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Race Report: Bournemouth Marathon

October 12, 2015

Pretty happy, could do better. What, that’s not enough? Oh ok then, here’s the gory details…


10am is a late start for a marathon. It seemed odd to be having breakfast at a normal time before a race. The start was well organised and friendly but it was only as I went to find my pen that I realised that those with top-club get to hang out in the Elite area with our own bag drop and loo. Still, loo-queueing is good for settling the nerves.

As I arrived at the pen I recognised a whole bunch of athletes from Team Run Fast who train over at Mile End on the same night as Advent Running (who I go with and who are amazing and make track fun!). It was a little bit daunting but also felt nice to see some familiar faces. All the rest of the runners in my pen had their names on their bibs except for three of us. We had a bit of a giggle about how out of place we felt.


Me, along with a Ukrainian who competed in the 2011 World Championships , a Latvian who did the marathon in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics and England’s best marathon runner at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The gun went and I felt relaxed and happy – just glad to get out there. The streets looked familiar and a Emmanuel church Bournemouth were the first and the best cheer-squad I saw on the way around. I ended up in a bit of a head-to-head with another lady in orange shorts for a while, which Mr B commented on when he first saw me. I then realised that my watch wasn’t auto-splitting, so I had no idea what pace my first mile was. Oops. I managed to change the settings as I ran.

Next I started running next to two gents, one who was an ultra runner who had already done mileage that morning and was helping the guy with him to go for 3:30:00. This worried me a little but I was pretty sure they were way off that. I soon saw a lady called Juliet who came one spot ahead of me last year. Her husband was cycling along some of the route to encourage her too and was clearly trying to get her to a 3hr so I set my eyes on trying to keep up with her but, in the friendliest way possible. By now I was starting to lose my earlier head-to-head orange shorts lady and the pace still felt good but I was feeling the heat a bit. Juliet had a bit of a nightmare race and proceeded to have stomach issues, which was worrying to see but she’s a seasoned racer and still caught me up and overtook me again.

13miles. The first hill and the bit where you go through the finish line. Ugh. It’s just mean. At this point I had my first mental wobble, but I know that happens. It’s also the only point in the race where there is a really big crowd, so it was nice to get a boost from the band and of course Mr B was doing his usual speed-of-light dashing between points to cheer me on. At mile 14 someone shouted to another runner that they were way off 3 hr pace. I didn’t think this was the case but it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Mr B caught me soon after and assured me it was still ok – I’d made good time early on so I had a bit to play with but I didn’t want to rely on that.

The out and backs around the piers and into the ‘chines’ of Bournemouth don’t help with keeping speed up as there’s lots of turns, but the bit I was dreading was the hill at 17/18mile and the long out and back along the seafront at the end of the race. Don’t get me wrong, running along the sea is lovely, but when you can’t see the pier that you are aiming for it’s a teeny bit annoying! As you’ll see from the chart below, mile 17 is where things started slow up.  Mr B informed me that he’d taken over my facebook page, which was lovely (if sightly embarrassing to hear). It’s funny because he posted that at mile 20 I was looking strong, which isn’t what I felt, but is testament to the excellent training plan Ben has had me on and the “you got it” attitude that AR have been instilling in me. I was still tempted to try to chat to Mr B …his words “don’t speak, just run”. My legs were feeling heavy by now and as I finally made it back to mile 25 Mr B started running with me. His valiant attempt to get me to sprint finish was somewhat ignored though! My form was awful and if you want a good laugh check the photo on the BMF website – I look like I’ve got a broken leg or something! I crossed the line in 3:04:50, 5th female and 41st overall.I knew that Juliet was way ahead of me and I wasn’t sure of my placing  but I knew that I’d done what I could. First things first – get a photo with my AR hat on of course.

Along the way I bagged a half marathon PB and I’m sill wondering if I might have done a 10k PB at the start too, which would explain a  lot! I’m excited that Sophie Carter finished second, doing the British ladies proud in 2:56:42. Sadly Juliet didn’t get her sub three either, but she’s done it before and she’ll do it again.

As always, the water crews were great (though I was very thirsty all the way around) and the people were friendly around the route. I think I took my gels earlier than I might normally do and I got through three which is unusual and probably too much. I made it through with no music, no podcast and whilst at mile 24 all I could think of was “let’s get this over” and “please can I have a Mr Whippy icecream?”, the moment I crossed the line I was glad I’d got the next race lined up. One of my favourite moments was around mile 20 when Mr B ran alongside me and shouted “enjoy it”, because I did and I do but sometimes you just need to remember that at the right time.

The Sub 3 hr just didn’t happen and you know what, I’m less annoyed than I thought I would be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to settle. It’s still there for the taking but I’m learning more and more that no run is a waste of time when it comes to training.


Mile Pace GAP Elev
1 6:40 /mi 6:39 /mi 2 ft
2 6:40 /mi 6:47 /mi -23 ft
3 6:31 /mi 6:49 /mi -63 ft
4 6:45 /mi 6:45 /mi -4 ft
5 6:50 /mi 6:25 /mi 75 ft
6 6:44 /mi 6:38 /mi -12 ft
7 6:41 /mi 6:26 /mi 31 ft
8 6:42 /mi 6:54 /mi -58 ft
9 6:44 /mi 6:27 /mi -36 ft
10 6:45 /mi 6:38 /mi 25 ft
11 6:47 /mi 6:45 /mi -19 ft
12 6:56 /mi 6:27 /mi 54 ft
13 7:20 /mi 6:45 /mi 36 ft
14 6:41 /mi 6:39 /mi -74 ft
15 7:05 /mi 7:01 /mi -24 ft
16 6:48 /mi 6:41 /mi -4 ft
17 7:02 /mi 6:55 /mi -7 ft
18 7:52 /mi 6:38 /mi 134 ft
19 7:17 /mi 7:07 /mi -35 ft
20 7:03 /mi 7:11 /mi -71 ft
21 7:17 /mi 7:11 /mi -29 ft
22 7:11 /mi 6:35 /mi 3 ft
23 7:10 /mi 6:52 /mi 17 ft
24 7:39 /mi 7:10 /mi -3 ft
25 7:44 /mi 7:24 /mi 3 ft
26 7:45 /mi 7:35 /mi -26 ft
0.3 7:45 /mi 7:06 /mi 28 f

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Joan Bland permalink
    October 12, 2015 11:33 pm

    You were included in a very impressive line up! I enjoyed reading all the gory details. Amazing run, Gill.

  2. October 13, 2015 10:28 am

    To clock that time and bag an in-race PB is no mean feat! Congratulations on an amazing run – sub 3 is only around the corner, I’m sure. I can’t begin to imagine even completing 3.04!

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