Race Reports - December 2019

15/12/2019 - The Christmas Cracker 5m

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Report by Amy Stevens

On Sunday December 15th the Coastal Striders descended upon Betteshanger Country Park full of Christmas cheer and good tidings. There was a huge turnout for The Christmas Cracker 5 mile run and plenty of people had turned up in Christmas fancy dress, spreading the festive spirit further.

Despite the cold weather, gale force winds and the looming rolling black clouds on the horizon (slight exaggeration, but I like to build the drama….is it working?), the Coasties all gathered together for a pre-race photo, some chatter and…..wait for it…..prizes for the best dressed Christmas Coastie! Lorna and Darren had the privilege….nay the HONOUR, of awarding myself (Amy Stevens) and Mark Baker with the prizes for best dressed Christmas Coastie. And what a good-looking Christmas cracker and tree we made! My trophy now sits proudly on the shelf in my lounge (*wipes a tear of joy from the corner of her eye as she types*).

By now those gale force winds have picked up and as we all line up to start the race, we wonder “will we finish the race in Kent or Kansas?!” I click my sparkly red shoes together for good luck (or rather my orange webbed barefoot trainers) and we’re off! The top of the cracker bangs against my head, whilst the wind howls around me……someone should of warned me running in a costume that makes me feel like if I trip and fall I’ll never make it to standing again, was not such a good idea! Anyway, the course consisted of a two-lap route along the tarmac cycle path- flat and fast- a good course for those going for PB’s. It was fantastic seeing so many men, woman, children, reindeers, Christmas trees, Santa Claus’s (I’ve never seen Santa so slim!) and Elves running, laughing and just having a jolly good time. In spite of the cold and windy conditions (especially rounding the corner on a particular part of the course! Whoosh! I thought I was going to end up a pulled cracker and someone would find me in two halves!) everyone pushed on to complete the 5 miles. Maybe it was the Christmas cheer driving everyone forward or maybe it was the prospect of a drink and a mince pie waiting at the finish line…nom nom!

As I rounded the last corner and could see the finish line, it was wonderful to hear music playing, supporters cheering and a super speedy Darren Sayer (who had already finished like 10 hours before!), waiting with a medal to hang round my neck. That is one thing I love about the Coastal Striders, the support and encouragement everyone receives is amazing and I cannot fault it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the race, running as a Coastal Strider and feeling like part of a big, warm Olaf hugs, supportive, fluorescent orange family. Lots of people managed PB’s, including me! Yes, despite feeling like a peperami in a wrapper whilst running, I managed to get my fastest minute mile to date of 7:56! No idea how! Darren Sayer was the first Coastie to complete the Christmas Cracker in a time of 34:42 and finished in 15th position. First Coastie woman to finish in 57th position, was Rebecca Glasgow with a time of 40:29. A big Coastie cheer to you both!

After everyone had received their medal, filled their bellies with mince pies and had collected a cute tiny little Christmas pud, we all said our goodbyes and headed home to put on warm pyjamas, have a cup of tea and a well-earned rest.

Would I run The Christmas Cracker again? Ho-ho-hopefully (see what I did there!) as it was a lovely flat course, a nice route through Betteshanger Country Park and 5 miles is a good distance to push yourself and aim for a PB. (Note to self: consider a different, more easier Christmas costume to run in next year!)

02/12/2019 - The Alan Green 10 Mile

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Race Report by Carla Carter

This was my first time running the Alan Green, I had heard different opinions and generally that it would be hell if the weather was rubbish. On arrival at Palm Bay School HQ I struggled to get out of the car due to the high winds. I soon found my team of frozen Coasties and picked up my race number. My before run photo made me chuckle for the reason of the saucy number and that we were standing in front of the ambulance. We all posed for our group photo and due to the wind chill we were keen to get moving. The Thanet Road runners had it organised well with over 400 runners of which just under 50 were Coasties, we all took our places on the start line shivering and shaking ready for the 9:30 start

We began running in a bit of a loop before heading along the coast towards Margate. With the wind behind us it was nice to take in the coastline and look at lots of lovely old buildings on Cliftonville seafront, passing the Lido and Margate Winter gardens. So much so, that I missed the first mile marker, when I said to my running buddy Kate, this first mile is going on forever, she told me we had already passed it and was coming up to the second one. Happy days, two down, eight to go!

Continuing downhill we passed the Turner Gallery greeted by more cheery marshals who saw us safely across the road and sent us on our way along Margate promenade and onto the coastal path from Nayland Rock along to Westgate. There was lots of lovely cafes, I liked the look of the bus café, a nice distraction! Fast runners had begun on their journey back and we were desperately hoping to see the turn around , we hit the 5 mile marker and I felt happy to be half way there. Runners on their way back cheerily encouraged us telling us the turnaround was close and we kept on plodding. It was lovely to cheer and encourage each other, with marshalls handing out water and jelly babies, my last ten mile race was the Great South Run with steel bands, crowds and buses full of people applauding this race didn’t have that but we were each other’s cheer leaders.

After the turn around, the wind was fully against us no longer pushing us along but against us, at times I felt as though I wasn’t moving at all. The return route was along the same course we had already run on the way so we knew we had Forte Hill coming up, small strides up and we made it. Counting down we hit miles eight and nine and as we approached the finish we could hear the announcement here come the Coasties, always in two’s! Kate and I crossed the line together. Just over two hours of running was rewarded with a medal and cake.

Despite the challenging conditions our team of Coasties got some amazing achievements & PB’s

Would I run it again? It’s a gamble on the weather running a race in December so maybe, probably.

Well Done to Everyone that took part and thankyou to all at Thanet Roadrunners who braved the cold to host the event.