Race: Kingston Lacy 10k

This race was a first for me, set in the grounds of 17th Century Kingston Lacy house.


Every race these days seems to be a ‘festival of running’ rather than just a plain old group of races! So today there was a family fun run, a half marathon, a 10k and a 5k – probably more, but those were the ones I counted… And of course a stall selling running shoes – it wouldn’t be a running festival without that ; )

Me and the wife walking down to the start!


I’m always very positive about running events as they are usually put on by clubs or charities, with volunteers giving up their time to marshal. This ‘festival’ however is run by professional sports events company VoTwo as a money making enterprise so I feel justified in pointing out a few areas for improvement. I welcome their response in the comments…

1) The race is advertised as chip timed. It’s not.

2) The man organising the start was pretty loud, abrupt and verging on rude. Everyone lined up at a flag saying start (as you would do?!) but apparently this WASN’T the start.

3) The kilometre markers were way off. I’ve corroborated this with a couple of other runners. At the 4k mark, my Garmin said 4.2k – quite a difference.

4) A lot of people’s official times were 20-30 seconds slower than their watches.

5) The ‘live results’ was actually a TV screen that you had to queue up to see for 15mins, at a time. It didn’t even tell you your race position. I’ve known races to have initial results printed out on to paper and stuck up on a board for all to see, whilst the race is still finishing

6) The results site didn’t work on my mobile.

Other than those points, the setting was beautiful, weather pristine (if a little hot), atmosphere really nice, great crowd lining the finish and the announcer lady talking all through the event was actually really entertaining and engaging!

The race itself was tough as it was very hot, even at 9:30am when it started. It meandered through a bit of grass, some gravel paths and then country lanes and was very scenic.

All was fine until a massive hill at 4k which, in the heat, seemed to suck the life out of my legs. I finished the race in 7th place and in a time of, ha! 40:43 on my Garmin and 41:01 in the official results. Think I’ll go with the Garmin!

Race: Upton Summer Series 2014 2/6


Last night was the second of six Upton Summer Time Trials. I’ve explained the route in a previous post however it’s largely off road and set in the grounds of Upton House.

This second race was fairly quiet compared to the last! I don’t know why as the weather was perfect and the course beautiful. Perhaps because it’s a Friday – not your typical Friday night out!

It’s nice at these runs as the kids race is at 7pm, 30 minutes before the adults one, so I ran round the 1 mile children’s course with my son – a nice warm up.

The adults race itself was pretty uneventful. I felt like I was pushing it to the limit and surely I must be on for a fast time… But no, when I crossed the line my watch said 21:43 which was only about 10 seconds quicker than last time! Still waiting for the official results!

Next Training
I have a 10k race tomorrow at Kingston Lacy

Race: Poole Festival of Running – 10k


Two or three years ago I did this race in 28ish degree heat. It was horrendous and it was all I could do to struggle home in around 50 minutes. So for the last week I was tentatively checking the weather for signs of another heatwave…

Well it wasn’t as bad as a few years ago and residents of hotter climes may thing nothing of it, but my car thermometer hit 25 degrees (77f) on the way to the race. I ran alongside my son in the 400 metre minithon earlier in the day and it was hot!

A Festival of Running

The 10k is the main event in the day long ‘Poole Festival of Running’, with capacity for 1200 entrants. There are various children’s races in the morning, plus a 5k for those preferring a shorter distance. Add all the rides and expos and it was a very nice day!

This is the only race that I know of that begins at 2pm in the afternoon. I always find this a bit annoying as a) if it’s a hot day like this was, it’s hottest at 2pm in the afternoon and b) it’s hard to know what/when to eat at that time! (I opted for a bowl of porridge and banana at 12pm, but was STARVING by the end of the race.)

The Route

The route takes you around the beautiful scenery of Poole Park and the Whitecliff area of Poole. Half of the run is around a lake and through the park, and the other half takes you out on to a path running directly alongside the gently lapping sea.

At first glance this is a flat course however, as anyone that did it today will tell you, there are some innocuous looking but potentially tricky hills along the way!

The Race

I started in the 34-37min section and so got swept along at quite a fast pace (3:35 min per k) for the first couple of kilometres. In fact, I looked at my watch at 5k and realised I’d done it in 19:08 – a time I frequently do a full on 5k in!

It was at around 7-7.5k that the heat really started to get to me – praying for the next water stop, before realising that the next one was post-finish line! Crossed the line in 39.53, frustratingly 1 second slower than my PB.

A very enjoyable day – with my son, my wife, mum and dad all racing throughout the day, lots of entertainment for the kids and a nice ice cream van ready and waiting near to the finish line. A very organised day and race.

Next Training
Day off tomorrow, followed by getting back to the speed sessions with Poole A.C. at Ashdown on Tues evening.

