Christchurch Christmas Pudding Race

Pair of knitted trainers with in green with red and white patterns and red and white laces with bells on them.

Stuart thought it might be fun for us to take part in the Christchurch Christmas Pudding 10k. Friends have run it in previous years and really enjoyed it. We knew that it would sell out, so we entered quite early.

My original plan had been for it to be a comeback race where I was aiming to get as close as possible to my PB. As the weeks with limited training dragged on to become months, I knew that I was not going to be in PB shape. My goal was just to complete the race in under an hour.

Getting to the start

Although the race had a civilised 11am start time, it’s a reasonably long drive to Christchurch from Southampton. Also, we had to allow enough time to get M settled with her grandparents, collect our race numbers from race HQ and walk to the start. The walk alone would take around 20 minutes.

M was excited to see her grandparents, which meant that Stu and I were able to focus on the race and not worry about her. We parked in a supermarket car park and then walked to the race headquarters. Collecting my race number was simple, however there were several Stuart Smiths and no easy way of knowing whether Stu was collecting the right number.

After collecting our numbers, we headed back to the car. It was cold outside and we knew there wouldn’t be a lot of shelter at the race start, so we wanted to keep warm.

Festive runners

When we got to the race start, there were lots of people in fancy dress. I had chosen to wear my new Brooks festive running top and had originally planned to wear my festive trainers. Stu warned me that there would be run off from the fields on the road and I didn’t want to ruin them on their first outing.

I was relieved that the weather wasn’t as bad as it had been recently. Although it was cold, it was dry and sunny.

I started the race feeling confident after running MoRun in under an hour.

A large group of runners on a country lane.
This photo is from near to the start of the race, so it looks like I’m mid-pack.

How did I do?

The Christchurch Christmas Pudding 10k should have been a fast race for me as it’s on a flat course. It’s mostly on country lanes, so there’s a smooth tarmac path. There were two fords to cross, but I don’t like getting cold and wet, so I used the bridge instead. I saw one brave runner go through the stream on the way back. It looked very cold and even the photographer seemed surprised that someone would make that choice.

Route of Christchurch Christmas Pudding 10k marked on a Googlemap.
Tamsyn's splits for Christchurch Christmas Pudding 10k.
My splits make it clear that I’m not used to running more than 5k any more 🙁

I found this race much harder than I expected. It started off OK, but by the mid-way point I was feeling tired. I hoped it would improve, but it didn’t. I’m happy to race on my own, but I haven’t done many races where I’ve not known some other runners or spectators. When I started to flag, there weren’t many people around to help motivate me. I tagged onto a small group for a while. They started to pick up the pace, whereas I was getting slower.

Tamsyn after Christchurch Christmas Pudding race, wearing a Christmas running top.

My gun time was 1:06:06. I was really disappointed as that’s one of my worst race times ever, including when I was pregnant.

After the race, each runner was given a bottle of water and a Christmas pudding. We also received a Natural Valley bar. I was grateful to be given a cup of vegetable soup as I was cold, tired and hungry.

I think this was a race that could be lovely, but my heart just wasn’t in it this year.

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