Course Information - Viking Coastal Marathon
Starting from the end of "The Parade" in Birchington, Kent the route heads out on the Viking Coastal Trail in an almost direct line West towards the ruins of at Reculver.
The 3.29 miles outward bound route is all on wide tarmac and concrete paths, the only hazards being the occasional dog walker, cyclist and seagull. The route is right by the sea and runs alongside what's known as Minnis Bay, it's virtually impossible to go astray, you simply go past the first gate, and turn around at the second gate just short of Reculver Castle. A short distance beyond the second gate is a concrete wall, so if you run into that, you've gone too far, pick yourself up and head back again.
The Turn Around Gate in front of Reculver Castle for the Viking Coastal Marathon (you'll go through this for the Dambusters Challenge route)...
There are no left or rights, nothing! Just straight along the sea wall, straight back to base camp for four loops of 6.68 miles, making the marathon distance of 26.2 (well, OK, very slightly over if my calculations are correct.
You can view the route here... http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/260016143
We'll start on the promendade and then it's two short loops of 3.82 miles, all the way along the sea wall till it runs out, turn around and back to the start. You'll do this loop twice.
The promenade is a bit like this...
Then you'll do two loops of 9.28 miles along the coastal path towards Reculver Castle, then around the ruins, through the car park and then up the coastal path on to the cliffs for a mile or so, through a barrier, along a short tarmac path and then turn around at the little aid station we'll have there.
The view once you're through the Reculver car park - basically follow the line up the hill (its an embedded plastic grid to help cyclists)
And continue to follow the line up a couple of hills along the tops of the cliffs
Then through barrier, on to a short tarmac path until you reach a small car park where they'll be a little aid station and the turn around.
The view back down the coast towards Reculver on the way back.
You can view the long loop here - http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/fullscreen/1100520796/
You can view the short loop here - http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/fullscreen/737718919/
Points of interest you will see
Reculver Towers and Fort: Romans built a fort at Reculver two thousand years ago to guard the channel separating the Isle of Thanet from Kent. More than half of the fort has been washed into the sea but the southern and eastern walls remain. The twin towers of Reculver are the remains of a medieval church.
Just before the turnaround at Reculver Castle is a working oyster farm.
Salt water lagoon: About half way along the route by a slight bend in the sea wall and a shingle ridge has created a sheltered area with a salt-water lagoon. Sea Purslane, Sea Beet and Saltmarsh Rush grow on the clay and shingle banks.
The is a train line that runs parallel to the course, its not very interesting, but the occasional train breaks up the otherwise fairly mundane coastal scenery. It really is very flat, off to sea are some wind farms, a few sea birds, doing what sea birds do and I've seen a couple of snails on the route (try not to tread on them!). It's up and down the sea wall for 26.2 miles, I'm afraid no herds of wildebeest, mountain vistas or tropical islands are on view. Bring a friend to chat to or wear an iPod is my advice. Ah, so occasionally people DO read the course description pages then!