities, with Christmas nibbles to finish!
When I saw on Facebook that the medal once again featured my namesake (a Plane!), I didn’t hesitate to sign mum and I up to the 5K route. Affiliated entry was just £12 for me and £14 (Unaffiliated) for mum, and the race instructions/information came though immediately via email.
So, on Sunday 22nd December, I met mum and we drove the 30mins towards my work, and found the Sports Park with ease. The carpark had plenty of spaces and we managed to grab a good spot!
The registration desk was situated outside the entrance to the Sports Hall, where we just had to say our names and were handed a running number with embedded chip. All toilets inside the Sports Centre were open (and clean!). The atmosphere was buzzing, with lots of families around.
The weather was cold and chilly. I wore Ivy Park leggings and a Primark sports bra under a long-sleeve base layer, plus black trainer socks with Brooks Ghost 10 trainers. We’d bought our own Santa suits (these weren’t provided) which were enormous, but kept us warm! I’d consumed a cup of Beanies coffee and bowl of Shreddies cereal, plus a Costa coffee! I was super comfortable and felt good and ready to go.
The 1K run set off at 10:15am and everyone watched the children come back in through the finish line shortly afterwards, which was sweet.
There was a short, enthusiastic warm-up session at the Start Line before both 10K and 5K participants set off to a countdown at 10:30am. The course used combinations of a 2.5K loop around the grounds of the Kings Hill Sports Park, which was undulating, and was a mixture of grass and gravel underfoot. It was definitely a challenging course – because of all the mud! It had been raining non-stop for a few days and the fields were basically swamps. We were slipping and sliding all over the place, and both said that if we had known if was going to be this bad, we would have thought twice about taking part. Mum is 61 and I’m 19 weeks pregnant, and there was high risk of slipping over; however we persevered, walked over the riskier areas and completed our two laps.
The marshals and spectators were lovely and encouraging, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. The 10K runners sped past and embraced the trail-like conditions!
Bespoke medals were hung around our necks by the Mayor at the Finish Line, and there were cups of water, jaffa cakes and mince pies to enjoy. Leaving the carpark was quick and easy, and I’m glad we both had the hindsight to pack wet-wipes, clean socks and spare trainers in the car!
Overall, we had a lovely morning and it was fun and something different to do a few days before Christmas! However, the risk of slipping over was too high and for that reason we couldn’t relax or enjoy it. We may take part again in the future – if it hasn’t been raining in the days leading up to it!! 😊
NEXT UP: London Winter Walk Half Marathon, Sunday 19 January 2020