The Great Christmas Pudding Race: A wacky way to raise money for charity

The Great Christmas Pudding Race is an annual event that has been taking place in each December since the early 1980s. Organized by the Cancer Research Aid Committee (CRAC), the festive and unusual road race aims to raise money for the organization’s charity, Cancer Research UK, through donations and entry fees. In the 31 years that the CRAC has hosted this event, more than $1.5 million has been raised for cancer research. Individuals who wish to participate in this wacky pudding-themed race and contribute to a great cause at the same time should be sure to plan a trip to London this holiday season.

This year, the Great Christmas Pudding Race is scheduled for December 3. At 11 a.m. on the dot, teams of Londoners - with a few tourists thrown in - will take off on an obstacle course along the Covent Garden Piazza, each competing to win the highly regarded Pudding Trophy. However, this is where the similarities with other run-of-the-mill road races all by the wayside. In the Great Christmas Pudding Race, not only are participants required to dress in formal holiday ware, they must also complete the obstacle course while holding a plate of Christmas pudding topped with a spring of holy in their hand. If any of the pudding falls on the ground, the team is immediately disqualified.

Christmas pudding, which is also known as plum pudding, is a traditional part of a holiday dinner in Britain. Composed of brandy, citrus peel, black treacle, sugar, suet and spices, it is usually boiled or cooked in a crockpot for many hours. Once the pudding is done baking, it must be wrapped in paper and hung on a hook to dry for many weeks. Because of the extreme amount of work that is required to whip up these holiday treats from scratch, many English families now simply purchase their Christmas puddings from manufacturers such as Matthew Walker. However, as this dish, which is most often served with hard sauce, rum butter or cream, has been part of the traditional holiday meal since the Middle Ages, it is unusual not to see it on the table of English families on Christmas.