Thursday 18 January 2018

Kent Fitness League 2017/18: Minnis Bay

The fifth fixture of the 2017/18 Kent Fitness League season was Minnis Bay. It is one of those venues that some runners love and others avoid like the plague. The reason lies at around the 7 kilometre point where the course leaves the main path and the runners have to face the six dykes (or ditches).

In true cross-country style the dykes are generally muddy and possibly also full of water - depending on how wet the weather has been dictates how muddy they are. Typically you'll find a few slightly muddy dykes and one or two really muddy ones filled with water which is sometimes above knee height.

photos: dani / eden summers

The January 2018 race attracted a field of 381 runners which was a record attendance for this venue. This was probably aided by the decent weather forecast. My club, Dartford Harriers, won the team competition, but as we have such a strong team, I was not one of the scoring runners. In the three occasions I have now run here it was the first time I haven't scored for the team at this venue.

Anyway, my race was fairly non-eventful. I started close enough to the front to avoid any holdups and was able to run at my chosen pace/effort level almost all the way round. The long outward 4 kilometre stretch parallel to the seafront was slightly splashy and ensured that my feet were soaked through from an early point in the race.

photos: funk dooby / brian pitkin

I find the toughest things about this course are the long, long stretches of running in a straight line. The course is essentially one huge triangle. Underfoot was generally quite uneven with patches of stones every now and then which I tried to avoid as I was wearing my spikes. The turn inland was followed by more running in a straight line, and then more of the same alongside the railway line.

It wasn't long before those dykes were upon us. One of the runners in the group I was in made a move and got a few spaces ahead which reduced his waiting time for each dyke. By the end of this section he had gained about 20 seconds on me. I've noted this tactic for next year.

photos: funk dooby / dawn granger

I had a further hold-up during a short, twisty, single track trail when the runner in front of me took this a little slower than he had been running. This resulted in the runners behind me gaining some ground. I was well and truly knackered towards the end and after running over the four sand dunes didn't have much left for a sprint finish.

The full results were available a few days later and I was pleased to have beaten my previous year's time. It was only 2 seconds faster, but I'll take it! Lastly, there were quite a few great photographers out on the course, so I'd like to say a special thank you to you all for capturing all the great moments in this race.

photos: dawn granger

Official Results Page: KFL Minnis Bay January 2018

My results:
Overall position: 81 / 381
Gender position: 77 / 262
Age category position (VM40-44): 10 / 25
Official time: 43.17
Rating: 70.99

Other links:

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