Ha, that got your attention, what’s that got to do with running I hear you ask! Well read on and you shall find out.
In all my years on this planet and despite the fact I live in Kent, I have never visited Dover – my mother may correct me on this but I certainly can’t recall it and if I did, it was probably a transitory visit en route across The Channel.
But yesterday that all changed when I took part in SVN’s Tolkien Run at Samphire Hoe. Samphire Hoe is a nature reserve created from the excavations from the Channel Tunnel and lies at the foot of the Shakespeare Cliff between Dover and Folkestone. I’ll be honest, I’d not heard good things about this run route, “boring” being the word that sticks in the forefront of my mind.
I can understand that description if you’d been there on a gloomy day in the winter months and not been able to see passed your nose. But on this particular morning, the sun was shining and you could see the coast of France in the distance, together with the many cross Channel ferries, Folkestone harbour and the occasional high speed train – so some things to distract you. The 6k course wasn’t exactly as flat as I’d been expecting apart from the long section on the sea wall. The first and last part of the out and back route was a bit undulating but I’ve experienced worse.
For anyone interested, here’s a description from the website –
“Samphire Hoe is an amazing place. There is something for everyone who enjoys the outdoors and wildlife: a stunning location and outstanding scenery, peace and quiet, walks, wildflowers, birds, sea angling and picnics.”
The bit they forget to mention is the herd of cows – some with small horns – that roam the reserve, although they were referred to during our run briefing. At 8.30am we set off from the visitor centre and as I approached the summit of the first “hill” I spotted the cows – as they stampeded across the reserve and stopped right next to our path! And there they stayed, for the rest of my run at least, although at some point they decided to sit down and just watch, menacingly, as I ran/walked quickly passed! My four laps meant I had to face this ordeal eight times!! Thank goodness I wasn’t wearing red!
This is not the first time I’ve come across cattle on an SVN run. In August I took part in the Darnley Challenge and there, highland cows with even bigger horns lined both sides of the route up towards the Darnley Mausoleum. What is the etiquette when you come across horned beasts – walk quickly but respectfully passed with your head down avoiding all eye contact or sprint passed hoping they don’t notice?
Suffice to say, I survived both my encounters and yesterday’s run also meant I achieved my 2017 goal to run twelve half marathons in twelve months although technically it was eight months because I ran the first one on 21 January and the twelfth on 20 September!
Anyway, Samphire Hoe can’t be that boring because today I’ve been looking at some of the other events they are due to hold there. Although I don’t suppose I’d be so lucky again with the weather.
I also got a spectacular piece of run bling which glows in the dark!!