This is a highlighted race for me having had good runs here the past two years .
The beautiful sunrise over Boscombe is worth the 5am alarm on its own. With a chill in the air and a perfectly clear sky I knew it was going to be a great day. Having recently run PB times in both 5k and 10k distances I was feeling confident that I could go close to my previous best time of 1.29.37. I had traveled down with Jo Longmuir so the early drive wasn’t to lonely.
I saw the SJ masters Mike and Ray. Well… I saw Ray first as Mike was asleep in the car, we exchanged ‘good lucks’ and Mike told me not to get too excited early on. A quick ‘hello’ with Wayne at the bag drop and it was time to make the walk to the white start pen. I remembered a few words from Craig Bowles about being confident in my own running, gave myself a chat and got ready. I was going sub 1.30 today no doubt.
The course is flat enough for the first 4 miles ish so I just kept my head down and controlled my pace to around 6.40 minute miles. My plan was to hold this pace which would give me enough of a time buffer to be ahead when we got to the little hill at mile 8. This had been where I last year my time slipped.
At around the 5 or 6 mile point the route doubles back on itself and I spotted Mark, Jenny and Dave. A fresh looking Graham Robinson, looking like he was on gentle jog, went past on the other side of the road, as well as a Roman centurion! Nikki wasn’t far after that point and her shout of ‘you’ve got to catch the Roman’ made me chuckle. I couldn’t refuse her challenge and made up the distance and went past him before we turned into the first beach straight.
It was just a little bit cooler on the sea front and I was thankful of the gloves that I had gone to get from my car prior to the start. I knew that I was on target time wise and just had to maintain my pace remembering Mike’s advice to ‘Not get too excited’ and blow it before the hard part. The hill is only about 500 meters but it is definitely a climb. You can tell from my splits where it was.
After that your know it’s good. A flat section and then the return leg down to the beach front. I got back into the 6.40 pace and still felt like I could hang on. The last three and a bit miles are Bournemouth pier to Boscombe pier and back to Bournemouth pier. This gives you a massive target to run towards but it did feel like they weren’t getting any nearer. The SJ cheers squad were just where I needed them; just before and then just after Boscombe Pier. I had started to slow slightly and the pace was around 6.50, still ahead of the target and it makes such a difference having people you know shouting at you! I squeeze a bit more out of the legs, picked up the pace and got another 6.40 ish mile out at mile 12.
The last mile takes you round the Bournemouth Pier and back into the finish area. I hadn’t looked at my watch time wise as I’d set it up to only give me per mile times. Into the last stretch I gave it everything I had left and crossed the line. 1.28.47 !! I couldn’t believe it, I felt fantastic.