Lydd 20 Mile

Date: Sun 8th March 2015

Race capacity: Not an issue! (383 finishers)
Distance from Brighton & Hove – 63 miles. Parked on a country road 50 metres from the start line & Race HQ!

Only 63 miles away, but a different world entirely. Pootle along the A27 and then the A259 (Hastings, Rye, Romney Marsh) until you get to the mighty Lydd Airport (or as an ex-Ryannair employee no doubt conjured up “London Ashford Airport” – I kid you not). Keep going for a few more miles, avoiding the 747s and A380s, and come to a quiet farmers field. Run for a couple of hours around flat country lanes (no road closures required). Win the team trophy. Collect prizes. Escape back to civilisation before the farmer’s daughter invites you for a tour of the barn. Drive the wrong way down a one-way street in Bexhill. Survive. Get back to B&H tired but euphoric. Well, mildly content, anyway.

Four brave marathon men (Alan S, Gary M, Ben S & Dorian R) from Arena planned an adventure a long way east. They needed a chauffeur. That’s where I came in. Dorian dropped out, citing infected nasal hair. First 3 counted for the team prize. Ben looked strong for 10 miles but spied an attractive heifer at the turn, which b#ggered up his negative splits. Or he just got a bit jaded. Gary was playing Ultimate Fartlek, with his miles either taking 9 mins or 5 mins depending on the colour of the crop in the next field. Alan did what only Alan can do – run like a 2-legged millipede on heat – to come home in a fantastic time of 2:05. Still unsure as to whether Gary was going to walk or sprint the last mile, I plodded home in 2:10. Gary strolled in 2 minutes later, looking as fresh as a daisy. Ben extricated himself from his predicament, fought the annoying headwind that appeared from nowhere (a bit like the Tesco delivery van that blocked the road at mile 12) in the last 3 miles and sprinted over the line for a very respectable 2:20. So Arena managed 8th, 15th, 16th and 36th places to claim the Blankety Blank cheque book & pen of race prizes – a bottle of English Red Wine each. Made from imported grape juice. With the £4 price tag still attached. Dare I even inflict it on a Coq au Vin? Save it for paint-stripping methinks.

What else to say? Well organised (as all Nice Work races seem to be), chip timing, half marathon alternative, flat & (did I mention?) rural course. Pretty good value at £18. Plus half a tank of fuel! Three dead turns were slightly annoying, but in the scheme of things not very important. The Kent-based clubs (especially Canterbury) were still trying to work out how they’d been mugged of the first prize by the Sussex upstarts by the time we’d left the county line. Never to return…                                  

…Worthing had better put their 20-mile race back on next year, or there’s a danger we’ll feel the need to head back to defend our title. Maybe we’ll fly there next time. 

Dan Vaughan, 19/03/15