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Harbour Wallbanger 2023

Plenty To Smile About

Another 'banging' event by Thanet Roadrunners!

There is a race in Kent where everyone hits the wall – and it's only 7K long! Welcome to the Harbour Wallbanger, where up to 300 runners gather in Viking Bay, Broadstairs at a time that is appropriate to allow them to race along the beach to bang a fist on the Ramsgate Harbour wall (it's a tradition to prove to the marshall they have run the full course) before returning to beat the tide to the finish in Broadstairs.

This year's race was held on Sunday 9 July and there were 254 finishers in 1:35:13, including 'Mr Happy' Alun Watkins (1:24:10) who was accompanied on the slippery, seaweed-covered finishing stages by Maz Hall (#123, 50:28) and Rachael Young (#267, 42:41) who had already collected their finisher medals.

As seen in the photo above, the conditions could hardly have been less conducive. The sand, flints, chalk boulders, pebbles, rock pools, and patches of seaweed that make the Undercliff Walking Trail so attractive to families out for a stroll were made treacherous for runners in a hurry by the heavy rain and wind as a storm swept across the East Kent coast.

Despite the additional challenge provided by Mother Nature, the winning time was better than 4min/km pace from the host club Thanet Roadrunners member Jack Bradley (27:44) as he powered through all the hazards to finish 28 seconds clear of M45 Ted Mockett (28:12) of Ranelagh Harriers. Jude Wood (Thanet RR, 28:24) was a close third.

The women's champion was W45 Clare Mullenger (Wimbledon Windmilers, 32:14). Asmaa Hatin (Thanet RR, 33:55) and W40 Elly Maggs (Vegan Runners, 34:32) reversed their runners-up positions from last year to complete the women's prizewinners.

Thanet Roadrunners have told runABC South that the race has helped to raise £1000 for the lifesaving Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance and £600 towards track and floodlight hire for their thriving junior section. The young members of the host club have been invited to visit the Air Ambulance base and helicopter, an exciting and educational day for them to enjoy.

Thanet Roadrunners are aiming to be the first carbon-neutral race in the South East of England. Certainly, their 'green' credentials were enhanced with all that seaweed around!

The provisional date for the next Harbour Wallbanger race is Sunday 14 July 2024.

Previous race reports and results are at runABC South race listing here.

Photo: Graham Ó Síodhacháin for Thanet Roadrunners on Facebook

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