If it's September it must be Folkestone
With the Folkestone Coastal 10K – planned for Sunday, 31 May – postponed for just over three months, September is going to be a busy month for races in the historic English Channel port town, nestled between two cliffs at the southern edge of the North Downs in Kent.
We've all been missing our trips to the coast during the coronavirus travel restrictions, so why not make definite plans for a visit to glorious Folkestone this autumn? Both races enjoy views across the English Channel – to France on a clear day – and benefit from scenic courses.
Folkestone Coastal 10K boasts a flat, fast course on Folkestone Promenade towards Hythe and back again, with course records held by Paul Whittaker (Southend, 32:08) and Maria Heslop (Tonbridge, 36:49).
There is an entry limit of 1,000 and typically 700 starters, although this year's ninth annual event is selling fast following the postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year's winners were Tom Millard (South Kent Harriers, 34:06) and Becky Morrish (Tonbridge, 40:19).
The race starts at the eastern end of the redeveloped Folkestone coastal park, near the bottom of the Leas Cliff Lift. Chip-timed and completely traffic free, this is an ideal race for relatively inexperienced runners as well as speedy club athletes.
Having warmed up with the 10K, there is the perfect gap of three weeks to prepare for the 15th Folkestone Rotary Half Marathon on Sunday, 27 September. And there is still plenty of time to catch an early bird entry discount available until 30 June.
Race HQ is the impressive The Grand Hotel on The Leas and the 2020 race will raise funds for the Folkestone Youth Project - The Original Shed. Although the course produces fast times, runners will recall the Road of Remembrance that provides the 'sting in the tail' on the climb back up to the finish after an early descent onto the lower promenade.
Course records are held by Phil Anthony (Invicta East Kent, 1:08:00) and Tina Oldershaw (Tonbridge, 1:21:05). Last year's champions, in extremely challenging conditions, were Rhys Boorman (1:14:43) and Hannah Roberts (Petts Wood Runners, 1:33:16).
Images courtesy Folkestone Coastal 10K (above) and Folkestone Rotary Half Marathon (below)