In short: Laps on the promenade In full: The wind was always going to be a factor – but it was not too wild and the cloud cover was most welcome as I was hot enough even without the direct sun. The race village had lots of tents with all sorts of goodies to tempt you ……………… and a great massage afterwards (even if it was more expensive than the usual after race service) The course was completely along the seafront concrete promenade, with a loop down and up a very small incline to the finish area on each of the 4 laps. My Garmin gave a distance of 13.04 A 5K and 10K race were on the same course, with the half turning point further along the promenade than the shorter races – the course was well marshalled with plenty of vocal guidance to ensure there wasn’t any confusion If the weather is right this is a real PB course, but the numerous tight turns (at cones) would have to be carefully managed The water station was within the first quarter of the lap and was manned by a cheerful bunch with people stationed before you reach it to remind you to drink! It meant that you passed it twice quite quickly and then no chance for a drink for quite a while – but to be fair you still had 8 chances for a drink.
In short: atmosphere was absolutely buzzing In full: The day was an unbelievable experience, the atmosphere was absolutely buzzing along the whole of the course.
The only celebrities I saw out on the course were Richard Branson and the caterpillar crew – I felt pretty smug as I sailed past them, only to have my confidence shattered when I tried to up my pace when I was overtaken by a Cornetto! Fortunately, I came to my senses and let it go, the problem for me was once I had made the decision to let it go “it was only one Cornetto” I just had that tune going over and over in my head for the next few miles.
The showers out on the course were a great idea on a hot and humid day and I ran through all 7 of them, if only I had dried off properly and changed into dry clothes afterwards perhaps I would not have finished with such horrendous blisters on my feet.
Mudchute Runners’ World support group at mile 17 was really useful – great support and a chance to refuel with something special.
Mile 19 was where I had arranged to look out for my support team and it was a real boost to see them all cheering for me and it was worth loitering a while to dip into the crowd.
Mile 22 through to the end was tough as you would expect – I had only run up to 22 miles in my training and I was definitely into new territory but the bands and the cheering really helped.
The final 2K were less pressure than I thought they would be, I knew I would get inside my target time and I was really able to savour the atmosphere and the setting The feeling when I crossed the line was more of relief that it was over and I had made it, rather than the joy that I had expected, it took a while for me to fully appreciated what I had just done, but the high lasted for days.
In short: Undulating In full: I was definitely either running uphill or downhill for 10 miles. I struggle with undulations and had only entered because it was a HRRL race - but I actually loved this course! Lovely views and a friendly bunch of marshals and runners. Thanks to the scouts for manning the water stations a good job excellently done
In short: Gold Star for Silverstone In full: The day was well organised. The parking was easy in and out and the race start and finish area were just great. Changing prior to the race in a huge garage felt a bit strange but there was plenty of room and it was out of the wind! The goody bag and the giveaways from the sponsors before and after the race were very generous and the race entry fee was a bargain as it also included the medal and tee shirt. I ran the last third of the race with The Runners World 10 minute pacer and this kept me on track for the final push up the incline in to the wind â€“ thanks and I hope your arm has recovered from carrying the sign! Bag collection was amazingly efficient as were the drinks stations out on the race track
In short: Rural River Valley Run In full: Strange start with a kerb just before the start line â€“ but a really great HQ and course. I love the track finish as it rounds of a lovely courseâ€¦â€¦â€¦.. Water satiations and marshals were good. Nice camaraderie at the back of the pack with â€œmagic sweetsâ€ being shared around to give a much needed sugar boost at the foot of the last hill
In short: Multi terrain â€“ tarmac, shingle, grass, mud & seaweed! In full: It was great to run the GSR finishing stretch feeling so fresh! I found this race quite hard but enjoyable â€“ the format of off and on road worked really well, but I am sure that a lot of PBâ€™s would have been lost in the mud and seaweed on the beach. Nice friendly Marshalls but I was expecting a water station at mile 6 (the pre-race map seemed to indicate the 3 & 6 mile stations were one and the same) so was really gasping at mile 9. Jelly beans were lovely. Nice goody bag â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.. thanks for the ice/heat pack
In short: Breathtaking In full: A great day for running The weather was perfect but the hills were a real challenge. A well organised race with a nice community atmosphere. Thanks to all The Scouts and marshals for help on the day. The signage was good out on the course and if you had time to take in some of the views across the Solent on a crisp clear morning they were breathtaking (just like the hills!)