I was browsing Facebook recently when my attention was drawn to a wonderful sounding event called Cakeathon. Kat had entered it, and being a fan of cake, I needed some of the action. Unfortunately, when I emailed to join the waiting list, it was full.
However, the organisers at Saxon, Vikings and Normans Marathons had decided to put on a Cakeathon Spring Challenge as part of the overflow. Hooray! Luckily for me, I was able to get a place in this and spent the next couple of months showing everyone who’d listen just how cool the medal was going to be.
Cakeathon was held in Fowlmead Naure Reserve, near Deal in Kent. This was a stunning location for a run and we were lucky to enjoy nice weather. Wetlands, climbs galore, steep downhills and bunny rabbits, it was an incredibly scenic, if tough, 3.28ish mile lap.
The premise of Cakeathon is simple. Turn up, run as many or as few laps as you like in a 6 hour period. At the end of each lap, you can grab a wristband to count your laps, or ring the bell to signify you quit. The fuel station was brilliant, stocked with homemade fudge, American chocolate, jelly babies and squash. Definitely my sort of aid station. A cake stand was set up to the right, offering a beautiful display of all the homemade cakes in the world. I was gutted not to have time to bake my brownies – next time!
I was pretty bad tempered by the time we got there as we arrived late and everyone had already started. Jimmy had also told me he’d picked up my water and not to worry – it turned out he hadn’t picked it up, so I was throwing a real diva strop with him by the time we went to headquarters to pick up my race number. The organisers were lovely, fixed me up with a bottle of water and sent me off on my way. I was a little lonely for a while, following the signs and running on my own, but it wasn’t long before I cheered up as a rabbit danced across my path. Don’t get that at the Bupa 10k!
After a couple of miles, I started to catch up with a few runners, chatted to people on the way round and enjoyed the race. My Garmin wasn’t working properly, so I had no idea how I was doing on each loop, but it was nice to run “naked” with no pressure. After some steep climbs, I was soon enjoying the downhill back to the start. I stopped for some squash and a chat with Jimmy, then a few minutes later, decided to go off for a second lap. As I came in after the second, I was contemplating calling it quits as I’d seen the medal hanging around necks…and I wanted it! I was having a great time though and after a delicious slice of dairy free chocolate cake (seriously, whoever made that, YUM!), suncream, and a bit of banter, including discussing the concept of “Pieathon”, I decided to go off and do a third lap.
I was feeling pretty warm at this point and decided at the end that three laps was enough, although I considered going round a fourth time to make up the half marathon. A shade under 10 miles in 2.25 (including starting 10 minutes after everyone else, a 5 minute chat break and a 10 minute cake break), on a tough hilly route where I lazily walked the steep bits – I was pretty pleased as it’s the first time in ages that I’ve truly enjoyed a run and not worried about my time. We were there to have fun and that’s exactly what I had.
A slice of orange cake and then I collapsed on the grass to delve into the goody bag. Seriously, is this not the best race goody bag ever? Who wants green tea and gel samples, anyway?!
Saxons, Vikings and Normans Marathons are a true breath of fresh air in the running world. I’ve never had so much fun at such a friendly event, run by friendly people, with lovely participants. Thank you so much – I’m already signed up for next year! Maybe I’ll make an ultra by then!