People share the empowering reasons they go running on Christmas Day

Get your trainers on before you open presents this year (Picture:

What does Christmas Day look like for you?

Food, presents, food, alcohol, rubbish TV and more alcohol… or some variant on those key elements is the usual set up. We love it, and it’s the same every year.

But some people – more than you might expect – strap on their trainers and pound the pavement every Christmas Day, and they say it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

We spoke to some of these keen festive runners to find out exactly what it is about a Christmas Day jog that feels so magical. You might just be inspired to peel yourself off the sofa for a brisk spin around the block.


I run first thing in the morning on Christmas day as a Christmas present to myself!

It’s the only time in the day I know I will have any me-time.

By being selfish for the first part of my day it will make me more selfless and tolerant the rest of the day when I need to put the wants and needs of my family members first (sisters, mum, nieces and nephews, inlaws, dogs!)


‘For me, it’s my Christmas present to myself’ (Picture: Anna Harding)

I love running on Christmas Day because it’s a chance to join in with the running community.

I usually go to Parkrun, wherever in the country I am. Last year it was Worcester with my sister, and this year will be Coventry with my mum – dressed up in my ‘christmas jumper’ running top, of course – the more festive the better!

The sense of camaraderie among a group of strangers all coming together on Christmas Day to share in our joint passion is very special. It’s also a chance for me to get my family members to join in with my hobby by running a 5k together.

It clears your head and allows you to have some time away from the often frantic activities that go alongside Christmas Day like all the cooking and clearing up after.

Like any day I go for a run, it makes me feel ready to take on the day ahead. It also makes me feel a little smug that I’ve been up and out before anyone else. There’s a special feeling about it.

For me, it’s my Christmas present to myself.


I love the Christmas day run as I can go out in the morning while it’s still dark and finish my run as the sun has risen, so I get to see the day start.

Going out at about 7 am or earlier means pretty much empty roads. Just me, my thoughts and a few other runners. I then head to Walsall Parkrun and marshall and watch people of all ages, some dressed up in a Christmas theme, starting their day with a run at 9 am.

A Christmas Day run also means everyone you run past is so friendly, everyone shouting ‘Merry Christmas’, waves from the few car drivers that are on the road, and fist bumps from other runners.

The last two years I’ve also gone out about 3 pm, so running as dusk comes in and it gets dark again. This run sets me up for the evening as I have to cook our vegetarian Christmas dinner. It helps me to relax and I feel I’ve earned a bigger slice of dessert.

For a lot of runners who are training for spring marathons, you need to get out Christmas Day or Boxing Day to keep to your plan, but it is the friendliest day to run, especially if you can attend Parkrun.


I ran last Christmas Day. It was my first Christmas Day without my children all day, as I separated from my husband last summer.

The day was very painful and I missed my children terribly. So I went out and ran a half marathon through the beautiful countryside alone in the freezing cold weather.

It helped to lift my spirits and pass the time without my children. I also ran the quickest 13.1 miles I had ever done, and earned the chocolate and Prosecco I had later that day.

I plan to do the same again this year.


As a Life Coach, one of the things I’m very passionate is building consistency in to the habits that promote and better our well-being, physical and mental health.

Running really ticks these boxes, and why stop on Christmas Day?

Doing a run on Christmas Day just feels that much more special.

Taking an hour out of your morning to switch off, express gratitude for the day ahead with family and loved ones and reflect on the things that have happened over the year and the things that are coming up.


‘It’s a good little chance to look back at the highs and lows of another year’ (Picture: Katie Oakes)

I love a quick run with my sister on Christmas morning.

She lives in the States so we can’t run together much and that day, more than ever, it’s not about timings or targets, but about getting outside before a day of eating and drinking.

And – without sounding very cheesy – it’s a good little chance to look back at the highs and lows of another year. It’s nice to know, whatever’s happened, we’re back doing exactly what we were doing the year before.


I run on Christmas Day because it was something my dad always used to do when I was younger. I always thought it was weird at the time, why would you want to waste Christmas Day wearing yourself out?

When I got into my 20s though, and started to run a little myself, the idea started to appeal.

I like it because Christmas Day can be slightly claustrophobic, with lots going on, so the chance to get out in the fresh air for half an hour or so, away from the chaos and with just my own thoughts really appeals.

When we are in Yorkshire for Christmas, the day is quite structured, so I run after breakfast and present opening and before Christmas Dinner.

By the time you get back, not only do you feel incredibly virtuous, but ready for a good feed! Running on Christmas Day always seems to invite cheer from passers by too, so you get lots of jolly well-wishes as you pootle along.


