‘Race’ Review: Great Run Solo 12 Runs Of Christmas Challenge 2020

This December challenge was the second (and last as of now) of the Great Run Solo accumulators that I’ve entered, following October’s Hallowe’en event.

It followed a fairly similar formula to the Hallowe’en version, this time requiring participants to complete twelve runs between the 1st and 25th of December. Usually you don’t get the medal until the following month, but on this occasion they sent them out early (before most people had even completed the challenge) so that we could all use the alternative ‘tree decoration’ ribbon to hang them on our Christmas trees!

There were three medals designed for this challenge, and it was a surprise as to which one you would be sent. Mine was a Santa medal, but I’d have been equally happy with a snowman or reindeer!

Great Run Solo 12 Days Of Christmas medal
A little bit of extra sparkle for my 2020 tree!

The basic challenge wasn’t really a challenge for me as I run every day anyway, so my main interest was in seeing how much mileage I could rack up. It wasn’t as much as I would have liked as I was still on a bit of a post-London slump, and so I only managed the lowest of the three certificate levels, but anything was a win in the first part of December.

Post-Christmas I was a bit more refreshed and was able to move onto slightly bigger challenges, which I’ll discuss in the next few weeks!

‘Race’ Review: Great Run Solo Hallowe’en Challenge 2020

I’ve mentioned before that, pre-pandemic, I was absolutely not a fan of the idea of virtual races. I miss real races a lot, and I’m fervently hoping that I’ll be able to race again later this year, even if it has to be in a COVID-secure manner.

However, I also miss medals, and doing virtual races and challenges means I still get medals during this strange time. Furthermore, it gives me extra running motivation, which can never be underestimated, especially in the colder months.

Since summer 2020, with all Great Run events cancelled or postponed, one of the things the Great Run company has been organising is a series of accumulator challenges, starting with the first Great Run Solo challenge over the summer and then monthly since October 2020. Accumulator challenges involve aiming to run (or sometimes walk / cycle / swim) a particular distance or number of runs over the course of a longer period, rather than all in one go.

October’s Great Run Solo accumulator was Hallowe’en-themed – and I LOVE Hallowe’en, so I thought I might as well give it a go, especially as it meant I would get a Hallowe’en medal at the end!

The option was there to log my runs on the Great Run website, but I found it much easier just to log them on Garmin Connect and Strava as usual and then confirm the total mileage / number of runs on the website at the end of the month. In order to finish the challenge, you had to complete fifteen runs, and if your mileage was over a certain amount then you could download a certificate. There were three levels of certificate to aim for, and I think I managed the middle one. Not bad considering I needed a break after the Virtual London Marathon!

I didn’t bother ordering the t-shirt as I have plenty, but I was really excited for the medal to arrive…

Great Run Solo Hallowe'en Challenge medal
I feel autumnal again just looking at it!

It glows in the dark (or bits of it do, anyway), which will be interesting when I finally finish putting up the medal display on our bedroom wall!

This challenge set the pattern for the Great Run company’s monthly accumulators. I’ve not been doing them every month, but the Hallowe’en one wasn’t the last. More on that next week!