Race Report: Fowlmead Challenge

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This is a ‘challenge’ rather than a ‘race’ – there’s a six hour time limit and you can run as many 3.3mile laps as you like.  I did this as part of my Stockholm marathon training and to celebrate  a friend who achieved the amazing 100 marathon club status this weekend at a mere 28 years old. What’s even more amazing is that she only started her journey three years ago.

I really enjoyed this race. I’ve done a few trail runs now and I recommend the community spirit with both Saxon and White Star Running. There’s no snobbery, no pressure on time and achievements are celebrated accordingly (with champagne and cake, natch).

BCRC Fowlmead

We stayed in Deal, in the beautiful Royal Hotel. They were lovely and accommodating to our early breakfast needs, so we managed some porridge, toast and coffee before heading to Fowlmead Country park, about 5k down the road.

The race started at 9.30 with excellent race instructions.  With about 80 participants, race number pick up was smooth and very personal.  Baggage was a tarpaulin next to the aid station/Race HQ.

The rules were simple:

  • follow the path – not the tarmacked cycle track
  • collect a band for each lap you do
  • ring the bell to signal the end of your final lap

The feed station was at the start/end of each lap and the tables groaned under the weight of the goodies on offer – peanuts, pringles, crackers, jam and scones, fudge, brownies, jaffa cakes, chocolate orange…. There were also boxes of an assortment of gels as well as blackcurrant and orange squashes, water and even a bit of fizz for the finish.  The snacks were a definite incentive to finish each lap!

My race strategy was to finish before my friend did in order to see her presentation. Eight laps was a full marathon. We got to four relatively easily, and I was actually still spotting new bits of the route! There were two hills, a windy section and a downhill-ish section. The park is an old colliery so there was plenty to look at.

I decided on my fifth lap to do 6 – 20ish miles. That’s a good training run and I wanted to stop while I felt good, bearing in mind that I’m road running a marathon at the end of next month and last week’s long run was 15 miles.

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We got a massive cheer when we rang the bell after six laps and were personally presented with a medal that is about the size of my face and a brilliant goody bag – beer, chocolate orange, matchmakers, crisps and biscuits. No leaflets or flyers or bags of rice.  There were also showers and proper bathrooms, which were appreciated before the drive to London.

I really recommend the relaxed marathoning approach – you run somewhere pretty and everyone is so friendly. I bumped into a friend I’d met at a Dorset race and her daughter was wearing  a UEA jumper – small world!

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Further reading:

http://www.saxon-shore.com/index.html

Full results:

http://www.saxon-shore.com/fowlmead_challenge/

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