Race Review: The @RunBournemouth Marathon Festival ‘Supersonic’ 10k

After watching my dad take part in the very first Bournemouth Marathon Festival 10k last year, I was so impressed with the organisation and atmosphere I vowed to take part this year. So sure enough, I signed up for this years race with hours to spare until applications closed.

Organisation

I don’t usually pay much attention to the organisation of a race – if it’s fairly well organised then you take this for granted and it’s only when it’s supremely awful or completely amazing that you stop to think about how it’s all been put together. The 10k that I did was part of a weekend of running which saw the ‘Speed of Light 5k’ and ‘Supersonic 10k’ happening at 4pm and 7pm respectively on the Saturday and the Half and Full Marathons on the Sunday. The events on the Sunday in particular called for a lot of road closures and traffic management to ensure a smooth event. Even coming towards the event from the other side of Poole I was greeted by electronic traffic signs warning me of the festival…

The finish of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival (image from the BMF Facebook page)

I received my race number around 10 days in advance and this had a chip built into to the back of the number. Nice. The thing I get most anxious about before races is having enough time to find the registration tent and collect and pin my number on!

Come race day I parked in nearby Westbourne and jogged the 15 minutes to the start line as part of my warm up. Upon arrival, again the great organisation was evident. I hadn’t realised that the colour of my race number denoted my finish time and so which ‘pen’ I should start from! I thought at the time that it was amazing that the marshals knew exactly where I should be and guided me through! I arrived at the start line with 15 minutes to go and did a bit of a warm up and stretches in the alcoves of the beach huts that line the promenade at Bournemouth. Then, at 4pm prompt, the countdown began… 10, 9, 8… GO!

The Route

I’d had reports from the 2013 race that the course was actually just over 10k, but I can confirm that my watch said 10, 9.98k to be exact! Basically you start just to the east of the pier (green dot below) run out to the right, back towards where you started, out round the pier (the red bit sticking out into the sea), out to the left (west) and then back to the pier.

Bournemouth Marathon Festival 10k route

The Race

It was only when standing on the start line that I realised that I didn’t have a clue what the route was! Fortunately there was someone I knew at the start line and they told me; 2.5km out along the sea front, 2.5km back, 2.5km out the other side of the pier and 2km back the the start/finish.

This was a race that impressed upon me the psychological influence on running and races. Firstly, the route was split into four clean 2.5k sections so mentally I knew exactly where I was and how far I had to go. Secondly, the impact of such a positive and cheering crowd really does make you run faster! Thirdly, being able to see all the runners trailing behind you as you turn and go back on yourself is a total boost, especially when people are shouting words of encouragement your way!

There was a bit of a wind on the day coming in from the west. This wasn’t too strong but it definitely had an effect on me when running the 5km of the course straight into it – not much, but enough.

I felt really good for the first 5km, awful between 5km and 7.5km and better again with the wind behind me and the end in sight towards the finish! I keep on meaning to try and negatively split a race, that  is, either doing the second half faster than the first half or even doing each km progressively faster than the last. I’m rubbish at this though and never manage it. As you can see below, I started out way too fast and had to then slow down a bit in the middle to recover! There was an inspirational guy doing all four races in the festival over the two days – he overtook me midway through the 10k and was getting lots of cheers! Big well done to the first lady in the 10k too, Serena O’Connor who can’t be older than 16 and raced past me to finish in 37:29!

Pace for the Bournemouth Marathon Festival 10k run

It’s funny as in the final km I felt like I was sprinting, but I was actually going slower than the first km!

Full Bournemouth Marathon Festival  results for all races, the 10k, 5k, marathon and half marathon here

In Summary

A fantastically organised race, with a flat topography and beautiful views out to sea. The atmosphere is what makes this race really special though. I was at the London Marathon in April (spectating not running!) and although there are far more people there, it was more of a continual hum of encouragement. In Bournemouth, the crowds were centred on the start and finish areas and the atmosphere was electric! Like running through the middle of a One Direction concert…

Oh and I got a 10k PB which was nice!

Stats:

Distance: 10k
Time: 38:29
Average Pace: 3:51/km
Average HR: 166bpm
Max HR: 204bpm
Cadence: 179 strides/min

Next Training

Took the day off running on Sunday as although I felt fine, I have the Studland Stampede 12k this coming Sunday so don’t want to put too many miles in this week. Will aim for an easy 5 miles tonight.

