This is the fifth edition of Dartford’s Midnight Marathon. There are no big uplifting crowds, no touristy London landmarks – unless you count occasional distant glimpses of Dartford Bridge arching over the Thames Estuary. It doesn’t even start at midnight that’s the finish cut-off time for the the last of the runners (don’t worry you’ll be able to keep going after this if you haven’t finished yet but the food truck might have left or turned off it’s fryers). It is a legitimate marathon though with its measurement certified, race numbers and timing chips and always fully subscribed. Standing apart from the big city events and reaching a cult like status for its loyal participants that come here from far and wide. This is the first year there won’t be anyone coming from overseas (because of the pandemic travel restrictions). Like last year, a few will probably be sleeping in the marquee post run.
Circumnavigating two lakes the runners never really see, hidden by a supermarket depot, warehouses, industrial parks and modern housing estates where most people are sleeping. The glow of table lamps through flowery curtains and electricity Pylons on the horizon, suburban and industrial. It’s the location of this marathon with it’s contrasting spaces that make this such a unique thing to be part of. After the first 2km leg, runners pace their way around this quirky 5km route four laps for the half, eight for the full and ten laps for the ultra. Not only the location also the runners taking part make this special, their warmth, camaraderie and genuine love of running, they don’t need the crowds, the landmarks, they love the quirkiness of this event.
(Excerpt taken from my accompanying story for ‘Like The Wind Magazine’)