August 12, 2016 at 5:18
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Fancy a race that uses nature to give the event a clever twist? Fitbitch runner, Andrea Childs reports on a 10km where you battle the incoming tide for the finish line…
A total of six Fitbitches travelled to Worthing for this year’s Beat the Tide, an annual 10k race organised by Sussex Trail Events (www.sussextrailevents.com). It’s a one-of-a-kind event for anyone who knows the pebbly beaches of the South Coast. At this time of the year, the tide goes out far enough to reveal some rarely seen sand, a wide enough strip to run along and indulge your wildest Baywatch Babe fantasies. Unfortunately, having arrived late for the 7pm start, the Fitbitch crew were less Pamela Anderson, looking California tanned in an orange swimsuit; more sweaty, stressed Brightonians in our trademark purple running tops.
It had all started so well. Facebook race page posted in the Fitbitch runners group (we have these for all events, to help keep track of which Fitbitches are taking part which helps motivate you to get involved too – you can join HERE). Lifts organised (that’s the beauty of running as part of a community; there’s always someone to share a ride with). Sun shining (okay, we didn’t organise that bit, but it’s always a good omen for a race). And then we set out for the roughly 14-mile drive along the coast from Brighton to Worthing.
The journey usually takes around 35 minutes. On that evening, a combination of rush-hour congestion and a traffic accident meant that despite setting off before 6pm, one car arrived at 7.05pm and the other at 7.25pm. Fortunately for the first car, the organisers had realised the traffic was a problem and had delayed the start by a few minutes, meaning that at least two of us began the race on time. When they finally arrived, the remaining four Fitbitches were warmly welcomed and allowed to start the race half an hour late, following the footprints in the sand left by the other Beat the Tide runners. The organisers even called the marshalls along the course to let them know they were coming. Fortunately, they managed to catch up with the tail-enders before too long.
The race itself couldn’t have been better – a straight dash along the beach and then coastal path from Worthing to Widewater Lagoon in Shoreham, and back again, with only a short sandy beach sprint to join the two sections. Along the way, children cheered from the groynes, kite surfers skitted along the surf and marshalls handed out drinks (there were two stations) and jelly sweets. The atmosphere was fun and friendly, with lots of local club runners taking part, plus a couple dressed (I think) as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. And because, as the race marketing says, we were ‘racing against nature’ – the incoming tide – there was a cutoff of two and a half hours for participants, although none of us found ourselves paddling to the finish. One of the Fitbitches placed third woman. And as our last runner approached the line, the sun setting behind her, the rest of the crew ran down to support her over the last few metres as she finished her first 10k race and was handed her medal (there was one for every finisher). We’ll definitely be back next year. We’ll just leave longer to get there next time.
Review in Brief: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
A chance to shun the pebbles and run along a sandy beach. Fantastic welcome from the race organisers, despite our late arrival.
The headwind was great for kitesurfers but not so much for runners. And be aware that there are no toilets provided.
The traffic. Maybe we can cycle to the start next year?
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