Maidstone's Marathon returned to the country lanes south of the county town of Kent after a gap of 23 years as Maidstone Harriers took the bold decision to revive this once popular event alongside their traditional half marathon race. There were only 80 finishers as entries were strictly limited for the 12th event on Sunday (16 October) – coincidentally the same number who completed the last Maidstone Marathon in 1993.
The course was scenic in the sense of Margate’s famous 1920 wooden roller coaster or ‘scenic railway’. A straw poll amongst users of wearable technology revealed around 2,500 feet of ascent on the two-lap marathon route. The same survey also showed that runners in the 29th half marathon ran over distance due to an unfortunate marshalling mix-up.
The marathon took full advantage of every available contour through the villages of Boughton Monchelsea, Loose, Coxheath and East Farleigh, with features like The Quarries, Bottlescrew Hill and Loose Hill that needed no explanation. It was refreshingly not flat or fast but a real test of fitness and character.
Toughest of all was 100 Marathon Club’s Dave Ross (M45, 3:05:47) who ran 2:49:38 for 22nd in the Seville Marathon last year. He was followed at a discreet distance by Darragh Mayon (3:18:35), Alan Middlebrook (3:23:30) and Martyn Millard (3:26:18). The women’s marathon was won by Kiersten Simmons (3:48:32) from Heather Khoshnevis (3:54:14) and Sarah Brooks (3:58:30).
The ‘Godfather of Marathon Running’, Steve Edwards, was fifth overall (3:27:44), completing his 750th marathon since 1981 and 40th this year on his way to an attempt on the world best average of less than 3:20 for 1,000 official marathons. Steve already holds the world bests for 500 marathons (3:12:24), 600 marathons (3:14:20) and 700 marathons (3:16:30).
The half marathon had 376 finishers in 4:25:29 who were headed by Michael Beckett (Southampton, 1:20:34), Michael Major (Richmond, 1:26:21) and Luis Crane (Bexley, 1:29:01) in the men’s race and Hannah Roberts (Petts Wood, 1:43:32), Dawn Sales (David Lloyd Maidstone, 1:44:22) and Rebecca Williams (Thanet, 1:48:19) in a much closer women’s contest.
Images courtesy Katrina Festorazzi at Fast2foto