The Kent Roadrunner Marathon drew nearly 500 runners to the Gravesend Cyclopark for the uniquely themed 26.2 mile challenge on Saturday (28 May). After 20 laps of the perfectly smooth but undulating bike racing circuit the overall winners were Paul Veitch (44), of St Neots Riverside Runners and Hannah Oldroyd, of Saltaire Striders.
Runners are provided with 20 coloured wristbands to discard in a bin as they complete each lap to help ensure the correct distance is completed. The use of technology is also recommended but there is something tactile and rewarding about the procedure that seems to appeal to the majority of entrants.
Other innovations include bespoke pace bands that can be downloaded and worn on the wrist; a showboating area for extroverts to get noticed with prizes for the best posers; huge medals with a Roadrunner theme and plenty of support as the runners pass the Café at the finish line 20 times!
Paul Veitch’s winning time was 2:46:21, close to his personal best set at London in 2013 (2:41:04) and his excellent run at London this year (2:41:33). His nearest opposition was provided by Tom Oliver (Winchester, 2:48:52) and Ben Stock (Saints and Sinners Fun Runners, 2:55:37).
Hannah Oldroyd (Saltaire Striders, 3:00:45) was seventh overall. She has a marathon best of 2:50:07 from London 2015 and won the Barracas-Navajas Marathon in Spain (2:50:37) last month. Oldroyd was followed across the line by Caitlin Block (3:25:35) and W40 Caroline Hall (Wirral AC, 3:26:58).
There were 50 finishers through in 3:30 and half the field beat 4:20 in excellent running conditions. Followers of the rapid Roadrunner and wily Coyote story have the opportunity of bringing the cartoon rivals together by competing in Kent Coyote Marathon on 18 September 2016 to gain a special three-part, interlocking finisher’s medal.
Image courtesy of tzruns and Stuart March Photography