Race Report by Alison Lowe
I won a place in this race by entering a Twitter competition (just retweeting a tweet) run by UK runchat. As Southampton is my home town I thought it would be fun to run there – and the prize also included a free event hoodie and race vest. As I had never done any sport at school I thought it was about time I dragged my Dad to come and watch me – he’s 80 next week!
The day didn’t start too well and I woke up with a bad headache and generally feeling a bit rough so I was very glad I was only running 10km and not a half marathon. Then we went to catch the train to Southampton only to find that the train had been delayed due to ‘disruptive passengers!’ There were other runners waiting and we had left enough time and luckily the train was only 20 minutes delayed.
The start of the race was a short walk from the station in a park next to the Guildhall. The half marathon runners had set off at 10am with the 10km start 45 minutes later. We were lined up in plenty of time with a short warm up and with pacers provided. It was a lovely sunny morning but a cold wind so was pleased when we finally set off – the race being start by Laurie McMenemy (Southampton manager when they won the FA Cup in 1976).
Not feeling 100% I didn’t have high hopes of getting a good time – but I was surprised how good I felt when I started running and was pleased with my pace.
The route took us into the city centre and the main shopping areas and down towards the docks. From there we then went onto the Itchen Bridge – which is a high level bridge just short of a kilometre long. It is not flat! The first section was quite a steep hill up – as it was a glorious day I tried to ignore the gradient by admiring the views and watch the other runners come back on the other side. After a short decent down we turned round and ran back over the bridge – but luckily the hill back up was not as steep as the other end. Again the views from the highest point of the bridge were great, including seeing a huge luxury liner in the other part of the port. As we left the bridge we passed the 5km mark and I was pleased to see my time was faster than its been at parkrun for a while.
Next stop was up to St Mary’s stadium – home of Southampton FC- a new addition to the route this year. We ran round the outside of the stadium then entered inside and ran along one length of the pitch which was a nice diversion.
Back outside it was then less than 3 kms to the end – through the less scenic areas of the city until returning to the park in the city centre and after a few twists and turns the finish was in sight – with the half marathon finishers streaming in to the same road to finish across the same line. My watch only clocked 9.3km ( I think due to an underpass we’d been through) so I kept running past the finish to make it register 10km. Just after the finish we were ushered into the correct lanes to collect the great medal and another tshirt.
I was pleased my time was under an hour but wasn’t sure how close to my PB it was – having seen the results I was thrilled to see it was a 30 second pb.
Overall a great race – a fantastic atmosphere with loads of support on the way round. The half marathon also went via the bridge and the stadium but then went further north and back through Southampton Common.
My time was 57.46 – a PB