Fanatics Christmas Day Half MarathonBy Neil_D It was early to bed for me on Christmas Eve, 9pm but, unfortunately with it still being a bit light outside, warm and people moving around, sleep took a while to overtake me. I had my alarm set to wake me at 5.15am and that seemed to go off shortly after I fell asleep. I stumbled around in the dark and grabbed my gear, shorts, t-shirt and heart rate monitor then out of the door, no breakfast as there wasn't enough time. I drove the 5km to the shopping centre at West Lakes along dark empty roads, wondering if maybe I had the time wrong, was it 7am and not 6am. I saw more headlights as I got closer to the shopping centre so I was ok. I parked the car and wandered down to the gathering crowd of Christmas Fanatics to look for familiar faces. I saw David and Cathy who run with me on our monthly barefoot runs, I saw another friend Ian who had just returned from the west after one of the big Ironman contests in Bussleton. As 6am came we all gathered to sing a Christmas carol which it was agreed was the most harmonious in quite a few years and then it was time to run. Of the 3 distances 8.5km, 13.5km and 21.1km, I decided that I would do the 13.5km this morning. I started slowly, running along Brebner Drive with Ian chatting and catching up on news. Doing this stops me setting off too fast and lets my body get up to running pace in a controlled maner. I did notice, before the race started that there were around 6 people wearing VFF's in the run this year, I did have a brief chat to them, non were ready to shed the shoes completely. I wonder what time they finished in. From Brebner Drive the route takes a right turn for 1km along Frederick Road, we mainly run along the concrete footpath, as this is a unofficial run there is no traffic control or distance markers. We take another right turn at Trimmer Parade which takes us to the south end of the lake before taking another right turn into Military Road that runs along the west side of the lake. The sun was now up above the hills and the temperature rising from its early 15C up to 22C, the air was perfectly still and the lake like a sheet of glass. The magpies were singing away in the trees with their distinctive warble and only the occasional car broke the natural sounds. After 2km along Military Road another right turn into West Lakes Boulevard and the split point between the 8.5km and the longer runs. The 13.5km now turns left along Bartley Terrace for a 2km distance then back along the same route. Only at one point did I hit a patch of the very rough bitumen where I had to run in the gutter which had a steep camber, a small road bridge where the footpath disappeared. Ian did a good job as a pacer as we started on our way back, he split off at the 12km point to run the 21.1km where I ran left along the Boulevard and back to the shopping centre finish. I had a bit of a race against another lady for the last kilometre and we took the same time at the finish with a time of 1:10:54 for the distance. It would have been nice to do 5 minute kilometres but I was just outside that. It was a very enjoyable run anyway, a great way to start Christmas Day. There were plenty of cakes and fruit at the finish line, all baked by various runners. I waited around to meet David and Cathy as they arrived back from their run then I headed off home..... to sleep.