Ah, the Canterbury 10-Miler, a race where the winds of Storm Isha met their match in the form of 32 strong, determined and in some cases intimidating Harriers and a hangover that clung to me like my faithful and far to regular sidekick. As the starting horn echoed through the Canterbury streets (it really didn’t, I am just trying to create an atmosphere), we embarked on a journey filled with unexpected personal triumphs.
The wind, true to its stormy reputation, attempted to play puppet master with all our paces and if it wasn’t the wind then it was Bridge Hill that tried to defy us, as long as it felt it was no Sausage Factory Hill that we have all mastered and deep down we all truly enjoy…(sort of)
As the course wound its way through the lanes and outskirts of Canterbury, Captain Matt emerged as my unexpected saviour during the final stretch. He became my wind-blocking shield, The last 1.5 kilometres were a blur of determination with Captain Matt’s steady pace and encouraging shouts echoing in the wind.
My personal hangover, though a constant reminder of the previous night’s poor decisions, seemed to fade into the background amidst the cheering and support. The finish line, adorned with a triumphant medal (another one to take a selfie with), marked the end of a race that transcended a lot of individual achievements.
As I stood there, medal around my neck, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for Gem’s electrolyte generosity, Geoff’s biscuit bonanza (where he attempted to bring off road traditions to the roads of the Kent Grand Prix) and his support at the final 400 meters (that actually felt like an additional 4000 meters as I personally fell off a cliff for the final 100 meters knowing that a sub 1:20:00 was safe), and Captain Matt’s wind-defying leadership who pushed me hard through the last 1.5KM’s. The Canterbury 10-Miler was not just a race against the elements; it was a celebration of shared moments, unexpected alliances, and the ‘never give up’ spirit of all runners who will have travelled from every corner of Kent, the garden of England.
So, here’s to you, Gem, Geoff, and Captain Matt and any other of the 32 who may or may not have run PB’s – the unsung heroes who turned a windy day into a memorable journey. May your generosity, homemade goodies, and wind-breaking prowess be forever etched in the legend of Canterbury running. Until the next race, where the wind may blow, the rain may fall but hangovers will 100% NOT linger(I will do my very best), but the spirit of camaraderie will always prevail. Cheers to you all! And onto our own race next where we won’t be travelling quite as far as Canterbury.