Chances are, you’ve already seen that I ran the Bournemouth half on Sunday, so here are my thoughts on it.
The build up
So as the race started at 8am, we decided to go down the day before and stay in The Royal Bath Hotel & Spa (very nice hotel). However, my satnav took us to a different hotel and I had the embarrassment of being told I didn’t have a booking.. I’m kind of glad it was the wrong hotel though because the other one was 10x better.
(Not my photo, hoping I don’t get sued)
I had a standard pub burger the night before and some maaaaad churros, which I’m now craving. Then I obviously had to watch match of the day, something I can only dream of seeing my team on.
Thanks to the 8am start I got up crazy early, sorted my outfit out and then had one of those soft bake bar things (you know what I mean). Everything was going swimmingly, until we walked down to the race area and I realised that the start line was 2.5 miles away at the football stadium..
I then ran to the buses but missed the last one and then ran to a taxi but it was full. Luckily there were 3 other people needing to get there and as I was the only runner, I’d pay for the taxi. Turns out this was good karma because I got to the start line with about 2 minutes to spare. Annoyingly I had to take my phone to pay for the taxi, but it did mean I could update the family on how I was doing. Or just send them random photos of people’s backs.
I planned to run near my PB and stay at 8:30/mi for the first half and then see how I felt. My body had other ideas though and my first few miles were all well below my goal pace. The course was decent from the beginning and nice and wide, even with runners going in both directions. It was quite cool to see the others running the other way and everyone was shouting at people they knew or fellow club members.
(Don’t spend too long looking for me in this photo.. I’m not in it)
The first 10k flew by and I was feeling really good, weird considering I was well under my PB. Then we ended up on the beach which was cool and something I’d been looking forward to. I’m hoping I’ve not got the route mixed up.. world class race reviews here! The beach part seemed to go on for a while but I think that’s just because it’s one straight line.
Then we came to ‘the hill’. Luckily there are enough hills where I live for me to train on so it wasn’t a huge issue for me, but I was a bit surprised by the amount of people walking up it. I won’t lie, my legs did feel like jelly at the top, but after a few 100 yards they went back to normal (kind of).
As with every uphill, there was a decent downhill and you sort of just had to let it take you. This then took us to where the finish was and it was interesting to see the runners who were 5k ahead about to finish. It was the hardest part for me because it was a 1.5 mile route away from the finish and then back again. I really enjoyed the whole race so me saying it was the hardest part doesn’t mean it was terrible. I think it was just draining having to run away from the finish, but once you get to the last mile it’s all good. Then it’s just about pushing on and keeping the pace. I did feel absolutely knackered when we had to run up and down the pier though, especially when someone blocked me off and I ran into a wooden post..
The finish and summary
Support was really good at the finish and it’s always cool to have random people cheering you on.
I somehow managed to knock 6 minutes off my PB and came in at 1:46. I couldn’t have dreamed of going sub 1:50 but now I’m thinking I’ve got a lot more in me and I’m ready to push myself.
My only issue with the setup was that the area after the finish was crazy busy and it was quite hard to find people. Not really a big issue, just shows how good the whole marathon festival is.
I was really impressed with the medal and the t shirt, which came in a cool box with a few other bits. I’m not entirely sure what the ‘other bits’ are but they’re some sort of gels, which could be a cool thing for someone that uses them.
All in all it was a really good experience and to come away with a huge PB was amazing. I’ll definitely be going back next year, maybe for a sub 1:40?
I need to give a big shoutout to the multiple people who were shouting my name from Sandhurst and also the other Sandhurst runners. It’s weird how much it can push you on and make you run harder when people are encouraging you.
This post has been a long one so thanks if you made it this far, also if you didn’t, I’ll forgive you. Peace