I meant to write this post last week but it seemed to just fly by, what with prepping myself for leaving for Chicago and a few other commitments.
However, better late than never in my eyes, so here it is. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed running it!
I’d signed up for the Bournemouth half, after my friend Anna mentioned she was running it. A great last long run and chance to spend some time when my aunt and uncle. Mid afternoon on Saturday I made my way down to their house, in Bournemouth, to spend the rest of the weekend with them. They lived a 10 minute walk away from the start area, and I hadn’t seen them in a while, so it was a great chance to visit and catch up!
Saturday evening we went out for pasta at a local restaurant and planned where they would stand along the course to see me!
I woke around 6am on Sunday morning to eat breakfast and give myself time to get ready. We left the house shortly after 7am, with some friends in tow, and made our way to the race village. The race started at 8am, which I was quite glad about, as it was good prep for the early start I had in Chicago. After just making it to my starting pen, I found Miriam, said goodbye to my uncle and waited to start. The sky was blue, the sun was shinning and there was a real buzz in the air. I managed to also find Anna and Kyle, meet his family and Kyles brother – who was running his first half marathon!
Shortly after 8am, a little later than predicted, we steadily crossed the start line and made our way through the town and down to the sea. The course had a few twists and turns, and out and backs, but on such a beautiful day and lots of people out cheering, they were hardly recognised. My plan was to run easy and pick up the pace for the last 3 miles.
Continuing back along the top of the sea front, I spotted my aunt and uncle around mile 5, before heading down along to the beach. Here it was quite tight, and you had to be very mindful not to slip on the sand.
Continuing down along by the sea, there were loads of people out. Waiting to see friends and loved ones run by, others walking their dogs and even some swimmers. Lots to keep the mind occupied as running straight definitely can get boring – well for me anyway!!!
Around mile 7/8 we had made our way past Boscumbe Pier, away from the sea front and up quite a steep and wiggly hill. I definitely walked here, greeted by people cheering at the top.
I knew that we were getting closer to the finish, but I struggled after the hill. Mentally I had to give myself a talking to, and started to think of other things to keep me going. Continuing towards the town, down and back along the sea front we went. I knew at this point what I had feared – we were running back towards and round Boscombe pier before heading back to, and around, Bournemouth Pier!!!
I passed Kyle, then Anna on my way, which mentally helped. With less than a parkrun left and focusing on the faster pace, helped too!
Around Boscombe pier I met Miriam, who looked strong and was doing a really great pace – she FINALLY got her sub 2 hour half marathon, and I’m so proud of her. She’s bounced back from a knee injury and has put a lot of work into her training.
Finally, 2 miles left, I had this in the bag. I knew my aunt and uncle would be near the finish and as I ran onto the Bournemouth pier, there was my aunt shouting loudly – another boost I needed! Round the pier, back towards the city centre and through the finish line. 1 hour 55 minute half, I was happy.
I walked round to collect my medal, a really cool finishers box – loved their reduction of plastic here but not along the course. Heading to find my aunt and uncle, I bumped into Anna and Kyle and had a quick chat. Anna has struggled slightly but has come back strong from hamstring issues from the start of training. She’s kept strong both mentally and physically throughout, and bounced back to being able to run Chicago, which I’m super happy about! Goodbyes said, I was reunited with family and we made our way home to shower and head out for brunch.
The only negative to the race was the use of a lot of plastic both during and after the race. I understand it’s hard to drink from a cup when running, and there were many volunteers collecting the bottles which was great, but unfortunately it’s not that environmentally friendly. Aside from that, I thoroughly enjoyed this half. It was a beautiful route, very well organised and lots of email updates and information throughout the weeks leading up to the day. If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend this half marathon. It was flat (minus the one hill), well organised, well spectated and beautiful. The coast is not somewhere I get to visit very much, but I enjoy it so much when I do.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and week so far! Up next will be my Chicago marathon post, which I’m extremely excited about writing, but you’ll have to wait a few more days for that one!!!!
Thank you again for reading!