 

Training: A 10K Hill Repeats Sandwich

Sunday, did 200m, long jump and 400m races. Monday, couldn’t move. Tuesday, couldn’t move even more. Wednesday, could move a bit. That track and field session on Sunday pulled muscles I didn’t even know I had and I was still feeling it in my legs as I set of for running club last night.

I forgot to start my watch (again!) so it will be a very general summary of last night’s training session. Looking at Map My Run it was 10.3km in Swanage:

We ran for around 3.5k as a warm up – a couple of km along the flat promenade and a 1km hike up Swanage Downs.

Then… we hit Newton Road – 26o metres of uphillness. The dreaded Newton Road begins with around 50 metres of steep ascent, before continuing uphill at a gentler climb for another 150 metres. It’s actually the more gentle climb that gets you! We did eight repeats up this hill, increasing the speed/effort each time until I could barely move another step by the end of the last one. Actually I was like that by the end of the penultimate one! Each uphill effort was followed by a slow, three minute jog back down to the bottom of the hill, before immediately turning around and running back up!

We finished by doing a gentle 2km jog back to the end / pub for a well earned drink : )

 

Training: Running 10k Easy (using heart rate zones)

Still feeling a twinge of tightness in my hamstring after yesterday’s all out hill assault in the Lifeboat 5k, so, testing out my Tomtom Runner’s heart rate monitor and zonal training I opted for an ‘easy’ run.

Heart Rate

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This was my first time using a heart monitor as I never liked the idea of wearing a strap across my chest and the Tomtom watch reads my pulse directly from the radial artery on my wrist (as I was told by a fellow runner who’s a Dr!)

Unfortunately, I accidentally set the watch to ‘Endure’ which made sense when I saw the below once home. The watch had been telling me to speed up the whole way, which I had dutifully obeyed. So turns out it wasn’t an easy run!

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Don’t trust the machines!

Distance: 10k
Time: 43:09
Average pace: 4:30/km
Average heart rate: 128bpm

Next Training
Speed session tomorrow with Poole A.C

Training: Early Morning 10k & New @Tomtom GPS Watch! #GetsMyHeartRacing

It’s great being married to a runner as we love nothing better than to talk running, go to races and sit there of an evening reading Runner’s World. However, conflicts in our running diaries often mean that one or other of us has to postpone or adapt our plans. Both our speed sessions are with different clubs every Tuesday and we both like to do a long run on a Sunday – but not together as we run different paces.

All this is by way of explaining how I came to be standing on my doorstep, blinking groggily into a newly risen sun at 6am this morning! Luckily, I had some motivation in a newly delivered running watch. More on that in a minute…

The Run

This morning’s run really made me realise how much I enjoy going out early (in the summer at least). The temperature was perfect, the sky to the east was blue but to the west filled with mile high, rolling black clouds threatening to precipitate imminently. I stretched with my palms held flat against the car and headed off on my regular countryside route. This is an undulating 10k along country lanes with a killer hill at the end which I try to sprint up! I was scared absolutely shirtless when, approaching the brow of a particularly quiet hill, a flock of at least 30-40 pheasants and grouse sprung up in surprise. That took my heart rate up into a training zone I didn’t know I had! I chided myself the whole run for not taking my camera, as the light cast by the duel between sun and rain clouds not created a double rainbow, but made everything look like someone put an Instagram filter over everything.

Distance: 10k
Time: 44 minutes

New Watch – TomTom Runner Cardio!

TomTom My Sports screen

TomTom My Sports screen

Part of the reason I even like running is the gear! That’s why I have a whole page here dedicated to Equipment and why I’ve done a lot of research into trainers and then reviewed them. Gear’s important to me and I’ll use anything (legal) that helps me take even a second off my times.

So when TomTom asked me if wanted to test out their new Runner Cardio watch, I jumped at the chance. My Garmin’s unreliable freezing (seconds before races) and charging issues (sometimes ends charging with less battery than when it started) had been bugging me anyway, and I’d been doing a bit of research into training with a heart monitor. The Runner Cardio, as the name suggests comes with an in-built heart rate monitor which for starters looks AWESOME when switched on, as it emits a ghostly green glow:

I took it out for a quick go on my 10k training run earlier but haven’t had a chance to test it properly but first impressions:

TomTom Runner Cardio

TomTom Runner Cardio Heart Monitor

Pros

– Looks great!
– Connected very quickly to GPS, whilst I was still inside tying up my shoe laces. With my Garmin I always have to run to the top of the road and pretend to be stretching whilst waiting for it to find a satellite!
– Nice big screen shows you your current pace.
– The fit is very comfortable.
– It’s compatible with both Strava and Runkeeper, so you can upload to both automatically.
– The app is easy to use and connects via bluetooth to the watch to upload runs.

