Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Marathon 42 of 60

The weather forecast had been dire for Sunday - torrential rain, massive high tide, strong winds. Hey ho I thought, another 'character-building' marathon. But on Saturday the forecast was modified to add heavy frost for the Saturday night just to add a bit of extra fun to my journey the next morning. I was heading for Pegwell Bay which lies between Ramsgate and Sandwich on the East Kent coast.

My journey planner told me it was 53.9 miles away and would take me 1 hour 40 minutes but I allowed extra time for icy conditions. I'm so glad I did as when I got up it was -6 degrees and none of the roads had been treated so the country lanes were pretty slippery as the rain that had fallen the day before had frozen into glaciers! Even the major roads were icy so I was glad to arrive without incident.

When I'd parked up I took in my surroundings. The sun was starting to come out and it felt much warmer than it had earlier so I was glad I'd chosen layers which I could peel off or put back on if I got too hot our cold.

The first person I met was Carolyn with Bonnie the dog who was doing her 20th marathon. That's Bonnie doing her 20th, not Carolyn who's done considerably more than that.

Rachel was busy as usual registering runners and handing out numbers.

I'd taken along some JDR leaflets for her as she speaks to groups of Carers, some of whom care for people with dementia, which she'd kindly offered to hand out. Thanks Rachel.

There were lots of friendly faces. Here are Sharon and Mark with the Thanet ladies. Mark was doing the full marathon distance but the ladies opted for 1/2 marathon. That's the beauty of this event; it was a 'challenge' which is a timed event with multiple laps so you could choose how many you wanted to complete within the time limit of 6 hours rather than a fixed distance. It's such a lovely idea which encourages people to just have a go without any pressure.

As always at Traviss and Rachel's events there was cake. Just look at this beauty, created by Heather, which includes the cycle-route post and a replica of the Viking longship as well as a bird.

Speaking of the Viking longship, here's the replica. It had covers on to protect it over Winter. You can read a bit about it here and see a photo of it uncovered.

As usual this was an out and back route, rather like a figure of eight, and for the marathon distance you had to complete 8 laps. I love going past people and high-fiving/hugging/hurling abuse or encouragement as required! I liked the mixed terrain which was a mixture of cycle track, tarmac, grass, mud and concrete. Going one way it was really quite hot but then coming back the wind was quite strong at times and I held on tight to my cap in case it got blown away.

At the start Traviss announced that someone was doing their 50th marathon and I realised that, touch wood, I would be completing my 50th later this year at one of their events. When I started my marathon journey back in November 2004 I never dreamt that I would run so many but they have served as a fantastic tool for getting publicity for ARUK and dementia. It was also Melanie's 100th marathon and I was delighted to see her heading towards the finish line to celebrate her achievement.

I'll let the photos do the talking now. They are not in any particular order as you can see the day started with a bright blue sky but became overcast towards the end but they give a feel of the magic of Pegwell Bay.

I tried desperately to resist stopping to take photos on the first lap but by the second lap I just couldn't help myself as it was so pretty.

The area of marshland by the coastal path. You can read a bit about the wildlife in the area here

A Christmas tree? Loved these baubles shining in the sun!

Ponies used as mowing machines to preserve the habitat

What looked like Highland cattle - again, possibly used to manage the grassland

What a lovely village sign (this is a contentious issue in our village!!!)

A finger post for the National Cycle Network similar to the one I saw in Sandgate

Oooh, what are they doing? You'll get a better view when I head back down the hill…..
….aha, kite surfing!

A not very glamourous but functional cafe.

This didn't come out as well as I'd hoped. The whole shrub was covered in the most amazing yellow lichen which glowed in the sunlight

The first time I saw this I thought it was a workman's hut…...

….but as I ran past I heard voices coming from within! There were lots of twitchers out bird spotting.

On my last lap the tide was further in and the sun had disappeared. I love its wild beauty and the muted colours of the grasses in so many shades of brown/grey and green.

My favourite photo of the day as I tried to capture the sunlight glimmering on the sea. It was so pretty.

Each time we finished a lap we were given a coloured wristband. Rachel said I was "high maintenance" cos I wanted a different colour each time!
In my previous post I mentioned that I was rather dehydrated which is most unusual for me. I noticed that I was sluggish for the last 2 laps and I really slowed down. I'd taken on water after each lap so I was surprised when I saw that I was dehydrated (runners reading this will know what I mean!). I wondered if it was due to weaning myself off my asthma medication which had been giving me side effects I'd rather not suffer. I was soon back to normal though so perhaps it was just a blip.

Here's my beautiful medal - what a corker to add to my collection.

Well done to everyone who took part, especially to Mandy who completed 20 miles as part of her marathon training - you go girl!

It was lovely to see so many familiar faces and I can't stress how friendly these events are. If anyone is thinking about having a go at longer distances I can highly recommend Traviss and Rachel's events.

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