The Whitstable 10K is a good old fashioned race on the North Kent coast that sells out its limit of 750 runners earlier every year. It is run by runners for runners and has a special atmosphere that draws people back time and again. The 17th edition, organised by Canterbury Harriers, was held on May Day (May 1st).
The course records set by Michael Coleman (31:48 in 2004) and Charlotte Dale (32:54 in 2005) were never going to be troubled on a typical Bank Holiday, with early rain followed by a cold wind against runners on the long promenade finish.
The race has an unusual claim to fame as it has been won outright by a woman, not once but twice. The prodigiously talented Charlotte Dale was first onto the shingle beach in 2002 (33:05) before repeating that extraordinary feat three years later. The 2003 European Junior cross-country champion is now a local personal fitness trainer.
This year’s event was a Dartford club special as Sam Proctor (Dartford Road Runners, 34:11) got away from Ed Bovingdon (Istead & Ifield Harriers, 34:31) and Terry Reeves (Dartford RR, 35:45) in the men’s race. Anoushka Johnson (Dartford Harriers, 42:32) nursed a sore hamstring to the line ahead of Dawn Saunders (Plumstead Runners, 43:11) and Claire Pluckrose (44.08). Dartford Road Runners won both men’s and women’s team prizes.
Whitstable takes a simple approach to charity by donating £1 of every entry to Demelza House Hospice Care for Children. The prizes are also in monetary form and there are plenty of opportunities to blow any winnings on fish ‘n chips or liquid refreshments after the race.
The Whitstable May Day celebrations in the town are well worth seeing, particularly the Jack the Green musical procession accompanied by the colourful Oyster Morris side and dancing at the Castle.
Full details are at the race website