Deal, in the English East Coast, Kent county, two hours away by train from London. Six days after the Dirty Running Marathon, and with Siberian cold in the forecast, I go for the last UK marathon, probably in a long time. The marathon´s name comes from a race that took place in the same premises between 2013 and 2016, the Kent Roadrunner Marathon, in which I run already in 2014. The organisation of today´s race bought the remaining medals from those years and decided to add the “ghost” to the race title, and make a good use of the medals excess. Each runner will be able to choose the medal among the available ones. Registration price was £30.
With a very strong wind and a 9.30 start, an Uber gets me to the start area, in the Betteshanger Country Park, about 3 miles from the town centre. It is a cycling track, closed to the traffic, that has been totally rented for the event. Its outline is sinuous, but flat, with the tarmac in perfect conditions and 2 miles in length. 12.96 laps will make for a whole marathon. It is a pity that the visitor centre is under renovation, but there is a small coffee shop with toilets nearby to get changed just a short walk from the start line. With around 2°C, gusty winds and no many chances of improvement along the day, I go for long tights, and a long-sleeved t-shirt with a vest on top, and obviously gloves. And we go for it… Laps start going by, but they don´t feel repetitive as in last weekend race. The track is circular, instead of going out and back following the same route, and there are different areas, one with trees, one with curves and so on. Not boring at all. As the laps start falling I start lapping runners, but I am lapped also (to get an idea I got lapped twice by the winner). Laps control is done with a plastic card, that is holed every time we cross the start line, where it is located the food station, that is well supplied. Getting to the last lap we get an English flag to make the honour lap. With no time keeping during the race I finish just shy of the 4 hours limit, in 3.59.41, for a 16th place out of 77 finishers, in the coldest conditions I remember from all my marathons.
The medal, one of the identity signals of this marathon before, is enormous. I go for the 2016 one. Without much time left before heading back to the airport, and no shower facilities, I go back to Deal, eat a pizza to recover some energy and get onto the train. I will need 4 hours, 3 train changes and 2 buses to get from Deal to my hotel just in Gatwick airport. I almost had forgotten about the maintenance works during the weekends. Luckily it is my last stop before heading back home tomorrow morning. If I had wanted a “double”, there was still another marathon in the same track tomorrow, but it would have been more difficult to get back home on time to work on Monday. Despite this, satisfied with getting 2 marathons under my belt in just under a week during my short travel to British soil.
Score: 4.5 (out of 5)
Pros: closed tarmac track; medal
Cons: no public transport from Deal to Betteshanger Country Park; the ongoing renovation works in the visitor centre