News Thanet’s John Hunt Wins Meangate Ultramarathon Thanet’s John Hunt Wins Meangate Ultramarathon


Report by Ian Lockyer
2017-11-05 20:11:58

Thanet’s John Hunt Wins Meangate Ultramarathon

If you asked members of the general public what ultra-running was, you would probably be met with bemused looks.  Tell them it is running anything over 30 miles in a race and they would probably have difficulty envisaging the distance, let alone the hard work and dedication that goes into training for such an event.

Well, two Thanet Roadrunners have recently done just that, taking part in the Meangate Ultramarathon held on the grounds of the Deangate Ridge Golf Club, located in Hoo. Impressively, Thanet Roadrunner John Hunt won the race, running two and a half marathons in just over 11 ½ hours, with Bradley Cameron coming fourth running a double marathon in just over 9 hours.

This year was the first time this 12 hour night race has taken place. Starting at 6 pm and finishing at 6 am on the 4th November, runners had to complete as many 2.5 mile loops around the outskirts of the golf course, within the time limit, as possible. There were about 100 competitors on the start line. 

John Hunt said, about his race preparation, “training was a bit sporadic for me, due to a few niggling injuries over the last couple of months, plus a few other things that were keeping me from training.  Brad however, has been training well since his course record of 2 hours 48 minute at the Maidstone marathon a few weeks back.  The Meangate Ultra Marathon was Brad's first attempt at an ultra-marathon distance and my first big race since finishing 10th at the Thames Ring 250 miles a few months back”.

John found the undulating and uneven, off-road course very challenging. Even though he admitted to being under prepared for the event, on the day he felt good and therefore set himself an ambitious target for the amount of miles he wanted to complete. He knew Brad was in good shape, even though he tried to play this down on the day of the event, so knew he had to run well to win. John decided to make a conservative start to the race, due to the cold weather and rain forecast. Brad’s tactics were somewhat different, setting out fast, leading for most of the race, before deciding to take a rest.  

John found the huge screen supplied by the timing team, which displayed each competitor’s position, laps completed and miles covered, very useful in keeping eye on how the other runners were doing.   It was not until mile 37 when he realised he had a chance of winning, and it was at this point he decided to push hard.  He worked hard to get to first place and wasn't prepared to give it up. His driver was a Steve Prefontaine quote, "you may beat me, but you'll have to bleed to do it”.

With only 2 hours to go, John lapped the competitor in second place, meaning he was only 2.5 miles ahead, which he thought was too close for comfort. He therefore decided to push harder, running the last 2 hours nonstop and at speed, until he was in no doubt he could not be caught.  By this time it was raining really hard and John had been running for almost 12 hours, but was enjoying himself. For the last 1.5 miles he increased his pace further, almost sprinting down the finish chute to bag the win with 67.5 miles in 11 hours 40 minutes. John commented, “I am elated and exhausted in equal measures”.

As well as coming 4th with 52.5 miles, the equivalent of a double marathon, Thanet Roadrunner, Bradley Cameron also set a record for fastest lap.

Their results are as follows.

Position                 Name                     Time                      Distance
1.                            John Hunt              11:39:34                 67.5 mi.

4.                            Bradley Cameron  09:10:22                 52.5 mi.

Everyone at Thanet Roadrunners AC is so proud of John and Bradley, jolly well done to the pair of them!


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