With Spring just around the corner, athletes from across the south of England can look forward to an exciting season of race events sponsored by Brett Group – all set in the beautiful Kent countryside.
The 2016 race programme kicked off with a half marathon and 20-mile race in March, to be followed by triathlon events in June and July, a full marathon in September and another half marathon to finish the season in late November. Each event offers a variety of competitions providing challenges for all levels, from first-timers to the most experienced athletes.
This year’s season opener, the 9th Brett Lydd Half Marathon and 20-mile race, took place on Sunday 13th March, organised by road-race specialists, Nice Work. The event attracted just under a thousand entries in total with runners from all over the south east taking part.
The race was revived in 2008 after a number of years’ absence from the road-running calendar and has since re-established its place in the training programme of many an athlete preparing for the London and other Spring marathons.
The pancake-flat course through the lanes surrounding the town of Lydd on Romney Marsh produced some fast times with course records being broken in both the men’s and women’s 20 mile races. The nature of the course makes it perfect for marathon training or for runners attempting this distance for the first time.
The winners of the 20-mile race were Tom Millard from Canterbury Harriers (1.53.56) and Jill Cliff from Deal Tri Club (2:18:52). Half Marathon winners were Michael Coleman from South Kent Harriers (1:12:58) and Sarah Gruber from Invicta East Kent AC (1:24:48).
Martin Burke from organisers, Nice Work, said: “We were delighted to welcome both club and non-club runners to this event and were pleased to see large team entries from a number of Kent clubs.
It was the ninth event of its kind in Lydd - and I think the general consensus was that it was the best ever!”
The event also included a children’s race, giving youngsters the opportunity to experience the excitement of race day.
For more information, visit http://www.lyddhalf.co.uk/.
Sunday 19th June sees the Brett Ashford Triathlon and Aquabikes event at the Julie Rose Stadium, in Ashford. Organised by triathlon specialists, Tri Spirit Events, the day includes standard and team tri events, comprising a 1.5km swim, 40m bike and 10km run; sprint events for individuals and teams over half those distances; and standard and sprint aquabike races, featuring only the swim and bike sections of each distance.
Conningbrook Lake provides the perfect setting for the open water swim section, then competitors cycle out from the Julie Rose Stadium onto the quiet, scenic country roads around Wye. They return to transition to the run section, which takes them over paths and grass around Conningbrook Lake before re-entering the stadium to cross the finish line.
For the first time this year, the event will include two open water swim-only competitions at 750m and 1.5km distances.
For more information, visit http://www.trispiritevents.com/events/brett-ashford-triathlon-info/.
If you thought that was tough, take a look at the Owler Tri, also run by Tri Spirit Events and held at the same venue on Sunday 31st July. Voted Event of the Year for the second year running by Triathlon England South East, the Owler Tri offers competitors a range of gruelling challenges to choose from including the Full Aquabike which comprises a 3.8km open water swim and 180km bike race; a Half Tri, which includes a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run; and standard and sprint tri and aquabike races for teams or individuals.
The triathlons start in Conningbrook Lake, before competitors head out of the Julie Rose Stadium onto country roads through Wye, Godersham, Molash and Challock for the bike section, returning to transition at trackside. The two-lap, 21km run section follows a route around the lake and surrounding lanes. Competitors return to the Julie Rose Stadium to cross the finish line to well-deserved cheers.
Liz King, Event Director, Tri Spirit Events said: "We have been working closely with the Brett Group since the first triathlon we put on nearly six years ago and are thrilled to continue this close relationship as well as adding more top-end events to our calendar.
"We have introduced a new marathon in September - the Owler Marathon - which has a half-marathon option. It gives people who want to take on a half or full marathon for the first time a great chance to train through the summer months rather than the winter ones, and a target for regular runners who may want to do something later in the year.”
The new Owler Marathon event will be held on Sunday 18th September with the marathon being run over a new two-lap course set in the beautiful surroundings of Conningbrook Lakes Country Park and the quiet roads of Brook. The multi-terrain run is mainly on tarmac roads but also features some uneven surfaces, such as tracks, grass and fields. A half marathon will also be on offer at the event and both competitions are open to runners of all abilities.
For more information on the Owler Marathon and Half Marathon, visit http://www.trispiritevents.com/owler-marathon/.
(If you were wondering where the name Owler comes from, The Owlers were smugglers local to Kent and Sussex who used to trade in wool and tea. They are believed to have travelled at night and communicated by using an owl’s call, hence Owlers.)
The final event in Brett’s 2016 sponsorship programme is the Brett Ashford Half Marathon, which starts and finishes at the Julie Rose Stadium on Sunday 27th November. Another multi-terrain race, competitors will be running on tracks, grass, fields and tarmac roads through the Conningbrook Lakes Country Park and around Hinxhill.
More information on this event can be found at http://www.trispiritevents.com/events/brett-ashford-half-marathon/.
Liz King of Tri Spirit Events looks forward to a great season. “Brett's involvement in all of our events is incredible. We are grateful for the ongoing support the group gives us, and hope we can continue to work together for many years to come."