Bournemouth - is this the end of the road marathons for me?
Long distance running is what I do, it is what I love and the challenge that I set myself physically and mentally. Marathon running is a strange beast; some can go completely to plan while others can take you on a journey that seems far longer than half a day! It is the varied nature of these runs that keeps me going back for more and pushing myself each time with different goals. Sometimes my goal is to finish, other times it is to be a bit faster and this year at the start of Bournemouth marathon it was not to be sick!
I ran two lovely trail marathons earlier in the year and enjoyed them both then April saw me at the start line for both Paris and London and both involved sickness which was particularly bad in Paris due to a combination of heat and fuel. I then ran a 50-mile trail race and a 62-mile race with no issues. So with Bournemouth the aim of finishing marathon number 20 without the sickness that hits me on a road marathon.
The morning started well with sunshine and a light breeze and I chatted with a couple of friendly faces in the starting pen. Once we got going it kept getting hotter and hotter and I was glad of my visor and the fact that I was wearing my race vest with my own water with electrolytes and fuel.
The route is really nice and the crowd support is great especially when you approach Bournemouth Pier for one of the out and back sections and you seem to hit a wall of sound. This gave me a boost as I had just seen Mr eGlove and team and then my friend and her running club buddies. I ran towards Boscombe Pier and was beginning to feel very hot and noticed I was covered in salt! I had a bit of a walk break along the pier and then ran back towards Bournemouth Pier. By this time, I was seriously wondering what I was doing and whether the best thing to do would be to pull out. The hill after the pier found me having a slight retch over the side but I am not classing that as sick! I poured water over my head from the next stop and headed along the route.
Mile 18 or was it 19 and I sat down on the curb next to a brilliant marshal and had a cry! He asked me if I wanted transport and had I done a marathon before and I asked him how long was left so that I could work out if I could walk the rest! His encouragement and the sit down gave me a boost. A quick phone call to James with a cry and another offer of support from another marshal this one was on a bike and I was ready to go.
I zipped up the man/woman suit and got on with it and actually enjoyed the rest of the race. I started to incorporate a walk break for each mile which gave me a focus and I picked out people ahead of me to try and catch! Both of these things worked despite the sight of three runners needing pretty serious medical help along a section in front of some beach huts which is always a sobering sight. I found myself actually smiling and singing along to the music playing in one of my headphones. The steel band were fantastic and the sight of the pier was encouraging. I found a runner in the last mile who is the daughter of my friend at work. She was having a bit of a moment so I said let’s run together to the end, it was a lovely way to finish the race as we saw James and her Mum and the sight of the finish was fantastic.
I have some lovely tan lines which is incredible for an October marathon, the beach was full of people having fun and swimming in the sea! We headed back to the car and a quick change and we were on our way home, job done, marathon 20 complete. The medal and the finishers shirt are great and I will wear the shirt as a little reminder to myself!
I found this marathon made me realise that my heart is in trail running and that tarmac is not for me! I enjoy seeing the fast runners and the crowds and the atmosphere of a road marathon is really special but I missed the varied terrain and the scenery and the quietness of a trail run.
Thanks for reading!
Editors note - links for the Bournemouth Marathon are here