Nick Day kicked things off. “So who is up for making it a fancy dress festive training session this Sunday? Everyone loves a “Dirty Santa” right??” He followed that up with, “So who is ready to make Santa real dirty this Sunday??? 7:30 Verulamium Park!! Be there, be in costume and let’s get dirty… umm I mean muddy!!!”
Ecommerce is great when it does not go wrong. We were going to be doing the Sunday morning OCR training session in fancy dress, and I had ordered my costume online. It had not arrived by Saturday lunchtime, which meant it would not be arriving until Monday morning, despite me having paid for guaranteed delivery and having been told earlier in the morning that it was scheduled for delivery. I could not show up not in fancy dress, so I contacted Funzone in New Greens and they were able to confirm that they had exactly the same outfit I had ordered online in stock. One short walk of 6.3 kilometres later, I was the proud owner of a costume which I would more than likely ruin the next morning.
Of course, I left the house later than planned, already dressed in my outfit, and arrived at the car park next to the museum at Verulamium Park to find 6 Santas, and I was the sole red-nosed reindeer. Tony Leary, Nick Day, Kirsten Whitehouse, Ray Fletcher, Robert Boarder and Jake Barber had come along to enjoy the festive fun, and every single one of them was dressed as Santa.
We started off from the car park, running up the track, going across the playing fields away from the museum, before we turned off right into the next field, heading over to the track which runs alongside the road, and heading up the hill. We turned left at the top before coming back down the hill on one side of the hedge, then running back up the hill on the other side of the hedge, then cutting across to the woods at the top of the hill. We went running through the woods, pretty much as you might expect from a reindeer, and this time, instead of simply running straight through the woods, we stopped in the middle for a few hill repeats, running up and down the slopes. I was already boiling inside my costume. We continued on through the woods to the bottom, then moved on to one of the football pitches for some sprints. We started with most of the group on the goalline, Kirsten ahead of them, and me ahead of her, and we sprinted to the other side of the pitch, with Nick trying to catch everyone before we got there. I managed to just come out in front each time, but unfortunately Nick tore not only his costume but also (to a lesser extent, thankfully) his hamstring. He continued to hobble along with us for the rest of the session, and was still faster than me. We moved into the bowl for some more hill repeats and push-ups, although Jake took it up to burpees, with Nick taking the opportunity to video us, before running along the path following the edge of the lake and turning up towards the Inn On The Park to follow the track round to the car park, then emerging out on to the playing field once again. I had had more than enough of my costume by this point. We went up to the treeline and Tony encouraged us into position on the ground (with me at the front, obviously) for some rowing and a rendition of Row Your Boat so we could put together a little motivational video for Laura Try, “This one is going out to Laura Try to help her through her last hour of her 24 hr row marathon for Centrepoint someone pls tag and show her,” before we moved on to the more serious business of shuttle runs, barrel carries
and tyre drags, to the extent that they can be a serious business whilst dressed as a reindeer, and I found myself dragging a tyre, when I thought I was meant to be pulling a sleigh. Actually, I think I got the better deal.
We had finished the session and Christmas came early because Rebecca Cohen suddenly appeared in the car park with bacon rolls for everyone !!!
I had covered 6.4 kilometres in the session, Jake had covered 7.7 kilometres, and everyone else had done something in between. It had been a really fun session, very enjoyable, and I found myself walking home through the park, and down the backstreets, with a stupidly big smile on my face, enjoying the fact that the families I passed on my way all seemed to be delighted to have encountered a reindeer on their morning walk.