The 2015 renewal of the Clif Bar Kent Roadrunner Marathon saw perfect conditions for an event that is now one of the best loved on the south of England calendar. Blue skies and a cool breeze combined with the fast flat multi-lap course at the Cyclopark near Gravesend to provide ideal PB conditions for the event organised by the innovative tzruns team.
The field of 400 took full advantage, many recording their fastest marathon times. Both course records fell - the men's mark was lowered by Yorkshireman Simon Newton (Ackworth Road Runners) who broke the tape on 2:40:42 taking the record and a handsome cash prize.
It was another Northern raider - Hannah Oldroyd (UKnetrunner) - who dominated the women's race. Hannah not only ran a perfectly paced race to finish in a record time of 2:53:45, but did so wearing a cow hat and tights! Hannah even found time to perform a mid-race hand-stand without slowing! The Yorkshirewoman was obviously caught up in the unique 'Roadrunner' atmosphere generated by the cow-related fancy dress theme, participants encouraged to 'showboat' for the cameras, premium medal and a visual treat of red, white and blue with half the field wearing their Roadrunner vests.
Vassos Alexander, known to millions as the sports reporter from BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans Breakfast Show, added to the atmosphere on the day - somehow finding the energy to cheer on all the runners while completing his own race. The lapped course meant the speedy guys were always mixing with the rest of the field, creating a unique supportive and friendly ambience throughout.
Among the heart-warming stories of personal bests and debut marathon achievement, a special mention goes to Mark Ellis (Sleaford Town Runners) and his club mate Mike Folland. Mark overcame his blindness to complete his first marathon and celebrated his finish with a great deal of excitement thanks to the tactile sense from the enormous finishers’ medal.
Entries are already open for the 2016 CLIF Bar Kent Roadrunner Marathon (28 May 2016), with the race almost 50% full in the first 48 hours. More details at the event website.