‘We live in different cities so the only time we get to train with each other is over the Christmas period’ (Picture: Tashi Skervin-Clarke)

What started as a way to shake off a Christmas Eve hangover has evolved into an epic speed session with my family.

It used to be a Christmas Day 5k or 10k, depending on how I was feeling, but over the past few years my brother and I have ditched the steady-paced long runs and use Christmas Day for an opportunity to challenge each other with a speed session.

We both love running and run track, but we live in different cities so the only time we get to train with each other is over the Christmas period.

My cousins and sister sometimes get involved too. This is why I love running at Christmas so much – I get to run with my family.

The first time my husband spent Christmas with my family, he was horrified to find that he’d married into the kind of family that gets up and goes for a run on Christmas mornings!

I usually run within an hour of waking up, so the session starts at around 9 am. Any later and it begins to cut into the Christmas fun.


I have not run before, but I am planning to run on Christmas Day this year for the first time. I am training for a 10k winter run and raising money for cancer research.

I have never been a runner. I actually didn’t like running up until recently. I have lost three people within the last two years, so I took up running for health reasons. I am also a freelance social media manager, so I am home a lot on my own – running helps me to get out of the house and stay sane.

The more I run the more I enjoy it. If I go for a run first thing in the morning I feel energetic the rest of the day.

We are not only celebrating Christmas but also my son’s birthday on the 25 December.


‘It was never a training session, but more a sense of togetherness and family connection’ (Picture: Cara Lea Moseley)

I always go for a Christmas Day run! I have done since I was a young child with my father – he played rugby professionally – through to my own sporting career as a netballer, I’m now 32 and retired this year, and will 100% be doing the same year.

We shared the love of that time together, the company, the huge endorphin boost you get, we talk about everything, laugh, joke along the way.

It was never a training session, but more a sense of togetherness and family connection.

It started in Cornwall when we lived down there (dad lives in Cornwall still) and I’m back in Wales, but we still go individually and ring each other to say; ‘well, I’ve done our Moseley run’.

Ai Lyn

Like most Parkrunners, I look forward to Parkrun on Christmas Day. There’s something quite magical about running at Parkrun on a non-Saturday!

Also, the fun factor multiplies when running at Parkrun on Christmas Day, everyone is always happy, the Santa hats are out.

Not only has Parkrun made running even more fun during Christmas, I love the fact that no-one needs to ever spend Christmas on their own as they can come running and be with so many other people.

I’m looking forward to running at Woodhouse Moor Parkrun this Christmas day.


If you are a runner, why would you not run on Christmas Day? It may be a little far-fetched for some but for me Christmas Day is still another day to exercise, in fact it is the perfect day to exercise.

While many use Christmas Day as an excuse not to exercise, I think it is more important to exercise at this time so that we don’t fall into the Christmas slump, which let’s face it, for many of us makes us feel awful.

Four years ago I made the conscious decision that I was going to start a tradition of a 10k Christmas Day – I was sick of waking up after Christmas Eve feeling hungover and not taking full advantage of the one day in the year which we should look forward too, and feel our best for.

You’re with family and friends, and there is a huge build up round making the day so special, so I decided that I wanted to feel the best and happiest I could.

Waking up on Christmas Day, putting on gym gear and a Christmas hat and blasting ‘All I want for Christmas Is You’ in my ears on my 10k has been the absolute perfect way to start the day.

It is like a double dose of endorphins. What also helps is the glass of fizz my husband greets me with as soon as he opens the door when I get back from my run. Nothing can be more perfect!


It’s a tradition in my family. My parents met through the Hash House Harriers in the 90s in Bahrain, and as a kid I was only really welcome on the Christmas Day run (have you experienced a Hash run?! they’re not really for kids!).

They stopped attending the Hash about 15 years ago but continued to volunteer to host the Christmas Day Hash every year. They get expats, Bahrainis, and loads of marines, all keen to join in with something so fun.

I run with them if I am in Bahrain for the holidays but that happens less and less as I get older and have my own family.

I introduced running on Christmas to my husband’s family and they are all much, much fitter than me, and take it more seriously than I intended. So in my parents’ house the run is around two miles, at 10.30 am after starting on the fizz and sherry at 7 am, in temperatures of around 15 degrees.

In my in-laws’ house in Scotland it is directly before lunch, often through sideways rain, and always involves me desperately trying to keep up with my husband and his siblings!

It’s always really fun though and I don’t feel we’ve done the day right without it. The only year I missed was in 2017 when I was five months pregnant.

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