Race Review – Relativity Run, Margate

I am just going to leave this here for a while…

Down to Margate. You can stick your Costa Brava, I think I’d really rather have a day down Margate with all the family. And not even down to Margate on a weekend. oh no! Due to arsing up Bowieathon, Comrades, Zermatt and, most recently, Shakespeare Raceway, I found myself having to take a day off work and travel down to Margate…. and get ready for this… IN THE WEEK!

And a Tuesday too, the hair lipped bastard cousin of Monday. The wrong side of hump day, but I would still be in dreamland (get it?) if I could pull it off, and complete my 10th marathon of the year after the last fews days I just had. Here is why:

  • Thursday. Had a bit of a sniffle in the day and started taking Beecham’s Hot Lemon. Went to bed early as wasn’t feeling so hot. Couldn’t get comfy at night because of crazy acid reflux so took some Gaviscon around midnight.
  • Friday. 2am was woken by the overwhelming desire to vomit my guts out. Did so in a back heaving, Exorcist kinda way. (Mental note: It did crack my back at one point and it feels much better now, better than it has for weeks). 4am and everything else in my upper digestive system decided it had FOMO and joined the party too. Woke at 7am with a high temperature and no energy and couldn’t even get out of bed all day. Much sweating. No food.
  • Saturday. Temperature finally gone. Ribs and abs feel like I’ve been attacked with a baseball bat due to heaving and coughing. Spent all day in bed. Able to eat jam on toast. But little else. Essentially I regressed to being a one year old.
Cures all ills
  • Sunday. Still sore. Unable to wear belt as stomach still aches. Just knackered.

But forget all that business. I was determined to head down to the coast on the high speed service, and join the boys (Colin Buttle, Gary and Chris, as well as Ant who would also be there) doing 10 marathons in 10 days. The lunatics!

The land of dreams

Angela’s Attic

I stayed at Angela’s apartment on the water, a tall thin building overlooking one of the bays that I would run around multiple times the next day. I do recommend the guest house, well apartments. Self contained, very nice spaces. Great location. The only downside I would say is at that they are not well soundproofed and so on the quarter hour the old town clock bells annoyed you as regular as… well… you know. Motocycles, the annoying small cc ones that sound like a bumble bee caught in a coke can, raced up and down the street from time to time. And then, after a pretty decent night’s sleep the dawn chorus from the foulest creatures, no not Trump supporters, seagulls. On the roof too. Screeching. Urgh.

are are are are are you awake yet?

To the Race

You read the description at the start of this post. Traviss (the formidable RD of SVN) did not mince his words. Did you have your music player? Yes. Good, you’ll need it to get through. 4 long laps for a marathon plus, 5 laps for an ultra. The green dot was the race HQ. You ran east along the sea wall and into town, around the harbour to a statue at the end, and then back again, past the HQ and the other way as far as possible, turn and come back to get your lap card punched. Lovely jubbly.

Much like the other SVN races there is an underlying theme.  Last year, I believe was the first running of the Relativity Run, celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Einstein’s discovery of the theory of relativity. In it’s 101st year Traviss described it roughly as :

“The theory of relativity can be illustrated by looking out at the course from here. It may not seem far. The distance is only relative to how you feel when you are running it.”

Someone did then point out that based on the theory of relativity that the course in the distance would actually be travelling toward us and not the other way around and with that we were off.

The route

Now, lap races can be tricksy. I have run 4 SVN races before this, at Gravesend cyclopark, Deal country park, and Samphire Ho sea wall and nature reserve and, to be honest, this one was the most scenic. It was not all that gray at all in my opinion.

Lubbly Jubbly

You had the sea on one side the whole way, town and it’s associated graffiti to take your attention, a statue or two, and pretty beach huts. Most of the runners, I am guessing, are locals, and see this every day. I am a city boy, so this was a Jolly Boys Outing for me.

The route was fine for me until you hit the harbour and there, well, the harbour hit you, right in the conk! It was disgusting. Sewage, or seaweed, or something had fallen out of Satan’s armpit and the locals had left it there. It was the Bog of Eternal Stench from labyrinth and we had to run by it not just 4 times,  but 8!

As it measured long they could have put a cone at the Turner Art Museum at the end of the route, and we would be spared half of the stinky trips. Although we would be closer to the gallery that now housed Tracey Emin’s bed.
It’s dirty, crass and unappealing… and so is the bed

After the BOES (Bog of Eternal Stench) you ran along to the end of a pier and around a shell lady statue, before heading back the way you came all the way to the race HQ. Here you can take on cake, crisps, peanuts, or water and squash, have a chat, or simply start the second half of your lap out west.

The western end of the route was longer, and worse in many respects. It was away from town, mostly deserted sea wall other than a few rows of beach huts, and a couple of cafes. One of which I would stop at on my final lap and get a hot chocolate, as you do before heading out and continuing to the end of the sea wall, a barrier that hung over the cliff, and turning around and heading all the way back to race HQ to get your lap card punched.

Jawas in Dry Robes

Most of the SVN team at the race HQ wore Dry Robes. It was on the third lap that I realised what they reminded me of.

Utini! [Translation – let me punch your lap card]

And that was it really. I adopted the Dorey plan of getting things done, just with a more land based slant to it. I completed the first lap in an hour, and the second too.

But the lack of fuel, the cold, the monotony, and the previous weekend’s sickness had taken it out of me. I decided to either: stop, fuel up, then go out, do the third lap and then not stop and go out and get onto the fourth and final lap or, go straight on onto the third lap, that would mean I could leisurely complete the fourth and final lap after eating ALL the food and stopping off at one of the cafe’s on the route, and having a hot drink to defrost. In the end I went for a combination of the two, as I was too cold to care.

The Swag

I describe the 15cm across Einstein medal as a Bo Concept coffee table without the legs. Not far wrong.

And the goodie bag is like someone had ram raided a tuck shop. Probably one of the best going.

The Scores on the Doors

It was an SVN event. I knew what I was getting into. And as long as you do you realise that the route will be laps you will be fine. Those could be dull laps too. The medal will be epic, as will the goodie bag. There will be no support other than the SVN crew at Race HQ, and no tee. It will score lowly because of the categories that I chose. But I am still very glad I did it. It was exactly the kind of race I needed after recent disappointments.

In Summary

Not too sure I would rather stick my Costa Brava, but a trip down to Margate for a midweek marathon did the trick. I am back on for my 12 Marathons in 12 Months for Pancreatic Cancer UK. Two more to go and am done. And, regardless of any stick I get from some quarters, I am still proud of that. It was a lap race but by the sea. Bet it would be lovely in the summer. It just was in the winter. The HQ is well stocked, the medal is great as was the tuck shop in a bag. The team are great. But that is largely it. The SVN races serve a purpose and they ticked the box for me at Relativity Run.
  • Would I recommend the Relativity Run? Probably not. Out of the 4 SVN venues it was my favourite. It was still pretty bleak though.
  • Would I run the Relativity Run again? No. Unless I needed another marathon, but as this is the only year I am running 12 in 12, I won’t need to.


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