A guide to local races for 2017, part 2

In the second section of this two part blog (click here for part 1) I review those races that I have taken part in during the second half of the calendar year. Again, I have included the advance entry prices, where applicable – the normal entry fee is stated first followed by the entry fee for runners who are affiliated to an England Athletics registered running club. Where a price or time is yet to be announced I have put “TBC”.

Romney Marsh 10k – Sunday 9th July 2017, 10am (£16/£14)
This course is described by the organisers as ‘pancake flat’ and I cannot disagree too much with that. There are one or two very minor undulations but nothing that would challenge you. This race is another great opportunity to bag a personal best over the 10km distance although with the race taking place in the middle of summer it can get very hot, even at 10am in the morning. Another well organised and marshalled event which takes place on quiet country roads around Romney Marsh (hence why it is so flat). I would certainly recommend this race to runners of all abilities.

Uckfield Lions 10k – Sunday 9th July 2017, 10am (£10)
This race is run entirely off-road around the Buxted Park estate and through local wooded areas. There aren’t any obvious hills to tackle, although the course is undulating and the varied terain will make it more of a challenge than your usual road course. It is a very low key event and entry numbers are likely to be around 200 at the most. I enjoyed the race very much and was fortunate with the weather when I ran (overcast and cool) – it would certainly be much more of a challenge if the weather is warmer as most of the course is exposed.

Mid Kent 5 Miler – Sunday 23rd July 2017, 9am (£14/£12)
A real favourite of mine and another great event which takes place in the village of Staplehurst. The run starts and finishes at the cricket club with free parking on the field and is run entirely on quiet country lanes. The course design is a lollipop route whereby you go out, around and then back along the road you went out on. The first couple of miles are flat with the next couple very slightly undulating and the final mile is again flat. It is a great opportunity to get a fast time and a nice distance to race. The event is popular and numbers are likely to be around 300.

Sevenoaks 7 – Monday 28th August 2017, 10.30am (£16/£14)
This race takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Knole Park in Sevenoaks and is run entirely off-road (a mixture of grass and path). The course is 2 laps and for those who don’t know the park it is very hilly, so not for the faint-hearted! The lap starts off in the valley and then climbs up for around 800m before settling into a generally undulating route and eventually makes its way, steeply back down toward the valley for the second lap. It is a well organised event and well attended by local club runners as well as non-affiliated runners. I intend to race this event this year as it is good training for the cross country season. Depending on the weather I would advise trail shoes for the rough terrain, although if it is considerably dry then road shoes should be fine as there are some sections on path.

Greathed Gallop 5 – Sunday 3rd September, 10am (£8/£6)
This 5 mile race (previously known as Dry Hill 5) takes place in Lingfield, Surrey and starts at the same time as the Dry Hill 10 mile race (£15/£13 advance entry fee) with all entrants being set off at the same time. The route is run mainly off road with one small section that crosses a main road (on the way out and back) but which is well marshalled. I’ve only run the 5 mile course previously and so cannot comment on the 10 mile route which splits off after the first couple of miles but there are some undulations involved and much of the route is on quiet, one-track roads and fields. There aren’t many flat sections but no real hills worthy of noting either.

Weald St Georges 10k – Sunday 3rd September 2017, 10.30am (£17/£15)
Taking place in the village of Sevenoaks Weald and mostly run on road this is a lovely little event with plenty of food stalls and activities for the children located on the green at the start/finish area. The course itself starts off on road and quickly goes down and back up a short sharp hill. It continues on road for some time before going off-road for a mile or two after which you re-join the road and retrace the starting mile, climbing back up that hill and finishing on the green (good for a sprint finish).

Petts Wood 10k – Sunday 8th October 2017, 10.30am (£15/£16)
This event has a similar feel to the Weald St Georges 10k, with lots of food stalls and activities but on a much larger scale. The route is run on a mixture of roads and through some pleasant trails. I ran this race in 2013 when there was torrential rain for much of the run and I ended up running through ankle deep mud for the last couple of miles although I think that this was a freak event but certainly worth taking into consideration!

Tonbridge 10k – 22nd October 2017 (£17/£15)
This race is run mainly on road, with a short section using an uneven farm track and the last kilometre or so on a narrow path. I ran this race in 2014 and haven’t run it since due to cross country commitments. It isn’t one which I would recommend as there is a mile or so on a main road which is not closed to traffic, although it is well marshalled. In addition the final kilometre is run on a very narrow section of path along a main road and it would be dangerous to overtake. Again, I would suggest that headphones are not permitted at this event.

Brighton 10k – Sunday 19th November 2017 (start time & price TBC)
This race takes place along Brighton sea front and is a flat and fast course (dependent upon the wind of course). The event was in fact cancelled in 2016 due to the strong winds that were brought in by storm Angus. I didn’t find the race particularly exciting and it does attract quite a large crowd. I found the start area rather cramped and felt the organisation, particularly for bag storage, left a lot to be desired. If you’re just after a PB then this race is a good opportunity to get one, but of course it is weather dependent!

Crowborough 10k – Sunday 3rd December 2017, 10am (price TBC)
The most challenging 10k road race that I have competed in! Yet after completing it for the first time in 2013 I have since returned on two further occasions, most recently in November 2016. Despite the challenging course (two laps which include a kilometre long incline which has a ford at the foot of it), I find that it does have an appeal to it and I have met others who keep returning year after year. It’s one of those that leaves you thinking that you could improve on your time next year! A very well organised event by Crowborough Runners, with plenty of marshals out on course. The route is run entirely on roads which are not closed to traffic (with the exception of Palesgate Lane) and therefore the wearing of headphones would not be permitted.

End of year 10 miler – Sunday 31st December 2017, 10am (£17/£15)
The third and final race set in the wonderful village of Staplehurst and yet another cracker. The course is run all on road with only some minor undulations except for a gradual hill just after half way – the final couple of miles are flat or on a gradual downhill, so worth conserving your energy for a final kick. The event is popular but only attracts a couple of hundred runners. It is a great way to end the year and to run off all that Christmas food!

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