Kent Fitness League roundup 2022/3 by Linsey
So now that the dust (and mud!) has settled on the 22/23 Kent fitness league – its time to review what a fabulous and fun season we had!
The first fixture, way back in October 2022, was at Knole Park, Sevenoaks where 25 Swanley runners took on the undulating 5 miles course through the ancient deer park. Our first runner home, in an impressive 34:20 was Tom Springett and our first lady, Natalie Adams screamed across the line in 41.38. Now as we know, everyone in the team plays their part and after event one Swanley found themselves 15th in the standings.
Next saw the club host the Swanley event with many members volunteering and cheering on all the runners. Ten of the club competed, with Andrew Baranowski being our first runner home in 34:11 (narrowly beating Tom Springett) and Kelly Noble our first lady in 44:08. With so many in the club volunteering it was no surprise to see our standing slip to 16th place.
Our third outing was to the notoriously tricky Oxleas wood – 21 runners braved the woods and fields and over 550ft elevation gain. Sadly two of our runners fell foul to injury on the course. Andrew the Baron was again first across the line for Swanley with Kelly Noble our first lady home. At the end of the third event we crept back up to 15th position in the standings.
Our fourth event came in the new year – with the ever popular Minnis Bay. Whether it was the thrill of the muddy dykes, the post run dip in the sea or the fish & chips in the Minnis Bay Bar the run attracted 23 club runners. The rivalry between The Baron and Tom continued, with this time Tom beating the Baron by just 25 seconds. Natalie again had a fabulous run, crossing the line as our first lady in 53:08. The epic efforts of all our runners left the club in position 15th after this 4th event.
Only a week later we headed down to Betteshanger Park Deal where 12 runners enjoyed a gloriously sunny if cold run around the country park. First over the line in an impressive 39:40 was Jason Saunders and once again Natalie crossed the line as our first female runner. Sadly our standing slipped down to 16th following the Deal event but with two more events to come it was all to play for.
The sixth event was the beautiful Blean Woods. Another cold but bright day as the 12 brave runners looped round the field and up into the woods – keeping one eye out for the resident Bison! What made the event extra special was the celebration of an amazing achievement of one of our wonderful runners. Pete Godbee completed his 100th KFL race (yes I did say 100th!). Pete has been competing in KFL since 2001 and consistently delivers at every event. The post run fizz and cake celebration was very well deserved! Congratulations again Peter.
Petes’ achievements must have inspired many as we shot up to 12th position with some epic running. First man home was Ian Toal, making his first appearance of the season and first lady was Rachel Yates making her debut at Blean.
Our last, but by no means least, event took us down to Dickensian marshland of All Hallows. A brand new event for 22/23 season and one that proved very popular. 19 runners turned out to tackle the challenging mix of foreshore and hills. The sand, shingle and mud certainly made for tough running conditions! Again Ian Toal was first over the line for Swanley with the ever strong Natalie Adams our first lady.
Overall Swanley finished the season in 15th position overall and we should be remarkedly proud of that!
Every runner who completed even one event played their part in what was a rather wonderful season. Huge recognition to Peter Godbee and Derek Hopkins who competed in all seven events. Paul Foreman, Sita and Andy Durnall competed in 6 and Natalie, The Baron & Selena completed 5.
Here’s to next season!
In a blink of an eye yet another month takes it place in history but for many the month means only one thing and that’s getting it that last run before the much awaited taper heading into the Spring Marathon with the likes of Brighton, Manchester & London taking place. (Not forgetting Boston (USA) for those fortunate enough to ring the bell as a Boston Qualifier)
That said, before those hardy souls could head for the start line of the 26.2, a small (very) group of SDAC headed to Folkestone for April’s Grand Prix at the Folkestone 10.
The results can be found in the normal place but well done to Sita, Robert, Tom & Selena.
With the last training runs completed and nerves building 4 of SDAC’s finest headed to the start lines in Greenwich for 26.2 miles of noise, encouragement, aching feet and one of the Marathon Majors – London.
Completion of a marathon is an achievement and if you’re one for stats less than 1% of the population have actually completed the distance so hats off to the following who got to the finishing line along ‘The Mall’
Sarah, Sita, Peter, Terry and Chris (apologies no photo)
One thing to say and this applies to all events is that without the volunteers they wouldn’t happen and yet again SDAC were on hand to volunteer for the day making sure runners were reunited with their bags at the end of the run so thanks to all involved.
Lastly and going on the last monts theme of SDAC on Tour, I headed back to Croatia after a DNS last year to take in the sights and run in the wonderful Dubrovnik. A personal favourite of my mine as a group of us return every year to a well organised event with a beautiful backdrop.
With the KFL completed for another season and the novelty of a new course just a distant memory, some of the team have now started to concentrate on those training plans in preparation of Spring Marathons with the old favourite Brighton kicking off the season in early April.
Winter Handicap – A hard fought battle to the last round this month with the winner in stealth mode until the last event! Well done, Nick!
The first of the 2023 – 2024 Grand Prix took place in earlier in the month at the Dartford Half with 7 members taking up the challenge though please remember to wear those club colours if you wish to have your time count.
The next event on the Grand Prix Race Calendar is the Folkestone 10 miler in early April.
Not being satisfied with the local race others headed out of the county to fly the SDAC flag at Cambridge, Surrey and Brentwood Half Marathons
Zielony Jar Parkrun - Krakow, Poland
The things people do to complete Parkrun‘s Alphabet Bingo…
SDAC on Tour headed en masse for a sleepy part of Krakow to get the letter Z but most of all to make a lasting impression on the volunteers & the locals as a sea of yellow (OK more of a stream) took on the challenge and completed the 4 undulating laps.
Pre-race warm up was a dance to the Macarena followed by a rendition of Happy Birthday, for Linsey, in Polish whilst the race brief, in English, was delivered with assistance by a boy who was probably under 10.
With the total number of finishers in the low 40‘s the yellow army & supporters made up for nearly half the field.
A great morning & one that must be repeated again very soon.
Finally back to starting from the clubhouse though exact details will be confirmed by the coaches.
Weekly runs continue from the Clubhouse.
The above is just a highlight of what the club get up to in any one month with much of the detail shared via various closed groups, but the club is always looking to attract new members so if you wish to learn more or feel you would like to come to one of the sessions, please get in touch by way of the Contact Us link.
Running is there to be enjoyed whether your goal is to complete your first Parkrun or take on the London Marathon.
So with that in mind, SDAC ensures that is the case with an emphasis on the social side of running as well as the training.
As for the training the club caters for a range of abilities so don’t think you’ll not be able to keep up as no -one is ever left behind.