Bournemouth Marathon Festival

This weekend saw the second Bournemouth Marathon Festival weekend, a plethora of running activities for the whole family; junior 1.5km & 2km’s, senior 5km, 10km, Half & Full Marathons.

I’d signed up to do the half with my wife some time ago, we both quite like that as a distance – enough of a challenge without being too difficult or all-consuming like a marathon. The would take in many familiar sites but it wasn’t really until the week or so before I tried to make sense of where the actual route was. My only criticism of the information provided by the BMF team was that map, it just didn’t make any sense and for someone that likes to know exactly where they’re going and what they’re doing this was a bit frustrating – I even asked a friend that lives down there and he couldn’t work it out either.

In the run up I’d done little training, a 10km 2 weeks before and 10 miles a week or so before that, given the annoying peroneal pain I was still getting I decided to concentrate on the exercises shown to me by James at Kinetic Revolution. The last half I’d done was Reading where again my actual running prior to it was minimal due to injury but I had been doing c.150km a month on the rowing machine, this time I hadn’t done that after going through a bit of a lull so wasn’t expecting much and figured I’d just go out and take in the scenery.

The start was at 0800 in King’s Park – the other side of Bournemouth to where we were staying which meant an 0545 alarm call and stepping out into the very cold air. Facilities near the start were very good, nice CafĂ© selling everything from cooked breakfasts to energy drinks and the owner doing a nice line of moving people on who were sheltering from the cold, most of whom had been sent there by the marshals. After the obligatory toilet queue, bag drop and dash to the start I had a couple of minutes to wait before we set off which was good as I was freezing.

The race start bang on time and I was across the line in seconds, I just decided to take it steady for the first few km’s and to not check my watch at every km alert. Heading through Southbourne, settling into a good pace, remember my arms swing I felt good and blissfully unaware of my actual pace just enjoyed looking round. The course has a few out and back sections which normally annoy the hell out of me – seeing the faster runners coming back the other way and looking at the same stuff usually bores me but heading out and catching a glimpse of the for the first time was special. My mind was occupied with the scenery rather than trying to battle me into submission, only broken momentarily every now and then by other runners cutting me up or sprinting past to run directly in front, only then to slow down and get in the way.  

I really did feel good for the most part of the first half, glimpsing at my watch as we first descended down to the seafront my pace was 4:30ish which was a surprise, felt slower than that. Heading along the sea front towards Boscombe reminded me of student days and it was nice for those with beach huts to make the effort to cheers us along. As we neared Boscombe I was amazed at how much the area had changed since I lived there, all looked a bit more upmarket than I’d remembered! Shortly after turning away from the pier we hit a hill, at first I thought it would be easy then it turned into a monster where although I was running it felt like I was walking – backwards. A few people stopped to walk but I hate stopping so tried to push on slowly. It really took it out of me, by the time I got to the top my legs were wobbling and I was a bit dizzy, not as bad as one person who was throwing up a lot, a marshal was quickly heading over to him – hope he was ok. I shoved some jelly beans in my mouth and slowed down to try and recover, within a couple of km’s I was beginning to feel a lot better and just settled in to a pace that felt comfortable.  

Heading down to Bournemouth beach for the final stretch was good – seeing the finishing line and crowds lining the barriers was a real boost, great turn out and noise from everyone. Rounding the corner I was mentally trying to work out how far was left, Boscombe pier never seemed to get closer! I eventually made it to the pier and after heading down and back up the other side I took a look at my time and it took me a few seconds to realise I’d be close to my previous PB. This was a real surprise, particularly after *that* hill and not something I’d expected to get anywhere near. That was it, motivation enough to dig in and see how close I could get. Heading back through the crowds and onto the pier gave me that extra bit of encouragement to pick up pace, rounding the bottom of the pier I just put my head down and legged it, coming round through the crowds I started to sprint and heard the announcer say my name and something about a strong finish. I crossed the line and stopped my watch – 1:41:32, a PB by over a minute.




Interestingly I didn’t notice any of the usual twinges I get in my lower legs on this run, despite the slopes, camber and odd patches of sand to slip on. I’m really hoping the exercises and stretches I’ve been doing have started to take hold, which together with reminding myself about arm swing have led to the ‘free speed’ James Dunne talks about. On the minimal training I’ve done there’s no real reason to explain why I went as fast as I did.


BMF will definitely be seeing me again, overall it was a great event – well organised on all aspects and at least next year I'll know what to expect on that horrible hill.
Bournemouth Marathon Festival Bournemouth Marathon Festival Reviewed by Karl Hoods on 04:46:00 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. If free speed works that well I can't wait to get into it properly. Sounds like a great run, well done Karl :-)

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