Monday, January 12, 2015

Marathon 41 of 60

Here I go again, heading off to another of Traviss's events, the Martello marathon, this time at Sandgate a bit further along the Kent coast from the last one I did in Dymchurch, last December.

My route took me along the coastal road past this array of wind turbines on Romney Marsh. They started operating in 2009 amidst much controversy and you can see more images here. I thought they looked particularly striking as dawn was breaking so I stopped to take some photos.

It was a 2 day event but I only signed up for the 2nd day. Thank goodness for that as on the 1st day there was a really strong wind with heavy rain with a bit of hail thrown in for good measure.

When I found the car park near the start (after a bit of a detour and having enlisted the help of a Council worker in his clean-up lorry to put me back on the right track!) the sun was just peeping over the horizon. I leapt out of the car to try and capture the moment before I phoned Mike to let him know I'd arrived in one piece. I always find Dawn and Sunset magical moments.

Then it was off to register and collect my number before heading back to the car to get my bits and bobs together. You can see Elanor, Traviss's daughter, standing at the aid station but I wish I'd taken a close-up of her hat, scarf and mittens as they had a fab design of owls on them!

People arrived in dribs and drabs, some familiar faces, some new ones. The first people I met were Carolyn & Bonnie together with her friend Rob, seen here with Bonnie. Bonnie always gets lots of attention because she is such a gorgeous and friendly dog and she always looks so happy running along with Carolyn! 

Traviss held a race briefing at the start and although it was still windy we were assured it was nowhere near as bad and that if we complained then we'd probably get a slap from those people who'd run it the previous day!

There was a welcome back to Paul aka Darth Vader who was making his comeback having taken a nasty tumble in December in which he tried to remodel his face and jaw and got rid of a few teeth into the bargain (ouch!) and celebrations of 50 & 100 marathons & 52 marathons in a year for other runners. He also made a presentation to Ruth for whom I made Happy the Hippo to celebrate her 300th marathon. Although her 300th was last year she hadn't submitted her marathon sheets for approval so hadn't received her special medal. Btw, she's now run 352 marathons and is on target to get to 400 by the end of this year.

Rachel, Traviss and Ruth

Not the prettiest funicular railway but you can get a feel for how steep the cliff is from this photo - more info here
The route was out and back along the seafront which was 4 loops of 6.55 miles going from Sandgate towards Hythe. I don't think I've ever been to Sandgate before and all I knew about it was that H G Wells lived there for a while. Apparently we ran past one of his houses.

I won't do a blow by blow account but just show some photos taken en-route. I've had to be selective in what I show because I took 71 photos, many of which were because I liked the patterns or texture of something (to include in my mood boards for craft projects)!

The first short bit from the start took us to this turnaround point - glamourous hey! Then we headed along the sea wall towards the 2 Martello Towers, which we didn't actually pass which surprised me. There's a bit of information about Martello Towers here. Some Martello Towers have been turned into holiday homes.

This  building looked distinctly nautical
There weren't many people about first thing as it was scold and windy. On the outward section we were running right into the wind and it really slowed me down but then of course the way back felt much easier. En-route I chatted with several different runners, one of whom was Brian who I first met last year at Karen's double-marathon in Dover. He was heading towards his 1000th marathon which he 
passed ages ago and is now on 1032 (I think). Amazing.

I'm not sure that this structure is but it was next to lots of colourful beach huts (sadly my photos of them were blurry and not worth showing)
From a distance I thought I was approaching a Martello Tower when I saw this building, seen in the next 3 photos, but it is in fact Sandgate Castle which was built in 1539.

I loved the design of these apartments with the little sail on the side

There had been a high tide which had washed lots of gravel and stone onto the footpath so it was a bit difficult in parts. Not too bad though.

When we started out there were several fishermen setting up tents. They just seemed to sit in them for a few hours until the tide started to come in and then it was action stations as they all took their rods down to start fishing!

 Apparently, when the tide comes right in they stand up on the path we were running alongside which would have made it even more crowded.

Here's Mandy going for an 8 mile training run. She's training for her first marathon in May but was there to support her partner Gary who was running the 2 marathons. Look how quiet the path is - it got really crowded later on with dog walkers (dogs mostly off the lead) runners (not part of the marathon), cyclists (who hurtled along the path) and people just out for a stroll.

I liked the design of this cycle route signpost. It's in the shape of a mermaid's tail as this area is known as Mermaid Beach (or is it 'Bay'?). There was a cafe named the Mermaid Bar but it didn't look very inviting! I was on the lookout for mermaids after that but I only spotted one in a garden - see below.

We ran past a rowing club and I liked that they'd used an old rowing boat as a planter alongside the road.

These apartments were built on a slant so that everyone has a balcony without restricting the light for those beneath

This little fellow was standing guard atop his wall playing at 'King of the Castle'! His master was busy in the garden and we had a little chat at one stage.

I'm collecting seahorse designs for a project at the moment so was delighted to find these 2 houses close by

Seagulls having a morning nap

Another Beacon - I've spotted a lot of these recently

I was taking a photo of this house because I loved the design of the porch with the small windows in its roof to allow light in. Then I spotted the stone mermaid which was a bonus

So how was my run? I was trying out my new Hokas which I'd worn in by using them on shorter distances for about 120 miles. The verdict? Very comfortable with no rubbing and I didn't feel the concrete sections that had aggravated my arthritis so much during my previous 2 marathons. Excellent.

I felt strong throughout and just enjoyed the experience, stopping to take photos and chatting to passers-by who were interested in what we were all doing running backwards and forwards. An elderly gentleman even gave me £1 for my charity which was very sweet of him.

There was such a friendly and supportive atmosphere amongst the runners and the lovely people at the aid station who stood around for hours getting blown about. It's the camaraderie that I enjoyed most of all and it's so nice to watch the speedier runners zooming past.

Here's my lovely medal. If you look closely at the badge on the ribbon you'll see that I've reached 100 miles in Traviss's events as this is my 4th marathon with him. Bring on the next one, that's what I say.

Oops, I nearly forgot to mention my time - 5:00:15. The 15 seconds caused me to utter an expletive (well, I uttered it 3 times actually!!!). How annoying to be just over the 5 hour mark by so little. But then, if I will stop to take photos etc. what do I expect.

Thanks to everyone involved for yet another great event. I'll leave you with this lovely photo of Carolyn and Bonnie. Awwh!

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