First Ever Sunrise Runway Challenge ? a Runner?s Perspective

Hear from one of the participants of what it was like to run the Sunrise Runway Challenge.


Saturday 23 June ? We were blessed with bright blue clear skies for the Sunrise Runway Challenge ? our just reward for getting out of bed early on a Saturday morning. Close to 200 of us gathered in the Lookout Caf? car park to register for the event from 5.30am for a prompt 6.30am start.
The atmosphere was one of building excitement as runners and cyclists met for the safety briefing before being separated into two groups for different starting points. The runners amongst us were covering a 5k circuit and the cyclists were following an extended 15k route.

A slice of history

Taking part in the first ever Sunrise Runway Challenge felt like a real privilege and to know that we?d be hurtling (ok maybe pootling) down the same runway as the iconic Spitfires made it extra special. The wide-open runway allowed plenty of space for runners to spread out and to find their natural pace and there was no crossover with the cyclists avoiding any potential collisions.

Biggin on the Bump

Heading down the runway was exhilarating with the sun rising and the silhouettes of runners and cyclists panning out over the horizon. We soon discovered though that looks could be deceiving and far from being flat the course took an upward turn. ?It wasn?t exactly a steep climb more of a gentle rise, but the pace did slow a little, after all it?s not called ?Biggin on the Bump? for no reason.
The course followed two loops of the runway, with a 4k option which took in just one loop, before heading back to the caf?. It was well directed by the team of marshals – made up of Biggin Runways Running Club members, Airport staff and charity representatives from the event beneficiaries Chartwell Cancer Trust and Foal Farm Animal Rescue – encouraging runners of all abilities to complete the challenge.
One husband and wife duo, Dave and Chris Payne, completed the course together to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Dave, who donned a pink tutu and Viking hat, pushed his wife Chris in her wheelchair around the course.

Breakfast included

Greeting us all at the finish line was the welcoming waft of bacon cooking on the BBQ, driving us home. Teas, coffees and bacon rolls were waiting for us, not to mention a commemorative medal to add to the collection.
Spokespeople from the two local charities the event was held in aid of thanked the crowd for their support and the organisers for a fantastic event. The post-race vibe was friendly and uplifting and many of us expressed an interest in it being a regular annual event.

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