Race: @Parkrun in Copenhagen

I’m very lucky to be able to go away for work occasionally and this weekend found myself in historic and beautiful Copenhagen. So what does a runner do when abroad? Search out the nearest Parkrun of course!

So after checking my map and loading up Google Maps on my phone I set off in the the city streets to find the Parkrun. Well… A bridge I needed to cross was shut, which sent me on a detour of 4km so by the time I reached the middle of the park where the run was, I’d run 7k! The Parkrun route itself was lovely – this really tranquil park land following a gravel path. There weren’t many participants; maybe 80, compared to the usual 600 at Parkrun Poole.

It was difficult to pace and I was shattered from racing 7km just to find it, but I was 4th in 19:14. Annoying to go over 19mins but a lovely run. Then 5k back to the hotel so around 17k in total!

Here’s some photos I took on the way:





Race: Upton Summer Time Trial 1/6


Upton Country Park is a green and wooded space on the edge of Poole Harbour, in the grounds of the regal Upton House. Running wise, the series comprises six races spread out from May through June, July, August and Sept.

With exactly the same route each time (the organisers used to alternate venues) entrants begin what is a double loop in the gravel car park. The course immediately winds down a wooded path, swing round across a wooden walkway over marsh land and back in to the woods towards the starting location – then do it all again!


This is one of our Championship races and it is organised by local club, Poole Runners, so there was a good turn out – 150 people on a Friday evening!

I managed to knock about 25 seconds off my best time last year, complete ing the 3.5 miles in 21:48, but I’d like to be in the low 21′s by the final race in August…

Race: Southbourne Fast and Flat 10k

The Southbourne Fast and Flat is a fast, out and back course which is usually primed for PBs. Starting at St. Katherine’s CE school, the route makes it’s way through surrounding streets before hitting the promenade. The only problem in this race however was the wind! Running out for the first 5k felt amazing as the wind was behind us. Thinking I’d better take advantage of it, I upped my pace to 3:35m kms however turning around into the wind, I realised I should have saved my energy for that part! Shoulders hunched and head bent in an effort to become more aerodynamic, I shuffled to the finish line in 40:55 – a very disappointing time but still a minute and a half quicker than last year at the same race.

Next Training
I’m away with work in Hamburg for two days now (writing this on the plane 3000 feet up!) so going to try and run with a colleague while we’re there!

Race: The Bournemouth Bay 10k 2014

The Bournemouth Bay Run

This is an annual 10k race held in my hometown of Bournemouth in the UK, by the BHF (British Heart Foundation). It’s a mixture of athletes running competitively with club vests, Garmin watches and racing flats, and those who are running running to raise money for charity and just happy to complete the distance. It’s all relative though; I saw a couple of friends there, both of whom were over the moon to have gotten in under the hour mark – and rightly so as they’d both trained hard for it. They were impressed with my time, which I shrugged off, and I in turn was impressed with the times of those who had come in ahead of me…

Bournemouth Bay 10k 2014

The Bournemouth Bay Run 2014 (photo from the Bournemouth Echo)

The Course

The start line is at Bournemouth pier with the first 4.5k then taking you along the nice flat promenade, with golden sand and the English Channel sparkling away to your right. You then run up a zigzag slope (killer!) for about 1 minute before turning around and running back along the overcliff to Boscombe pier. The great thing about this race is that the last 2-3k are along a flat promenade with the finish line clearly in sight – a good opportunity to open up the legs and sprint to the end!

Bournemouth Beach

View from the start line

Psychologically, this race throws me a bit. In my head I’m thinking, “ok, this is just a nice easy ‘out-and-back’ flat route”! In reality, although it’s flat enough for the first 4.5k, there is the zigzag killer followed by a long incline before you drop down on the the promenade again. Tougher than I expected (even though this was my 5th time doing this race!)


The dreaded Zigzag!


I stopped too early. There was a blue line 20 metres before the actual finish and with my head down sprinting, I stopped here! Fortunately, the crowd all shouted at me that I’d stopped too early and I jogged across the actual finish line in dead on 40 mins. 8 secs off a PB. It was lovely weather, with a slight wind against us for the first 5k but the sun on our back for the return.

Full results here

Next Training

Been feeling under the weather the last couple of days so I’m going to take a few days (hopefully just that!) off from running…

Race: Sport Relief 10k

Sport Relief

Whilst on a family holiday for the weekend in Cornwall we (Mum, Dad, my wife and me) took part in the Sport Relief 10k. Now, of course this was for charity and that was the most important thing… but when you’re a runner, you’re a runner – you feel bad not giving it your all, right?!

