Bournemouth Half Marathon – 2.10.16

Race Report by Kelvin Elliott

I set myself a challenge in August that I wanted to do 4 Half Marathons in 7 weeks and I had completed Kenilworth and the Great North Run which were totally different and amazing experiences which had tested me both physically and mentally.            I traveled down to Bournemouth in full anticipation of what this Half Marathon would bring running by the sea.

The Half Marathon was part of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival weekend which consisted of a 10k and 5k run on Saturday afternoon and evening, followed by the Half Marathon that would start at 8am and at 10am the Marathon on Sunday. I opted for the Half as there was not much recovery time from races on Saturday.

The day of the race started really early as I was up at 5.45am for breakfast and set off at 6.45am to the start venue of Kings Park Athletics stadium. Once I got to my destination I said farewell to my chauffeur and support manager Eunice. Eunice was going to be my support crew at mile 9 and then the finish. Whilst I was waiting to meet up with Lisa the sun was rising which was a beautiful sight although it was very chilly. I met up with Lisa Jay who would be running in the Massey colours for the first time and fellow Coventry park runners Maggie and Carmel. We dropped the bags at the baggage area did last minute toilet checks and a team photo.

We all headed towards the starting area and got to the zones which we would be starting off, we wished each other good luck and I headed to the blue zone. The race soon started out of Kings Hill Park which was a slight downhill then we headed towards Southbourne Road. I made good progress to the first mile getting into my rhythm that I want to run the course. I headed down the road overtaking many runners as the route looped as we headed towards the sea front. Soon I had got to the 2nd mile I noticed that I had sped up from the speed I was doing at the start so I needed to slow down. The course then headed to the sea front and we started to run towards Bournemouth. After a half mile down the front I saw the leading runners coming back the opposite way. I made good progress to the 3 mile marker and I was happy with the time when I passed that point, on the other side of the road I saw Lisa coming back so we cheered each on.

I carried on and soon made the turning point and headed down the road running towards Christchurch. I could see large numbers of runners who were behind me as I reached the next mile as we passed the numerous water stations on the course. It felt that were running further away from the finish as we ran along the cliff face. I passed the 5 mile point making good progress and about half mile later the course went downhill to the actual sea front in which we had a 3mile run passing beach huts, toilets and few people walking their dogs. I got to the 10k mark and I had to make a quick pit stop. There was no breeze and it was starting to warm as the sun shone. It was nice running along the sea front if it had been on the sand it would have been a scene from Chariots of Fire as it felt I was running in slow motion but I wasn’t. There was quite a bit of support as we approached Boscombe Pier which was mile 8 and he headed up hill to the really tough part of the course as we headed up a slope towards the Chime Gardens and we soon started running up a very steep vertical hill. Lots of runners in front of me started to walk and I had to weave past them which was exhausting especially running up a hill. I reached the top and exited the gardens which brought us back on to the cliff face. I managed to regain my stride as headed on the front. As I approached mile 9 I could see my support crew on the right side of the road by my base for the weekend which gave me a boost as there was not far to go. I carried on making good progress the course took a change as we ran down a steep walkway to the sea front and the mile 10marker was there to great us. Before we turned the corner the crowds were deep and lots of support and complete strangers shouting Go Kelvin which was uplifting I turned left and ran down the promenade towards Boscombe pier which was narrow as you could see the runners ahead coming back towards you to the finish. As I approached the pier I could see Lisa heading back and we were able to high five each and encourage each other. I had to do a lap of the pier which was good then it was a mile and a bit to go. I headed back towards Bournemouth Pier I could see that there was lots of runners behind me. I approached the pier and the noise of crowd was there again as I ran the length the pier I knew that the finish was not far as I exited the pier I turned the corner and there was the finish which was great as it was starting feel really warm. I crossed the line and my phone texted me my result that showed I had ran a time of 2hrs 22m 19s.

I received my medal which was amazing and collected my goodie bag and met up with Eunice and caught up with Lisa, Maggie and Carmel for a finisher’s photo. Overall this is a great run to do. Good support from the marshals and spectators lovely views of the seaside and great atmosphere and support. I love the medal and T shirt, it is a half I would definitely would do again and recommend. The weather was very chilly at the start by the finish was very warm and sunny.