Robert Latala (Ashford & District RRC - pictured) returned to successfully defend his title at the sixth annual Folkestone Coastal 10K on Sunday (28 May) but he was tested by a talented 15-year-old. Latala ran the fast, flat course on the Kent seafront in 33min13sec, but Charlie Brisley (Invicta East Kent) was only three seconds in arrears at the finish on his 10k debut.
Robert Latala defeated 525 finishers last year to collect the £100 winner's prize, an incentive that was also present this year. With the warm and, rarely for these parts, almost windless conditions it was cat and mouse to the halfway turn at Hythe Imperial Hotel and golf course.
The return leg towards Folkestone Harbour saw Latala, Lloyd Worsley of Folkestone RC and the precocious challenger Charlie Brisley form a breakaway pack of three. The final kilometre is arrow straight into the finish and it was only in the last few strides that the victory was secured. Home club runner Worsley (33:41) held on for a well supported third place.
Leading masters were M40 Steve Hobbs (Victoria Park Harriers, 35:23); M50 Terry Knightley (Ilford AC, 39:08) and runABC South reporter Alan Newman (M60 Paddock Wood, 41:44), who had a good view of the action ahead! Richard Dyer (Folkestone RC, 51:45) was top over-70 runner.
Tina Oldershaw (W50 Paddock Wood, 38:50) upgraded from second in 2013 to win a close women's race from W40 Sarah Gruber (Invicta, 39:02) and Claire Gill (39:21). With the first two athletes being among Kent's best masters, Gill was the first senior finisher. Higher age-group prizes were claimed by W45 Geraldine Larham (March AC, 41:50), W55 Sally Wade (York, 50:50) and W65 Sue James (Paddock Wood, 52:51).
Nearly 200 athletes broke 50 minutes on this swift course. Nigel Hales (Hawkinge Hurricanes RC, 54:19) marked halfway and there were a record 607 finishers in 1:25:58. Our man on the spot's verdict: “Folkestone Coastal 10K is a fun, frantic dash along the prom towards Hythe and back, with charity at its heart. The organisers have tweaked the event since it started in 2012 and were rewarded with a record field and possibly the best weather to date." Well worth noting next year's date – 27 May 2018.
Image courtesy Folkestone Coastal 10K