Bournemouth – End of the Road

“I need a new goal” I decided back in March. “I know” I thought to myself “I’ll run a Marathon, except this time, I’ll train properly for it” and thus began a 6 month journey starting back in April, with three 5km runs in a week to start building my running back up from nothing after injury, and despite some bad weeks and a few motivational set backs, I stuck to my plan, building up to the longest of my long runs with a 20 mile slog along the seafront making up the majority of a 50km running week. I then began to taper, it was all going so well, and then I got sick! All in all, during my training I covered just over 742km (461 miles) which is the equivalent of me running to Edinburgh from Hastings and still having a mile to go!

It took me a good few days to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t well enough to run, but eventually I had to admit to myself that although I could have probably handled a shorter run, and in all honestly could probably have even finished the Marathon itself, it would have been a really bad idea, I would have been in a terrible way afterwards and would it would have taken me forever to get round. I had to call it, and a couple of days before the race was due to take place, I withdrew my place. I have nothing to prove to anyone these days, and there will be other Marathons (if I can be bothered to go through the training again) but my health is more important – I guess I’ve grown up!

Still, I travelled with my husband and our friends Viki and Mick to Bournemouth as planned, for Phil to run the Marathon, and Viki to run the half. We had a lovely evening out the night before after eventually finding an Italian that wasn’t booked up the night before a race and even got a bonus and unexpected quick catch up with an old friend we’ve not seen for ages, before hitting the sack in the creakiest hotel in the world. Viki and Mick were up with the lark for Viki to get to the 8am start of the half, Phil and I having a somewhat more leisurely morning for the 10am Marathon start.

Phil waiting for the off

It was bitter sweet watching Phil prepare to race and head to his start pen. When they started the race I actually felt quite choked up and emotional. I waved Phil off and then loaded up my google maps and plotted myself a walk to the finish to find Viki and Mick.

It was clear that the race was well organised at the start, there were plenty of toilets, the pens were well marked and there wasn’t a huge wait for the back pens to cross the start line. The bag drop was easy to use and the course looked to be well marked from a spectators point of view.

I arrived at the finish line (about 2.5 miles from the start) shortly after Viki completed her half marathon, then Viki, Mick and I went and found ourselves seats outside a bar where we could keep ourselves refreshed while watching some of the route and waiting for Phil. Mick estimated when Phil would come past if he was on course for the time he wanted, and he appeared around the pier dead on time looking strong.

Phil appearing on the pier

We cheered him on as he took off for the final 8 or 9 miles, feeling hopeful that he would be back with us soon for a celebratory drink, however as we sat enjoying the surprisingly warm October sunshine I received a text from Phil saying he had hit the wall and was struggling, and to expect him closer to the 4 hour mark.

At about 10 minuets before we expected Phil back we abandoned our seats at the bar and muscled our way in next to the barrier near the finish and started keeping watch. He came up right when he has said he would, and, managing a smile, fought his way up the final straight to the finish with us cheering him loudly.

Finishing in a little over 4 hours

Once Phil had collected himself a bit, and collected his bag from the equally well organised bagging area at the finish, and we had helped him get changed and more or less helped him retain his dignity as he did so we then went on the search for food.

After eating we took a slow walk to the hotel where Phil and Viki got themselves cleaned up and we all had a rest before heading out for a celebratory meal and a few drinks. It was a brilliant weekend spent with some of my favourite people, and even the fact that I couldn’t take part only diminished a little of its shine. We are already planning a return trip next year for another weekend of fun and running!

Celebrating with a lot of food!

Both Viki and Phil did amazingly well and it was a privilege to be a part of their support crew for the weekend. Bring on Bournemouth 2018!

 

Maverick Race Original Series – Kent (Road to Bournemouth Week 25)

It was so nice to start this week knowing that the hard work was done. No long run to dread on my day off! Instead I did a little run on Monday round the park, and a second one on Tuesday with my friend Linda, I did a few more kilometres at a HIIT class and finally a couple more at my PT session and that was it for training leaving me with the 21km Maverick trail race to do, something we probably shouldn’t have booked the week before the marathon, but my planning isn’t always perfect!

The race was only about an hour from home, so it didn’t require a crazy early start. Registration was well organised and we soon had our numbers pinned to our fronts ready to go.

Groombridge Place in Kent where the race took place

The race was based at Groombridge Place, and had three distances to choose from. The course split immediately after the start line, in front of the house, taking the short and medium distance people off to the right, and the long course people to the left.

I headed left up the path and we were soon directed up a narrow path uphill. At this point it was single file, so if you were trying to race you needed to be near the front. It could have got very frustrating as you really couldn’t pass people and the line had already slowed to a walk. Since I was taking it easy in preparation for next weekend I wasn’t too worried and was happy to power walk the hill until I was able to pass a few people and run again.

The course was beautiful, through muddy trails, woodland paths, and up over hills with gorgeous views. None of the hills were too killer on the way up, although some were muddy and tricky to navigate on the way back down.

View from the top of one of the hills

It was a beautiful autumn day, the sun was shining and it was the perfect temperature for running. The course was well marked, although I did see one man miss the sign  that directed you off the path into the trees with a little note that said it was less boggy that way, and had ended up knee deep in mud!

The whole course was really enjoyable, from the muddy trails in the woods, with ponies looking at you bemused over fences, to plodding through farmers fields. It could well be my favourite run of the year so far.

Finished

Having done two Maverick races now, both of which have been excellent, I can’t recommend them enough. I’m looking forward to trying out their Dark series in November and December. If you like trail running, get a Maverick race on your calendar!

Week 25 running total: 37.4km

1 week to go…