For the second successive year, WBC entered a team in the Santa Hell Run at Heveningham Hall. It is without doubt a “Hell of a Fun Run”, but the route took in some of the best countryside Suffolk has to offer.
Proceedings started with a 3.3km multi-terrain race for all of Santa’s Little Helpers who were encouraged to dress up in their “Elf” or “Fairy” outfit with a prize for the “Best Dressed Elf” and “Best Dressed Fairy”. All runners in the Santa’s Little Helper Race received a medal that doubles as a Christmas Tree Decoration and, after the race, Santa was there to welcome all the Little Helpers into his Grotto.
It was adults only for the main event and all runners had to be dressed in full Santa attire, which included a Santa Suit (hat, heard, coat, trousers and belt), which could be kept as a souvenir of the day. From a spectator’s point of view, the weather was far from ideal with frequent heavy showers, but the runners must have loved it! They were soon off at a gallop and they slid and slithered their way around the 10-km course. WBC supporters waited nervously for their runners to appear and soon realised that the course was more challenging this year than last as last year’s winning time came and went without a sign of a runner in sight! Soon the front-runner appeared and then a few more and then WBC’s first runner, Steve Rendell-Read in a respectable time and in the first 20 to cross the line. Sue-Rendell-Read was next in, then Matthew Dean and then Ann Pocknell and Inis Hoffmann more or less together. I should add that the last two aforementioned ladies were not last and what a superb effort by all our runners? Ann said that “after a long hot bath and a hefty dose of chocolate and mulled wine, I’m now fully recovered!” Well done to you all.
If that wasn’t enough excitement for the day then there was a Christmas Market, which was open to all. There were stalls selling fantastic Christmas gifts as well as hot meals, mince pies, tea, coffee and mulled wine all around the large Christmas tree and open fire situated in the courtyard of the hall. WBC had a stand selling “birdy Christmas hampers” made especially by Kathy Piotrowski and Helen Gooderham for our avian friends. Jon Evans also brought along a display of his superb wildlife photographs. Thank you to Jon, Kathy, Helen and Rob Gooderham and Maureen for helping man the stand.
At the end of proceedings, WBC invited people to join Steve Piotrowski and Andrew Green for a bird walk around the Estate. The weather undoubtedly played its part in deterring people and only one very keen customer turned up for the walk. We carried on regardless and our highlights included a Kingfisher, two Snipe and two Goosanders, the last record constituted a new species for the Wilderness Reserve.