Visiting relatives in Kent over Easter, Peter Simpson took the opportunity to run his 2nd Whitstable Parkrun and meet-up with the locally recognised vegan runner (if not a celebrity), Keith Gilbert. Keith was running his 74th Parkrun and if correct, all at the same venue. Keith has also travelled by bike (mainly off-road) from Canterbury to most if not all of the parkruns.
It was another cold start with light snow preceding the run but Peter had the benefit of travelling by bus from Folkestone. The venue is on the seafront with half the route on the sea wall and the other half along the cliff top on grass. They soon met up and Peter decided to take it easy and line-up with Keith also behind the runner wearing the 28 mins t-shirt. Keith is going through a period of poor form at present and the same could be said for Peter. Foot niggles have not encouraged Peter to train much since the Milton Keynes half marathon on 10 March.
The wind was quite strong off the sea on the north Kent coast as we started on the sea wall and a little slippery. There was a record field of 168 and with the sea wall and other walkers including dogs we had to take care early on which slowed me even more. Peter did however pick up pace and worked his way through the field and once we climbed onto the cliff top for the first of two circuits, he was feeling comfortable on the grass and with the wind behind. The grass was a lot drier than when he ran it last summer during the very wet spell.
Starting the 2nd loop, Peter was feeling more competitive and his feet were not causing him any problems. Finishing at a good pace, the time of 23.20 seems to be familiar for 5K or around his slowest. Keith’s time of 27.18 is also a continuation of his slower times but no doubt with persistence Keith will turn the corner, especially when it warms up.
We retired to the warmth of the local armchair cafe along with many other runners and enjoyed a long social. The Whitstable Parkrun like many other Parkruns has become a running community or club. Details of a major relay around Kent were being circulated and Peter & Keith were even bought a 2nd cup of tea (black) by someone Peter didn’t know.
Afterwards Keith started the mainly uphill cycle journey back to Canterbury whilst Peter walked into Whitstable town centre to browse the mainly small shops before taking the bus back to Canterbury and onto Folkestone. Peter is Looking forward to his next visit to Whitstable especially after the warmth shown by the locals. Maybe next time there will be three of us including local member Chris Clark.