Hooky Christmas Canter Report by Caroline Ogden

I picked Tara up at a very reasonable time (09.45) as the race didn’t start until 11.00!

We left Eynsham in thick cold fog but by the time we reached the heights of Chipping Norton the sun had come out and Tara was searching for her sunglasses. That was short lived as we descended in to the fog again.
We arrived at the pavilion in Hook Norton in our fancy dress costumes and sat in the car for a while to keep warm and Tara making the difficult decision whether or not to wear her Christmas tree headband. (She did!)
We collected our numbers and went back to the car.   More and more people were arriving in fancy dress and they all looked great. I saw an elf and a snowman walk past my car and realised it was Jackie and Adrian Pinnock!
We all lined up for the start of the race in various imaginative Christmas attire and we were off. About 4 minutes in to the run we had the first hill.  This is a long, muddy, slippery climb usually with a lovely view to reward you at the top. This was not the case today as the fog was still really thick. 
On I plodded through the mud and along a bit of road/lane and back in to a field. Down a very steep bit of hill across to the village and church. Back on the road again towards the drink station where we had a choice of water and warm mulled wine (I had both!).
I carried on to a nice downhill stretch followed by a not so nice long uphill road section. Back in to the muddy fields where Barry Cornelius the photographer was waiting to snap our pictures. I always manage a smile and a thumbs up for Barry mainly to hide how I’m really feeling 😂🥵
Back on to another uphill road section with the marshal shouting at me not to slow down as I was being chased by a flock of sheep and a Christmas pudding!!!
A push to the end with a few more inclines and styles to climb, up in to the last stretch and the finish line. All finishers are rewarded with a mince pie and mulled wine and winners of all categories are given a Christmas pudding. 
If anyone fancies doing this, approximately 7 mile multi terrain race in December 2022 I advise you to enter early as it fills up very quickly. Although this is an undulating course it is good fun and a good start to the Christmas festivities.