Natalie Harvey is the most accomplished athlete to have graced the Folkestone Coastal 10K in the five years the event has been held. The 41-year-old ran in the green and gold of Australia in two Olympics - competing in the 5000m at Atlanta in 1996 and 10,000m in the Sydney 2000 Games - as well as seven World Cross Country Championships between 1998 and 2006 and the Commonwealth Games 5000m (9th, 15:51.94) in Melbourne in 2006. Harvey (South London Harriers, 37.31) - whose personal best for 10k is 32:56 - was a clear winner of the 2016 women’s race from Sarah Pennington (Southend, 40.47) and Folkestone Running Club’s Deborah Jeffery (W45, 41.13).
Harvey adopted British nationality in 2004 and races infrequently nowadays. She was mauled by a dog in Happy Valley, Coulsdon in 2010, while training for the London Olympics and her 100-miles-a-week regime was severely curtailed.
At the time of the incident, Harvey told the Croydon Advertiser: "I'm training to get into the Olympics, so please don't let your dog off its lead to bite me. It drew blood and my leg's all bruised from it. I'm pretty small and this dog probably weighed about the same as me."
There were 494 finishers in 1:41:23 on Sunday morning (29 May) and the top three men were Robert Latala (Ashford AC, 33.09), Lloyd Worsley (Folkestone RC, 33.50) and Nathan Chapman (Medway and Maidstone, 34:42). Martyn Rouse (Veterans AC, 45.28) was an impressive winner of the over-70 category.
The top 20 runners went under 40-minutes in good conditions on the broad promenade towards Hythe, where there are expansive coastal views to enjoy. Despite the quality of the entry, the course records owned by Paul Whittaker (Southend, 32:08) and W45 Maria Heslop (Paddock Wood, 36:49) survived.
Full details are at the race website