This was a day I was “on a mission” I hadn’t raced in Kent for a few years, mainly because the last time 2 years ago they hosted it took Alex and I 3.5hrs in the car and we nearly missed the race. This year I came solo from Oxfordshire ( moved last year) with multiple train changes across London and out towards Orpington. I was knackered before the race just in travel and being blown away dogs on their morning run.
The weather got increasingly windy, the rain came down like ice and by 2pm race start (Men and women go off together) we were shivering, sharing clothes and praying it was over! The race went off to a flying start and I never where a base layer, but it was needed today. I thought I was in around 4th place at the start but had miscounted where everyone was, therefore thought the leader was Saron but it wasn’t and when caught by Amy (came with me to Doha 50k) it turned out there were 2 runners ahead from Tonbridge. The course was hilly, exposed, some tough muddy sections even my 12 mil spiked were struggling with along with 2 many path crossings and sodden grass. By the first of 3 laps my feet were like ice and kept thinking I can’t do this, seeing the others ahead Saron/Georgie I knew I needed to continue as every place counts….. On the final lap just glad to be seeing the finish but did get chased down from 8th to 9th from a young Dulwich runner, I surged to get to the line before taking a deep breath.
This was short-lived when I turned into a nurse helping Saron who was in tears with pain on her feet and barely able to walk, she had got so cold and started to drift back in the race into 5th. With Georgie’s mum we carried her safely across the course to the tent (some way on tired legs) to get warm and in clothes. We didn’t hang around when the Bels and Belles finished we packed up, struggled with the tent blowing away and packing the van with hands that lost feeling. I went back to the Team Managers for a Christmas dinner with the rest of the training team, I continued to write this blog on the train at 22:58 on the train home after what’s been a very long day…… On a positive the effort was rewarded with “ Team Gold” for Belles, 5th place for Bels and a lovely meal with great company. Now to rest for 18 mile run tomorrow morning on tight legs, the glory of being a long distance runner!