Bodmin Sport Relief

Bodmin Sport Relief

Give Us a Clue…

So it was that Dad and I found ourselves a good 1k ahead of the nearest participant, in the middle of no-where outside of Bodmin, literally at a crossroads… did we take the left path, the right path or the muddy track straight ahead. More to the point, where was the flippin marshal?! We chose the right path and hoped for the best and luckily it was the correct route. My Mum however wasn’t so lucky, choosing the muddy track straight ahead , getting completely lost and having to have a search party sent out for her (she was found eventually!).

Dad very kindly let me finish in front of him for the win, with photos for the local newspaper following. All capped off with a nice roast dinner and a pint of my favourite Doombar ale at the pub (surely the best part of running?)

Scenic Hills

A very enjoyable, hilly and scenic route however sub-par marshalling and directions. We had to run slowly with some locals for the first mile just to know where to go! All for charity though *he says through gritted teeth*!

Next Training

An easy run tonight as I taper off this week ready for a Championship race this Sunday – the Bournemouth Bay 10k!


Race: Winter Series 5k – a PB!

The last thing I felt like doing on Friday evening was running a 5k time trial! A busy week at work, running every night last week and the smell of pizza cooking in the oven just before I left, did NOT help!

The event was the last in what’s called the Winter Time Trials Series, a 5k race organised by Poole Runners at Boscombe Pier. I’d done many of their summer series runs before, but with Boscombe being a good hour round trip from home I’d never bothered with the Winter Series.

Revellers vs Runners

A strange atmosphere contrasting two cultural opposites. A number of bars and restaurants surround the race start line on the promenade which, on a Friday night, leads to a juxtaposition of Friday night revellers and restaurant goers mixed with a crazy bunch of runners putting themselves through the mill on a Friday night for ‘fun’(?!)

A note following last week’s Parkrun warm up post, I did no more than a few stretches and a gentle 5 minute jog to warm up for this 5k.

A Personal Best!

I got a 5k PB of 18:39! A PB of just 7 seconds but a PB none-the-less. It’s not the PB in itself that made me happy but the knowledge that the extra training I’d been doing for the last 3-4 weeks was paying off. It was hard at Parkrun last week to be 25 seconds off my PB when I’d been doing all that extra training!

The Course

The course was as fast as they get, a straight ‘out and back’ on the flat seafront promenade. In fact on this occasion they had changed the course so it was out and back from the pier to the east and out and back to the pier to the west. I was a little frustrated at the end as, it being pitch black I wasn’t aware of where the finish line was a had way too much left in the tank at the end. I think I could have gotten my time down to under 18:20 if I’d paced it better but never mind!

Next Training
I’m off out right now into the Spring sunshine for the Long Sunday Run, for around 90 minutes/12 miles-ish.

Race: The Lytchett 10 – 2014

The third race of my club championship and the first this year not to be held in driving rain and wind! In fact it was a day of glorious sunshine, bright blue skies, not a breath of wind and roughly 8 degrees – the race conditions dreams are made of! This is a really well organised race with great timing (only 1 sec off my Garmin and I was about 1 sec from the start line) and the most amazing array of cakes at the end!

400 runners lined up at the start line at 10:30am on Sunday 17th Feb. I was applying and reapplying (and then reapplying again) the plasters covering my blisters. It didn’t matter really, as 100 metres into the race I felt all my carefully cut and positioned plasters slip off and wedge awkwardly under my foot!

Start line of Lytchett 10 2013

Enough about bloody blisters though. I promise not to mention them again!

The Race

The course of the Lytchett 10 is hilly rather than undulating. It starts with a two mile loop, running from the Lytchett Manor School, down to Lytchett Minster and back round to the school (running past cheering spectators at what will be the finish in 8 miles time!) Following this, the route takes you up the long and gentle but taxing incline of Huntick Road. One of those hills where you don’t realise what hard work it was until you realise how out of breath you are at the top. From the top you turn left down Foxhills Road, a lovely downhill cruise before reaching the looming hill of Deans Drove. This hill is around 400 meters long but a very steep gradient. As I know it flattens out afterwards, my tactic was to attack it quite aggressively (to get it over and done with).

The route then takes you up to the village of Lytchett Matravers (and a water stop), before sweeping left down out of the village along Middle Road. Here is where you face the stretch that this race is famed for THE DOLMANS… *menacing voice* dah dah daaaah. Dolmans Hill is 1 mile of pure slog! After this is over you reappear back in Lytchett Matravers, past the same water stop and force your self to up your pace for the 2 mile downhill run to the finish.

My official finish time was 67:43, with my dad coming in 29th at 63:48 and my wife in at 77:43. The winner was Chris Powner of Winchester & District A.C. who set the course record in 50:55!! A good day all round! Full results here

Course map and profile:

Lytchett 10 course map and profile

Next Training

Perhaps some swimming tonight, followed by Poole A.C. track session tomorrow night.