Over 1,800 runners tackled the seafront course of the annual Christmas Cracker 10k event on Sunday 6 December, organised by Weston Athletic Club. In keeping with the tradition of participants wearing festive attire, tinsel-clad runners were also joined by elves, reindeers, Santas, snowmen and women, Smurfs, superheroes, fairies and even the components of a full Christmas dinner.
The rain held off for most of the race, but the wind proved challenging for runners as they held on to their tinsel heading in to the wind for the home straight on the beach towards the Grand Pier.
The first man to cross the finish line was Tom Lander running for BAD Tri, completing the course in 36.45 minutes. Unattached runner, Sam Tabbener was the second home in 37.16, closely followed by Devilliers Maassen Van De Brink of North Bristol Triathlon Club who took third place in 37.21 and bettered his overall position from last year by seven places.
Annabel Granger of Bristol and West Athletic Club claimed victory for the women, winning the race again for the third consecutive year and finishing this year in 38.56. Second female home was Jennifer McNamara of Cheddar Running Club in 42.42 with Penny Guess of the University of Bath taking third female home in 42.58.
This year also saw the first ever Mini Cracker 2k event for children take place before the main race. The 125 participants aged seven to 15 years, also running in festive fancy dress, was won by William Fuller of North Somerset Athletic Club in an impressive 7.48. The first girl to complete the beach course was Isabel Ovens from Cheltenham Harriers in 8.40.
Regular participant of the Cracker 10k was Jim Plunkett-Cole, who is running 1,000 back-to-back 10ks and undertaking a triathlon (750m swim, 20k cycle and 10k run) every day during 2015, had a great race dressed as Mrs Christmas, taking 14th place overall. Plunkett-Cole is also planning to run the fictional Forrest Gump route starting next year, running 19,024 miles across America with no day missed.
Running their first 10k for many of them, were the Rudolphs in Training, a group of around 60 men and women who have followed a 10-week training programme organised by Weston Athletic Club, leading up to the event. The group raised over £2,000 for the race charity, Weston Hospicecare, and presented a cheque before the race to Kelsey Dehaney, events fundraiser from the charity.
Malcolm Gammon, race director of Weston Athletic Club, said: “This year was our 28th Christmas Cracker and it was yet another successful event where fun runners and athletes of all ages participated in a fantastic spectacle on the beach at Weston-super-Mare.
“This year’s race has enabled the club to donate over £7,000 to Weston Hospicecare in addition to sponsorship raised by individual runners and I’m delighted to have been able to once again support this fantastic local cause with such a great sum.
“Fundraising of this level and putting on an event such as this, would not be possible without the support of over 150 of the clubs member volunteers, our race sponsors, Easy Runner and Mizuno, Hutton Moor Leisure Centre for their membership packages offered as prizes to some of our Rudolphs in Training members and of course all of the runners and spectators on race day.”
Next year’s Cracker event will be held on Sunday 11 December, 2016 and entries will open in July with spaces expected to sell out in October.
The Club’s next 10k race is the New Year’s Day Hangover on Friday 1 January at 11am, which takes place at Kewstoke near Weston-super-Mare.
For more information about the club’s activities, including details of how to enter future races or become a member, visit www.westonac.co.uk