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The Thanet 20

There was no sign of this family on the beach at Broadstairs this morning, or on any of the other beaches along the route of the Thanet 20 mile road run.

This was my first 20 mile race of the year and it was hard work. The course itself is a bit of a demon, with switchbacks, steep climbs and narrow paths to negotiate. There’s also, at 18 miles, an extraordinary run past fields of daffodils. If only my legs hadn’t been hurting so much, I would have enjoyed the view.

The day started poorly. Someone had forgotten to unlock the gates of the car park, meaning there was gridlock around the Pfizer Social Club where the race started. But I managed to find a parking spot and prepared myself for what I knew was going to be a very challenging morning.

It’s an ‘out and back’ course, but it has been cleverly designed so that actually the front runners don’t meet that stragglers like me to often. The stewarding was excellent, with lots of water stops and people everywhere giving out jelly babies – much appreciated!

I didn’t manage to run the whole distance non -stop. My running companions and I all flagged at the same point, just after the 15 mile point, immediately before a steep climb up from the beach to the gardens on the cliff above. After that, I lost my stride and found myself walking for portions and then running a little more – something I haven’t found myself doing very much of at all this year. But this was 20 miles, not a half marathon, so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. And the goody bag at the end was great – a commemorative bath towel and a medal. And a great chat with a South African with whom I’d run/walked the last few miles as we both hobbled back to find our cars.

My final time: 3hrs 28 minutes. By no means a disaster, particularly after a very disappointing (and painful) training run last weekend.

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