Our First Christmas Day parkrun Cheltenham

Christmas parkrun what a good idea for the whole family. Well apart from the fact that most of the family did not want to do it and one point blank refused. However, 5 out of 6 of us did go along and see what it was like doing a Christmas day parkrun. We went over to Cheltenham in the South West.

Christmas Day parkrun Cheltenham

Cheltenham Christmas Day parkrun 2023

Making it so that they didn’t lose too much of their day we headed over to Cheltenham. We have previously participated in their summer and winter courses. The Christmas day parkrun is run on the winter course – obviously. This means that even normally it is a bit more congested. We went along knowing that this was not the day for a PB!

couple at Christmas Day parkrun

What it was Like at Cheltenham’s Christmas Day parkrun

Cheltenham’s Christmas Day parkrun was busy! It was event 499. Some might say this was the one before their big one. However, 499 is also a prime number (not that this is encouraged any more). But also other local parkruns were not running a special event.

It was nice to start the day with exercise and lots of people were in the festive spirit. Either dressed up or a bit of tinsel. Apparently there were a couple of incidents that are being investigated but I didn’t see anything.

Cheltenham Christmas Day parkrun path

In all honesty it isn’t the best parkrun in my experience for people keeping to one side and letting faster runners passed, purely because there just isn’t the room really. It is a congested course and I personally haven’t got a particularly quick time there – so guess my expectations were quite low in terms of trying to do a fast run.

However, I actually found it to be better than usual! Even managing to jeff from the start. Even if everything was a lot slower.

We have previously run there at a festive time of year but not a Christmas day parkrun. Then there were volunteers handing out chocolates. There was nothing like that this time. Guess it comes down to the individual people volunteering.

Cheltenham Christmas Day parkrun Stats

There were 775 of us that crossed the Cheltenham Christmas Day parkrun finish line in 2023. They had been expecting around 500. This meant that they even ran out of finish tokens! Not even sure how they were so organised but they did have a raffle ticket book and information had to be added manually! Big thanks to the Core team and all the volunteers.

parkrun finish token 0534

We had to queue to even cross the finish time so results aren’t really accurate either. Although it was more important to some more than others who felt the need to push in and get a quicker finish time!

Also, as you can imagine, this was a mammoth task for the volunteers and I believe a bit of a muddle was got with finish tokens. Of course adding to this were the funnel duckers!

First place went unknown – so I don’t have a time for them either!

Cheltenham Christmas Day parkrun finishing funnel

However, the range of times was around 16 minutes 44 and the tail walker crossing at 1 hr, 7 minutes and 16 seconds. Officially 397 people crossed the finish line in under 30 minutes. Easy to see just how busy it was for the volunteers!

The best age grade for the day was 82.03% and by a male in the 40-44 age category – with a time of 16:53.


All in all I am glad my family came and joined in. They don’t seem too keen to do it again but I appreciate that they came with me. It may seem obvious to some but Christmas Day parkrun isn’t the time for a PB but more about the community that is parkrun.

2 thoughts on “Our First Christmas Day parkrun Cheltenham”

  1. I love Christmas Day parkrun! It is a real highlight of Christmas Day for me.
    You did really well to get everyone participating. My family have all participated in the past, but these days it’s usually just me and my husband, although the younger two go along for a walk.


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