Sport In The City: The Manchester Christmas Pudding Five Mile Run

Originally featured on The Mancunion

There’s more to sport in Manchester than City and United: With this week’s spotlight on the Fifth Manchester Christmas Pudding 5 Mile Dash

Over the course of the academic year, as well as paying close attention to, and prioritising the progress and successes of, our university’s very own societies, teams and campus sports, let our new Sport in the City feature tempt you into a very different sporting day out. Whether it’s a new sport, a team about whom you did not know, or just an event that interests us, we hope that we will be able to entice you to explore the wide sporting variety that the city has to offer during your time studying at the University of Manchester.

In the spotlight this week: The Fifth Manchester Christmas Pudding 5 Mile Dash

Well… what is it?

As the calendar in a wide range of sports other than football begins to wind down ahead of the upcoming Christmas break, it is credit to Manchester’s diversity that even in the lead up to Christmas, there are sports and competitions still available to enter. And with end of the semester well and truly on the horizon, why not get into the Christmas spirit in a much more productive way than an afternoon spent shopping in the Trafford Centre. That’s right, this section has searched high and low for sporting activities for you to go to watch, but now it’s time to get physical with a festive charity fun-run, raising money for Greenmount Wild Bird Hospital in Bury. The Fifth Manchester Christmas Pudding 5 Mile Dash, however, is no ordinary 8km run, and on its completion you get more than just a medal to reward your efforts. Throughout the race there are Christmas Puddings and other Festive goodies on offer. What’s more, a mince pie awaits you at the end. Certainly much more of an incentive than usual to get yourself over the finish line, right? Also, don’t panic, the route is suitable for both experienced runners and beginners alike, so there’s no need to have done any real training as such.

How do I get there?

For a fifth time, the annual run will be hosted in Wythenshawe Park, South Manchester, M23 0AB. The run itself consists of a flat offroad course using the footpaths, fields and trails in the park, so make sure to come with proper sports trainers for running in! Luckily, with regards to transport, in comparison to what seemed like an absolute voyage to get to Salford City, Wythenshawe Park is definitely much easier to get to. The Manchester City Council website advises that if you are heading from Manchester City Centre you can catch a 101 bus operated by Stagecoach or a 370 bus from Didsbury. Bus stops are located nearby on Princess Parkway and Altrincham Road, but you really should not encounter any difficulties if you ask the bus driver on either service for Wythenshawe Park. For those lucky enough to have a car with them here in Manchester, take either the M60, leaving at Junction 5, or alternatively the M56, at Junction 3, onto Princess Parkway. The main entrance to the park is located on Wythenshawe Road and should be signposted en route to your destination.

But how much does it cost to get in?

For those wishing to take part in the fun-run, you can pay on the day (subject to the availability of places on the day of the race, please consult http://www.nice-work.org.uk for more information) but it is recommended that you sign up in advance, not just to secure your place in the run but also to receive entry at a discounted rate. And although you can register your interest and sign up for the run by post, I would personally suggest booking your entry to the race through the website listed above. The online cost for a non-club runner in advance amounts to £16.70 for the full five mile race, with the opportunity to pay a lesser £6.20 if you wish to compete in an adult 1 mile scurry. All proceeds again go to the Greenmount Wild Bird Hospital in Bury. So with only 350 spots in the race up for grabs, don’t hesitate to sign up!

What are the facilities like? 

Unlike some of the arenas and stadiums this feature has documented in recent weeks, a public park is probably one of the easier locations that will be mentioned, both for us to describe and for you to imagine! However, take it from me, the park is set in 109 hectares of open parkland in South Manchester, with historic and ornamental woodlands, herbaceous borders, formal bedding, open grassland and beautiful wildflower meadows. In addition, there are three Grade II Listed Buildings located within the park: North Lodge, the Statue of Oliver Cromwell, and Wythenshawe Hall. Furthermore, during the 1926 regeneration of the area—led by Manchester City Council in partnership with Lord and Lady Simon to help Wythenshawe become ‘The Garden City’—the park was given to the city ‘to be kept forever as an open space for the people of Manchester’. But of course, neither the park nor the run are exclusive, and anybody would be more than welcome to compete in this cheery Christmas competition.

Tell me something that I didn’t already know…

Well, aside from the individual details of the run itself alongside the history of the featured facilities, there leaves very little to insightfully inform you about! Yet given we are a only matter of days away from the start of December and the opening of the first door on our advent calendars, as well as the dreaded search all over for that elusive £12 Primark Christmas jumper, it is only fair to try to focus on the true meaning of Christmas; not the giving and receiving of presents or eating enough chocolate until you explode but instead thinking of and helping those less fortunate at this time of year. This is something, however, that our hosts Greenmount Wild Bird Hospital thankfully do all year round, since they are a group dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of injured, ill and orphaned birds. Founded in 1979, the group is run by a team of volunteers who work tirelessly to rehabilitate around 1200 ill and injured wild birds each year and hand-rear hundreds of orphaned or abandoned baby birds. They always aim to release each bird when fit and well, and work hard to treat any species of wild bird.

Finally, when can I see this in action?

The 2015 and fifth Manchester Christmas Pudding 5 Mile Dash takes place on Sunday 29th November at 11am. For more information and if you have any questions, please visit: http://www.nice-work.org.uk/events.php?id=51

If you have any requests for local teams, sports or events taking place in Manchester, or if you wish to be involved, please contact: sports@mancunion.com.

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