Report by Angela Parker
On Saturday 26th August 2017 some of the DRR members took on the 18 and 32 miles White Cliffs Challenge organised by the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA). Despite the organiser’s name, runners were welcome and run we did.
Gary and Michele Barnes, Jo Daniels, Angela Parker, Claire and Ben Thurgate took on the 18 miles challenge and Neil Coleman ran the 32 miles challenge.
The start of the bank holiday weekend was not its usual weather wise. The day was a lovely sunny day with just a perfect cooling breeze in the morning in the remote areas and across the fields. The 18 milers started at 09:30 hours and Neil started just after 10:00 hours.
Both started from St Margaret’s village hall and made their way over to Langdon Cliffs past the Lighthouse and down the steps to the seafront where we met the first checkpoint. From here the 18 milers crossed the A20 by the Sports Centre whilst Neil continued along the seafront to York Street and up over the Citadel and the Western Heights to Capel and the Battle of Britain Memorial.
Meanwhile the 18 milers came to the first major hill at the end of Laureston Place which took us up to the top of Connaught Park. We ran through the Park and then out to the cemetery and took the off road path to Roman Road, just off Charlton Lane. Here was the second major hill. We were now 4 miles in and decided to preserve energy and walked most of this.
Neil made his way back towards Dover along the cliffs and onto Samphire Hoe into Aycliffe. He continued up to the immigration centre and down Military Hill. He crossed through the Town and joined Roman Road. Both challenges were on the same route from here.
We crossed fields and took woodland paths and met the next checkpoint at Maydensole Farm. This was also a feeding station with an array of cakes, jellies and quiches on offer as well as drinks. From here we made our way to Ringwould. It is amazing how many lovely off road tracks we have around here. Some we didn’t even know about. The area is just beautiful.
We came out from Ringwould onto the A258 Dover to Deal road by the Five Bells pub. Here we crossed and went down the track and meandered through the trees and onto Kingsdown Wood. From here we made our way down to Undercliff Road, known as the rocks. It was a perfect summer’s day with lots of bathers on the beach and the sky was blue. We climbed the steps up onto the cliff and ran along past the Golf course. The sea was calm, like a mill pond and looked very inviting. The 18 milers had reached here at lunch time and the sun was very warm. This area was very busy with walkers and cyclists. The 18 milers were only 2 miles from the finish and had to climb the cliff path to the Dover Patrol Memorial (The Needle). Ben, Claire and Gary made their way up there running. But for Angela, Jo and Michele it was a bit too much so we walked, even though we had done this route on many occasion running. We re-grouped at the Needle and ran through the field into St Margaret’s back to the village hall where we were treated to drinks and food.
We all got a certificate for our endeavours. Gary, Ben and Claire finished 4 hours 7 minutes. Angela, Jo and Michele finished 4 hours 12 minutes and Neil completed the 32 miles in an incredible 7 hours 28 minutes.