I’ve got to that point where I’m trying to combine life things with a race… It was on my merry way that I drove down to Deal, nr Dover, Friday after work to catch up with some old friends (I used to live there many years ago) and con one of them into doing her first 10k. It turned out it was actually 13k but officially a 10k.
For once I was sensible the night before and we headed to the race, up in Langdon Cliffs overlooking the Port of Dover mid morning. As you can see below, there was still ice on the ground at 10am and it was a bit of the parky side!
The race start set up was a small walk from the car park and it had everything needed. No frills but did the job, race number collected, cup of coffee grabbed and stood outside for the half marathoners to go before we had our race briefing. At this point I saw very experienced racers abandoning common sense and putting a many layers as you would to go skiing! Yes it was cold, but the sun was just breaking through and judging by the 1000ft of incline, you were going to get pretty warm ! We then watched everyone take off said layers after 5 minutes and carry them the rest of the way.
Anyway, the race briefing was very funny (a real common sense briefing with a lot of humour thrown in) and we were off.
The course basically went from Dover Docks to the coastguard station, memorial, down to St Margaret’s beach, back up a million steps cut into the cliffs, back along through St Margarets, up to the coastguard and back to the start. What a course and the views were amazing over the channel. The main challenge we had was not slipping over as the marathoners and half marathoners had been over the first bit of the course which, with the sun unfreezing the ice, had turned into slippy, sloppy, chalky mud. Good fun though and my friend was, after a couple of k, thinking she had been sold something a little different to a normal 10k.
As you can see from the pictures, beautiful day, great trails and a lovely race. The last finishing mile was fantastic with the finish in view and hearing swear words and general grumpiness from my running companion. Any attempts at encouragement were not well received by this point. Oh well, it amused me to keep trying until I got the bird thrown at me !!! (she did apologise profusely afterwards and admit she did enjoy the race).
The finish was like an ice rink and I slipped into the side of the finish arch as gracefully as an elephant in high heels. I’m definitely coming back next year, if they re-run it as this was their first year in Dover, but maybe the marathon or Ultra as would be a great day out!
Please check out the look of “once I can walk I’m going to kill you” and the mud that was caked to our shoes:
My only could do better points were:
- the start was straight into a kissing gate so everyone had to wait 5 or so minutes to get through. Just make the start after the gate
- the bling, whilst well received at the finish, was a bit rubbish, especially when compared to other similar races and was the same for all distances.
- the T-shirt, again whilst very nice is not made for a non skinny runner. I got the XL and it will go in the drawer with many other T-shirts that I hope to wear one day but can’t see it being any time soon.
But I don’t want those points to be the last thing you read so a running life lesson:
When you fall over onto someone, don’t say “thank you very much for the soft landing, it was like landing on a pillow”. she didn’t take it very well….