Sunday, November 30, 2014

Marathon 39 of 60

Here I am at the start of my 60 by 60 campaign wondering what I've committed myself to.

At the beginning of this year I'd done 31 marathons and when I told Mike that I would like to try to reach 60 marathons by the time I reach the grand old age of 60 in 2017 he gave me a stern look and said he was worried that I'd be taking on too much.

However, my 2014 challenge consisted of running 7 marathons which brought my total to 38 and we both agreed that 40 seemed attainable and so I booked another 2 to finish off the year. That leaves me with 30 months to complete 20 marathons which, although rather scary, I believe I can achieve, injury and age permitting (and a heck of a lot of training)!

Yesterday I ran the Saxon Shore marathon over in Deal, a seaside town on the Kent coast overlooking the English Channel and I was up bright and early to get to there in time for the 8am start. The weather forecast was good and it was the most perfect weather as you'll see from my photos. The other nice thing was bumping into a fellow runner, Claire, who I hadn't seen for many years.

It was just coming light when I arrived
Some familiar faces at the registration desk. On the left you'll see Brian who I wrote about earlier in the year when I ran the 2 marathons in Dover (he's now well past his 1000th marathon!) You can also see Vicky with her sweet bulldog. Although an unlikely marathon partner, that amazing dog ran 3 laps with her which must have been about 16 miles.
Beautiful sunrise
The course was an out and back route along the seafront which we had to complete 5 times. Although I prefer off-road and trail marathons, I quite like this sort of marathon for a change as I get to see lots of people going the other way on each return - as a slower runner I'm quite used to not seeing anyone for miles.

Before we set off Traviss, the race organiser who I wrote about here, presented 2 trophies to members of the 100 marathon club both of whom, had achieved over 500 marathons each. Amazing and rather humbling isn't it?!

When we set off I settled into a gentle pace straight away and started to take in my surroundings. The sun came out and everywhere looked so pretty and the sound of the waves hitting the pebble beach was wonderfully calming. With the exception of this next photo they were all taken on my final lap as I didn't want to break my running flow (what a load of rubbish, as you'll see later!!!).

After the second lap the sun went behind a dark cloud for a few minutes and I took this photo of the pier as it looked so moody and the sea sparkled.
Now for the main bulk of the photos. As we were running along the seafront we had to share our route with assorted dog walkers, cyclists and pedestrians all out enjoying the rather unseasonal weather. It was certainly the right course to run a personal best time if you were so inclined, which I wasn't as I just wanted to enjoy the day.

I loved this totem pole standing proud between these beach huts

The lifeboat station was having a fund-raising sale and I couldn't resist going for a look (see, what I mean about not being entirely focussed on my pace!) although I managed to resist until lap number 3.

I loved this bright mural painted along a wall

This is the view of Deal Castle from the seafront. It was built by Henry V111 as a defense against the threat of invasion.
The pier, taken from the opposite direction, looks quite different in the sunshine

It may not be the most beautiful pier around but it has its own appeal in the starkness of its concrete piles. It is the last remaining fully intact 'leisure pier' in Kent and is popular with fishermen.

This sculpture entitled 'Embracing the Sea' was positioned just outside the entrance to the pier. I found the size of the man's body disproportionate to the tiny boat in which he sat!

An interesting shelter along the seafront. There were lots of benches all the way along and it was lovely to see so many people out and about enjoying the glorious sea views.

This building fascinated me so I went and looked up its history. I hadn't noticed it until I saw a group of people staring across the road just before 1pm.  The ball used to be raised about halfway up then taken right to the top and at 1pm it was lowered. You can read about it here.
I really enjoyed myself and there was a lovely atmosphere amongst the runners. For a slower runner like me it's really nice when the speedy people cheer me on or say "well done" and it always lifts my spirits. I trundled across the finish line in 5:16 and was quite satisfied with that bearing in mind the time-wasting that had gone on. I expect I'd have been closer to 5 hours if I hadn't dilly-dallied!

As expected, the goody bag was outstanding - just look at the size of this Toblerone (400g).

Many thanks to Traviss and Rachel for another great event - I'll see you again in a few days in Dymchurch for my 40th marathon.

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