I have mentioned the traditional Boxing Day Run that takes place every year to a number of runners over recent weeks, many of whom did not know about the run. I think it is because this is not an organised event it just happens by magic on Boxing Day and everyone simply turns up. I am not trying to hijack that but I do remember last year a flurry of emails concerning when the run was going to start and a lot of people who normally take part getting themselves confused.
The problem is when the regular runners do not know what’s going on it does not encourage new runners to take part. The inevitable confusion over what time the proper start is and what is the route I hope can be avoided this year if we all circulate the runners we know with a common start time and provide some idea of where we go.
I have run the last five Boxing Day Runs and although that does not qualify me as an expert I can at least point runners quite literally in the right direction and tell you what I do.
So let’s call this my observations from the last five years.
Assemble on Boxing Day in the Freshwater Bay public car park for a start at 10:30.
Fancy dress is optional and anything from a full Santa Suit to a bit of tinsel or no fancy dress is fine.
It is not a race there is no timing and the common start is for fun and convince only.
Dogs are often brought along and are kept on a lead (if you have any sense) until the footpaths are reached a couple of minutes after the start. I have brought my dog along most years.
I have two images from my Garmin data last year which show you where I ran and from the people I have spoken to and my experience I consider this to be the full route or as good a stab at it as you are going to get.
The first shows the start/finish from the car park up the main road onto the pavement and then left onto the footpath that will eventually take you to the Tennyson trail at the Beacon bellow the monument.
The full route is in the second image on the route you can see the markers are every mile and I measured this as 6.34 miles last year.
If you want to cut the route a little shorter then turn left at the beacon and that will save about 2.5 miles making the run just under 4 miles.
My endpoint on the out run is the Needles Viewing Point and I touch the rail before returning. On the way back I follow the slightly lower trail nearer the sea to begin with before crossing back towards the beacon and then heading up to the Tennyson Monument. It makes it a little easier for people coming in the other direction and with having the dog it works better.
When you get back to Freshwater Bay some of the runners have been known to take a short dip in the sea. This is not compulsory and while I never have about one in five would I say normally go in (if you call that normal).
Similarly quite a lot of runners adjourn to Sandpipers for a drink/coffee/chat afterwards.
I hope to see you Boxing Day.
Race Secretary West Wight Road Runners and member of Wight Tri.