Festive Frolics: The Great Edinburgh Santa Run

It may be cold outside, there may be snow on the hills and we may all have been just about blown away by a powerful winter storm the other day, but that doesn’t mean we all need to spend the festive period curled up on the sofa cramming mince pies into our mouths and watching all the same old Christmas movies! There are plenty of fun, festive themed races around at this time of year (the words Santa, Reindeer or Turkey followed by something like Dash or Trot are usually a clue!) to help burn off some of those extra calories and have a laugh at the same time.

Today I took part in the Great Edinburgh Santa Run, organised by the children’s charity When You Wish Upon a Star. Edinburgh at Christmas is always brilliant what with the ice rink, German market and big wheel, but the Santa Run is a great addition to the programme and is certainly a sight to see. Something like 1000 people signed up to take part this morning, drawing quite a lot of interest from passers by!

After donning the somewhat capacious, one size “fits” all Santa suits, we made our way to West Princes Street Gardens where the event began.


The place looked like an international Santa convention, and things became even more surreal with the warm up. Ever seen 1000 Santas doing a Zumba routine? I have, and I can assure you it’s quite something…


After this, we assembled at the start line by the Ross Bandstand where we were treated to some rather more traditionally Scottish music (albeit played by a Santa suit-clad pipe band!)

The website for the event suggested that the route would be 2 laps of West Princes Street Gardens, this having been the route last year, however the route was actually a bit different and no repeated laps were involved. This was pleasing as I started at the front and half way round the gardens I realised that I was going to get back to the start/finish line before many of the walking participants had even reached it to start the course! Instead, we left the gardens using one of the rather steep paths and found ourselves on a traffic-free stretch of Princes Street itself. After initially running in the Haymarket directon, the course doubled back on itself to follow Princes Street right up to almost the Princes Mall. I can only imagine what a spectacle all those Santas running up Princes Street must have been!

The course then doubled back again, returning us to the gardens and completing the “lap” to finish in front of the bandstand once more. For this event, I chose not to wear my Garmin so I have no idea how long the run was or what my time was. The winning Santa completed it in 10:15 with Steve only a couple of seconds behind him. He thinks he was maybe 2 or 3 minutes waiting for me so I guess it was a mile and a half at most. Quite an enjoyable wee jaunt (although that beard was a bit tricky as I kept breathing in white fibres and it just made my face sweaty!) Even better, there was a medal at the end so cue another crazy medal photo:


After the race we headed off to get a coffee, still in the Santa suits. Interestingly, although we were the only Santas in the place for about half an hour, nobody seemed particularly bothered by our appearance. We, on the other hand, thought it would be amusing to take some photos…



Running over, it was time to enjoy some of the other festive treats Edinburgh has to offer so we headed for the German market to have a pretzel and, more importantly, some glühwein.


Finally, we took a stroll up to the rather decadent Hotel Chocolat to pick up a little Sunday evening treat and indulged in an rather enjoyable coffee whilst there. I don’t usually drink coffee but the lure of one shot of roast coffee and one shot of roast cocoa was too much. Several hours later, poor Steve is remembering why I should NEVER drink coffee. I hope the buzz wears off before bedtime!

All in all, a great festive day out in Edinburgh. And the race means I can now curl up and watch Elf and eat my chocolates with considerable less guilt than if I’d been on the sofa all day. Excellent!

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