About a week before the Folkestone Coastal 10k, I pulled up the local weather forecast and saw RAIN, RAIN and more RAIN. Not to worry I thought, there’s plenty of time for the forecast to improve, and anyway, these meteorologists are always getting it wrong. As the days counted down the forecast slowly started to change, but unfortunately not for the better!
Arriving in Folkestone on race day the weather was absolutely awful. The driving rain experienced while traveling down had eased off slightly by the time I had made my way to the seafront, but it was the wind that was the main feature of the day with gusts up to 40mph.
The course runs along the seafront, starting from the old amusement park site, heads down towards Hythe and then u-turns after 5K for the return leg. The route is generally flat and the organisers had provided a water station at around 3k which you then pass again on the way back at about 7k.
Car parking was easy to find and only a short walk from the main meeting point. I’m sure on a nicer day the start/finish area would have been a little more welcoming, but there is no disguising that it’s a wide open wasteland, although the bell based artwork ‘Out of Tune’ by Norwegian artist A K Dolven gives a little interest to the area.
After trying my best to get warmed up in the wind and rain, it was great to get underway right on time at 10:00 with a field of around 550 runners. With the nasty headwind the first 1k marker seemed to take an age to appear, but once it did I was in my stride, had warmed up a bit and was feeling good. Being right on the seafront there was no let-up from the gusting wind and it was just a matter of digging in and trying to keep a reasonable pace. After the turn at 5k there was instant relief as the wind became a helping hand and it felt easy to up the pace. The finish line came into sight with around 1k to go and with a final push I’d soon crossed the line.
The route was well manned the whole way and the marshals were as cheery as could be expected in such awful weather. Spectators were a little few and far between but it was great to see those that had made the trip out.
As the elevation graph shows, the route along the coast was fairly flat and would be ideal for PB’s on a day without the headwind pushing you back.
The race was chip timed, which I always like, and a medal was given to all finishers along with a bottle of water, packet of Walkers crisps and a Sainsbury’s basics chocolate bar.