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.
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…
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!
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.
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!
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
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!
Average Pace: 3:51/km
Average HR: 166bpm
Max HR: 204bpm
Cadence: 179 strides/min
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.