The Kent ‘Road’ Race Grand Prix rolled into Tenterden this morning for a 10k, the 6th of the 10 races in 2023. 20 Harriers were present, 6 Ladies and 14 Men.
Having not run a competitive 10k other than the Club Handicap since 2019, I was quite looking forward to this. From recollection, it was the first time this race has been on the KGP circuit (for a while at least) so a new one for many. Another first was that race number collection required photo ID although this could be a photo of your photocard or passport. As far as I am aware all Harriers read the race instructions and no one fell foul fell of this requirement. After race number collection the most important task was to claim one of the few shady areas of the park with temperatures already edging up into the mid 20’s by 9am.
Unusually for such a small race, the 10am start (for both the 10k and the 5k that was running also) was in 3 waves with your race number indicating your start wave. Not sure how wave assignment was worked out as certainly we had a few of our faster runners in Waves 2&3. What it did achieve was less congestion on the sharp left turn as you left the park at the start which I guess was a good thing and it was all chip timing anyway. It just made things a bit difficult for Bob to tel us who was 11th Harrier based on chip time.
With the temperatures continuing to rise and the undulation of the course unfolding I think most of us ditched any thought of fast times and reverted to the simple goal of finishing. The course itself reminded me of our own handicap with quite a long downhill section on the way out that you know you are coming back up later in the race. Around the 4.5km point the route goes off road around an orchard for approx. 1km before emerging back on the road you came in on for the route back. Looking on Strava the route elevation gain is very similar to the handicap at around 500ft. The course itself was quite scenic on quiet lanes and an orchard outside of Tenterden. Drinks were available as you entered and left the orchard and the race was well marshalled.
1st Male Barry Stephenson in 34:22
8th Dave Weston (TWH) 38:07.
1st M60 Geoff ‘Champ’ Turner (TWH) 45:44
1st Lady Jill Phillips in 42:07
3rd Ali Farrell (TWH) in 46:06.
Notable mentions for Club Men’s Road Race Captain Matt Newman for an AGPB of 42:43 finishing 21st overall. There were 199 finishers for the 10k.
On finishing the race Nicola and I were discussing how we both felt in the danger zone. Not the excessively high heart rate danger zone you might expect on such a hot day but the 11th Harrier home danger zone. Clearly my instincts were correct!
Well done to all that ran today, it was brutal and thanks to Bob for the usual encouragement.