Cons

– I’ve gotten used to swiping the touch screen of my Garmin so the lack of a touch screen threw me.
– It doesn’t come with a plug, only a USB cable to connect to a laptop. Who owns a laptop these days?!
– My run that I recorded this morning has completely disappeared. Annoying but probably more to do with me not reading the instruction manual properly than the watch itself!

Full review in a week or two…

 

Next Training

Club run with Purbeck Runners tomorrow night, I’ve just checked in the club forum and it’s one kilometre repeats – nice!

 

Race: The D’urberville Dash 10k

Must be brief as off out to dinner but in short – excellent run!

Located in the village of Wool, Dorset, the D’urberville Dash is a multi-terrain race across roads, fields, woodland trails and country lanes. The fields are prospers, unpaved, grassy meadows, the wooded trails have enough roots and tree stumps to warrant 100% attention and the hills are hard enough to sort the wheat from the chaff, but not so taxing that you have to stop and walk…There’s even a sandy section! I saw (and heard) a few people fall in the wooded sections – treacherous stuff but it makes for an interesting run in my opinion, probably because I didn’t fall!

I’m the sort of runner who, instead of worrying about the race, worries about the parking… Getting my number…. Will there be enough portaloos etc etc… No need to worry with this race though as there’s a huge field with ample parking and I signed up for £12 (affiliated) in seconds.

Great technical tee for all finishers which fits well and a good club turnout too for Purbeck Runners!

My dad was first Purbeck Runner in 39:36, I came in second PR in 40:51 and mum was second female Purbeck Runner in 52:25! Managed to cut my time down by four minutes from last year.

Next Training
Speed session tomorrow night (Tuesday) and then a possible race on Thursday evening, depending on whether I can run out of Camp Bestival to quickly do it and run back! Half Marathon on Sunday : ( yuck.

Training: A Quicky and a Longy (with pictures)

Monday was a rest day after my exertions of the week before so on Tuesday, with limited time but Runner’s Guilt setting in, I popped out for a fairly pacey 5k. Last week I did three races in a row on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to a total of 20k and I can attest that doing this feels ok at the time, but you pay for it the following week! Running just 5k on Tuesday my legs felt like they were in the last stages of a half marathon! I ran the 5k in 20:40 which is nearly two and a half minutes slower than my regular 5k race time.

Then on Wednesday I had the rare opportunity to go running at my club night with Purbeck Runners. It’s a thirty minute drive from my house but if you ever saw the town of Swanage and the rolling Purbeck hills on a summer’s evening you’d agree that it’s worth it! We ran 10.5k but took our time over it (very hilly), taking 60 minutes.

Ballard Down and Old Harry Rocks in Purbeck

Above shows a section of last night’s route. We ran over the hill from Swanage, down into a small village called Studland (home of Enid Blighton) and back to Swanage across Ballard Down, running up the hill pictured above.

The way down into Swanage (in the distance)

 

The route along the top of Ballard Down

The route along the top of Ballard Down

 

Next Training

Off paddle boarding / kayaking tonight so no running and probably won’t do anything tomorrow (Friday) either. Then Parkrun on Saturday and a long 14 miler planned for Sunday in prep for a half marathon the week after (yuk)!

Race: Tarrant Valley 10k

A busy weekend of running! Upton Time Trial (3.5 mile) on Friday night, Parkrun (5k) on Saturday and this 10k race on Sunday. Sitting down a lot today!

The Tarrant Valley 10k is a picture perfect, model village, rolling hills, winding lanes, wooded track type of race. Beginning next to a village green beside an English country pub you soon get a sneak peek of the hidden menace in the beautiful route – the hills. Ordinarily I wouldn’t mind the odd hill but after two races in two days each at full pace, my legs really didn’t appreciate it!

After the tranquil start to the race, you go straight up a steep narrow grass path. The dirt/gravel paths carry you along through fields of grass and corn, through a forest and out on to a path that runs parallel to the edge of another forest – uphill – FOR 5 KILOMETRES! OMG it nearly killed me and my legs turned to jelly at about 7k. Coupled with the fact that it was a hot day and I spent most of this race focused on the path in front of me, face set in a grimace, longing for the end. Which was a shame as the surroundings really were amazing. But that hill. Sheesh.

I finished around 4 minutes slower than the 10k PB I set only four weeks ago of 38:50, coming in at 42:40.

As I always say when a race doesn’t work out – a good training run!

*Update* Tarrant Valley 10k 2014 results now available here