The Bournemouth Half Marathon is a great way to experience the sites and sounds of this great coastal town. Rachel Orton has been and experienced this run for herself and here's her thoughts...
Training and gear
I wanted to do the Bournemouth half marathon as I have never been to Bournemouth and it would be a great way to get to see Bournemouth.
Training was a a bit of a mixed bag as I have been doing a lot of obstacle course races on the lead up to this race and they are over a similar distance but you get to stop running when you get to an obstacle. I ran for 6 and 8 miles straight per week and added spin, core and circuit classes on top of the runs. I bought a new pair of running trainers, Brooks Ghost 7, but they rubbed so much even after wearing them in that I reverted to my Nike gym trainers. I use a Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS Watch while I run to track my average pace, time and distance. I also use a Camelback for carrying my water, supplemented by High 5 hydration tablets.
You do not have to have a backpack or GPS watch, but you should definitely have a good pair of trainers that suit the needs of your feet. I buy my trainers from Sweatshop and get my gait tested to make sure I look after my feet and prevent injury.
On Race Day
The start venue was close to a football stadium that provided car parking. It was £3.60 for 6 hours and was all clearly signed with plenty of space when we arrived about an hour before the start of the race. The finish line however is not too close the stadium to my friends actually moved the car to a smaller car park that was close to the finish. There were a lot of race marshals at the start venue helping people find their start pen and they were all very jolly, enthusiastic people. There were also plenty of toilets dotted around the start venue as well as a shop that sold food and drink.
The start pens all had the corresponding coloured flags so you could see at a glance where you needed to be. The race started on time with a great lively MC getting the crowds active. The course was nice and wide which kept conjestion between runners low and it's always nice when you have enough space so that you're not tripping over each other!
The mile markers were colour coded for the half and full marathon which meant I was always clear about where I was and how much farther I had to go. As the half marathon started at 8am it was an early start to the day and a cold and misty one at that. By mile 3 I had warmed up, the mist had lifted and the sun had started to shine. It was a beautiful course on the coast with views that made it all worthwhile. There were more hills than I expected and the full marathon runners faced a pretty steep hill at mile 17 that I was glad I wouldn't have to face!
Crossing the Finish Line
There was a huge amount of atmosphere around the finish area and the layout of the course meant that you ran through this section with 3 miles still to go so you really got a chance to soak it all in. I absolutely love that we got to run up and down two pairs as it wasn't something I had ever done in a race before. It was a shame that the finish line was round a corner and not a clear line of sight to give you something to focus on when you are getting your final sprint on.
It was a really well organised finish with multiple people giving out medals. Just behind that there were clearly marked tables with the size of the finisher's t-shirt so you could pick up your goody bag with the t-shift in there already. There were lots of people offering bottled water as it was a warm day and there was no restriction on the amount of bottles you could take.
I received a text message with my race time on not long after i finished the race. The timing chip was on the back of the race number so no messing with attaching a chip to your shoe laces. I received my race number in the post two weeks before the race which meant no registration on the day which takes a lot of stress out of the start of the day as your all ready to go.
As the race finished on the beach front I treated myself to an ice cream on the beach from the vender on the front. When i finished my ice cream i was just in time to see the elite marathon runners pass by so I cheered them on.
In the goody bag there was your technical t-shirt, High 5 hydration tablet samples, an Eat Natural bar, Ocean Spray dried fruit, a bag of crisps, packet of mints, sample packs of shampoo, some iron supplement and Teapigs tea bags.
This is definitely a race that i would recommend to others and one that i would like to return to but to conquer the marathon. If you're looking to get involved, check out our listings for long distance running events here!