Boxing Day Fun

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Plymouth running festival
Le Cure

After the Christmas-Day excess, bolt yourself back into action via an event from this quirky quartet…


After spending the previous day planted to the sofa with Dr Who, a week’s worth of calories and mulled wine for company, what better way to sweep away the Christmas cobwebs than taking a dip in the English Channel? Teignmouth’s average sea temperature is around the 11.5°C mark at this time of year, but the warmth of the 200-plus revelers will ease your walk, run, dive (delete as applicable) into chilly waters. It’s free for all but the organisers offer prizes for most money raised, with proceeds going to Teignmouth RNLI Lifeboat. There are also prizes for the best fancy dress. Registration from 10.15am with sea entry at 11am.


‘Run Like A Turkey at the 13th (yey!) Boxing Day Run’ is the motto at this Hitchin-based romp, its emphasis on fun rather than speed highlighted by the prize distribution. Those who cross the line first will remain shorn of medals. However, the organisers do award a prize for the most witty and original pre-race excuse for underperforming. (And you’ll have to do better than overindulgence!) There are numerous distances to choose from, including: 2.5 and 3.2 miles for adults; a 2.5-mile walk; 2km for under-16s; 1km for under-13s and 600m for under-sevens. Registration open from 9.30am at The Recreation Ground, Pirton.


Legend has it that on a frozen day in 1132, 13 Cistercian monks set off from Ripon Cathedral to a completely deserted valley by the River Skell. There they founded Fountains Abbey. Over one-thousand Yorkshire folk reenact this annual four-mile pilgrimage, which starts in Ripon at 9.30am with a celebration of Eucharist and culminates with a service of carols and prayers in the Abbey Cellarium. Bring your wellies as the route crosses fields, weaves its way through woods and passes stunning landscaped gardens. The event is free; normal National Trust admission applies.


Back-breaking exercise is the order of the day in North Wales as Denbigh hosts the 57th running of Roll the Barrell. The event was launched by local Rotarian Hywel Owen to raise money for local charities. Owen thought the event would cash in on the crowds who gathered to greet the Denbigh and Fleet Hunt, where hundreds of hounds and riders paraded through the streets. Times have changed. Now the hunt’s often accompanied by anti-hunt campaigners but the barrel-rolling competition remains the same, with junior races taking place in Crown Square and the adult races – men’s, women’s and teams of two – staged on the High Street. The races start at 10.30 and registration is on Boxing Day only.

James Witts is a writer & editor specialising in endurance sport, health & fitness, outdoor adventure and sports science.

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