June 2024

Race Reports - June 2024

23/06/2024 - Sandwich 10k


Race Report by Robert Darg

I always look forward to this race, even though it tends to be one of the hotter ones in the Calendar-its flat for a start, the course winds through closed roads in Sandwich town centre , which adds to the atmosphere and its also flat (did I mention that?). A very popular race with all the Running Clubs in our part of Kent, with nearly 400 entrants and there’s always a great turn out by The Coasties.

This year was no exception with over 30 club members racing, Marshalling or Supporting the Club runners.

There was an air of nervous expectation as the start time approached, possibly because there were fewer porta loos than last year....but there was no hanging around and the three waves of runners were off on time, with a lap of the school playing field before heading out into the Town Centre and surrounding lanes for two laps around the town before heading back for the finish.

As ever, I had a clear plan for running each phase of the race starting with some slower Kms to get used to the heat, building to a quicker last third to ensure I had enough for a real push for the final lap of the playing field to the finish line and as ever, that went straight out the window! I went out far too quickly and by the third km realised that I couldn’t keep that up for another 7k,so had to slow it down.

It was lovely to see and get encouragement from the Coasties on Marshall duties around the route-what a difference it makes!

The route through the town then changes into footpaths and country lanes, some shared with traffic; everywhere there were residents and spectators cheering us all on, which really lifted the runners flagging in the heat. I always look closely at the leading runners as they turn back into the town, as us mere mortals are still chugging out on the other side of the road..if they are smiling then conditions are looking good for a faster finish-if they’re not looking happy, then not going for it too soon is a better idea! This year “grim determination” was the look on their faces, so I stuck with Plan B.

The Seventh and Eighth Kms seemed to last forever, but suddenly I was passing the 9 km marker and needed to get my head ready for the sprint finish (well, I call it a sprint just to differentiate from my usual plod). Just as my legs were trying to convince the rest of me to call an Uber, the school came into view and the adrenaline kicked in. I was in a small group of runners, all picking up the pace for the last 200 metres across the grass to the Finish Line. Somehow I managed to get past all of them and then stay in front ‘till we crossed the line, finishing over 2 minutes faster than last year.

The first Male finished in an awe inspiring 33mins 37secs.,first Coastie over the Line was George Major in an amazing 36 mins 40 sec. First Lady finished in 39mins 40secs. Some fantastic efforts from the other Coasties with 387 finishers in all. It was great to see so many Coasties that has finished their race stay behind and cheer everyone else in; that really does set us apart from many other clubs and shows how supportive we really are with each other and to other runners.

09/06/2024 - Saxon Shore Half Marathon


Race Report by Maura Wood

Well, I was having a quiet start to my year, but heard the boys talking about doing the Saxon Shore half marathon quite a few times during club runs, so I decided to give it a go. It was supposed to be fairly flat, so how hard could it be, right?
The morning preparation went well. I had my porridge, my ‘go to’ fuel for ‘race day’, my Sporcks socks were clean, and I found easy, free parking near the Church. Another good omen, right?

Arrived at the race headquarters on Tower Hill and found fellow coasties hiding under a canopy, fumbling with the usual stash of safety pins & timing chips. This was a nice moment as I don’t make it to many club runs, so I had a chat with some folks that I don’t normally see. I also bumped into a dude I follow on socials who was looking for a podium place, we had a wee chat & I wished him well.

Even the warm up went smoothly with local expert Daz finding the loos with no queue. Result! When does that ever happen on race day?
Then it was time to line up in waves at the start line. At this point we had all clocked that we were starting on a hill, so we were going to have to run back up again later. Still, it didn’t look too menacing, we’ll worry about that later.

I was in Wave 2, so off we went! The first km is always a jostle to find your space and not trip up with the flurry of legs around you. But it was all fine. My plan was to focus on my breath for this one. The first 5k was straight-forward, uneventful.

Then, we turned. That dreaded turnaround point when you realise the wind on the coast is lovely if you’re out for a nice leisurely stroll, but not so nice in a race. The graft started for real. Back along the coast for 5k against the wind. I didn’t have anyone to hide behind, would have if I could! And who failed to mention that the last km back to the HQ is pretty much an incline?

Luckily, it’s a two-lap course and we got a reprieve from the wind for another 5k. I tried to regain some ground at the beginning of the second lap and settle into a better rhythm. One lovely feature of this race is that there are quite a few well-wishers along the way, strangers shouting ‘go on, girl’, this gave me a lift. It’s also nice to see the fellow coasties running when the out-and-back course overlaps, but I could tell from the faces that we were all getting hammered, except for Daz, he is always smiling, how does he do that?!
In preparation for the nasty final 5k I knew was ahead of me, I stopped by one of our own, Jake, who was marshalling for the day, took a gel and a swig from his flat sprite! Thank you, Jake.

Just coming in to the water station for the final time, I got the dreaded stitch. But again, humanity prevailed; the marshal at the water aid station helped me to calm down, take a breath, take on water & get moving again. Went around the turnaround point again and back into the wind. I knew my time goal was gone now & it was just a matter of getting to the finish line. Again, the atmosphere on the way back was good, one jovial group gave me some big high fives and kept me smiling.

The second slog up the incline to the finish didn’t seem so bad this time around. There’s a nice little downhill prior to entry to the finishing stinking-hill, but we made it to the end!

The young lad whom I’d spoken to earlier had got 2ndplace, nice! And questioned why he didn’t just stick to cycling. Ha Ha. I think we were all questioning our sanity today. Why do we do it? The Bling, yes, it’s a really cool medal, proudly hanging on my rack now, but gently cajoling to get my mileage up before I attempt something silly like that again! Top 20% for age group and female was ok but I know

I’ve got potential for better times than I managed today.

Well done to all the coasties, see you out there again soon x