With one goal in mind – Qualifying for the Two Oceans Marathon in South Africa – We set off to the Kent coast.
Arriving in the Birchington on Sea carpark, we realised that this is going to be toucher than we thought. Labeled as the flattest marathon in the UK, the course runs along the sea wall, and as advertised, is flat. We did not however expect to be facing winds of up to 60km/h heading out to Reculver Castle.
The race consisted of four our and back laps, 5km up wind, then 5km down wind. With the temperature around 3 degrees C, we had our work cut ur for us. The plan was so start off slow and to pick up the pace after lap two. All went well up to around 25km but the wind had taken its toll. The plan to run my first negative split marathon was quickly disappearing so I decided to go to plan B – Just finish this sucker.
I eased into my stride and took a minute or so breather at the last water stop to refuel, a few bits of fudge and crisps later I took on the fierce headwind for the last time. Making the final 180 degree turn felt great, only 5km down wind.
Managed to stroll over the finish line in 4h12m. This promoted me up one seeding group for the two Oceans, Goal achieved!
Side notes: As we arrived, we discovered my left rear wheel had punctured. Just leave it till after the race I thought, will only take a few minutes to change anyway. After I finished the race, I changed and got the spare wheel out. Then the mood changed, I discovered the lock wheel nut had worn which made it impossible to get enough traction on the nut with the useless wheel spanner provided my the folks at VW. I asked around if any of the other runners had a proper one but to no avail. Being in the sticks out on the Kent coast, all the shops were closed, fantastic. I never thought I would be one of the idiots calling the RAC to help me change a wheel, sigh, last resort an all. Luckily there was one place that was open. Minnis, a semi posh restaurant right next to the carpark, so whilst waiting for Rob to arrive in his neon orange van, we had a fantastic meal. Almost worth all the drama.