Admit it, running in a Santa suit is the pits. Gasping for air through a clip-on beard; sweating your knackers off under a velvety red robe; constantly hoisting up those ill-fitting trousers. Not so much ho-ho-ho as no-no-no. Leave the trauma of the Santa suit behind and put your name down for one of these Xmas alternatives.
Date: 29 December
Distance: 5, 10 or 15 miles
The Lowdown: No map, no help and certainly no Santa suit. The Drop takes self-reliance to a whole new level in a race that drops its competitors at an undisclosed location and challenges them to return to the start line as quickly as possible. Competitors will be placed on a bus, blindfolded and released at two-minute intervals. Fastest one back wins.
Date: 1 January
Location: Dorking, Surrey
The Lowdown: Proudly claiming to be “Britain’s toughest 10K” – who actually grades these things? – the Knacker Cracker is the ultimate way to kickstart your year of running. Taking in Box Hill and a set of stairs that one competitor claimed to have been “constructed by Satan himself”, it’s a beast of a race that will push you to your limit. Fancy dress is encouraged but Santa suits are thin on the ground.
Day: 26 December
Distance: 3 miles
Location: Saltwood, Kent
The Lowdown: Marketed as the “perfect hangover cure”, this popular multi-terrain race is now in its 42nd year and always attracts a large crowd of varying abilities. It’s only three miles in length, but it packs in some muddy hills, so it’s not without its challenges.