This was my fourth running of this fabulous half marathon and the fourth time the weather was absolutely brilliant – good enough to sit on the beach in shorts and T shirts. In fact, given this weather, it’s probably a good time to book your holidays, rather than slog around thirteen miles.
Sadly, things are not quite so fabulous when you have to leave home at 5.30am in pitch darkness to make the 8.00am start which is close to Bournemouth Football Club – and which our own Graham Robinson clearly failed to do! I hadn’t realised this until he came flying past me after about half a mile in a desperate attempt to reach his usual place near the front! In fact, I am not sure where Graham actually did finish – because his chip number seems to have been knackered and he doesn’t figure in the results.
Regardless, I’m claiming it as my first victory over him – because my name appears first in the results! On reflection, he probably thinks he would have been better off just staying in bed. Another man flying, was Jim Laidlaw who clocked a 1.28 PB. I caught sight of Jim in his last mile and knew he was on for a “good one” – well done mate, and fully deserved. Great to see a few SJs on the course and thanks to Jenny, Nikki, Mark & Dave for support en route – although I’m sure I heard them laughing when I went by !
Afterwards, whilst enjoying my cooked breakfast overlooking the beach, I was looking forward to seeing the leading marathoners coming by. On past form they always approached from the right and so, as I dipped a piece of egg into the brown sauce, I was stunned to see the leading man (following the lead bike) come flying by – from my left!!! He was certainly going well with a lead that looked enormous, 5 mins, 10 mins, half an hour – and still no second man ! You’ve guessed it – there has been a gigantic cock up and he’s been sent the wrong way !!! Anyway, the organisers quickly recognised the error and the second man (and everyone else) ran the correct route. With a bit of jiggery pokery they somehow got the leader back on track and he was deservedly awarded the winners medal. He would have been well p****d off if he hadn’t!
As for me, a couple of minutes slower than last year and behind Jim, but importantly the first time I have finished in front of Graham!!!
Anyway, if you decide not to book a holiday in early October next year, and don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night, then I can recommend this event. Look forward to seeing you there – I’m in already!
The day starts at 4.15am when the first of three alarms goes off, just to make sure I get up at this unearthly hour. After porridge, toast and tea I leave to pick up Mike at 5.15am. Mike sleep walks to the car and after some unrepeatable language we set off.
We arrive at Bournemouth football stadium (10 mins from the start) at 6.30, Mike puts the heated seat on and settles down for a nap. At 7.50am we head for the start I wear a stylish blue Wokingham council bin liner for warmth, Mike has gone for a little black number.
We shake hands and go to our separate starts Mike on the White start and me on Red.
The gun goes at 8.00am and we are off. At three miles are the first of the SJ supporters; Jenny & Dave. It makes a difference when you hear your name.
Before long the lead runners have made the turn and are charging towards me, I soon see Graham, Jim, & Mike. Everyone looks good, I don’t have much of a race plan these days just aiming to get to the finish. Into the the last mile and I am aware of the SJ crew but too knackered to respond. We hit the last pier, I glance an my watch and am aware if I get a move on I might get 1.40 so I manage a sprint and get in at 1.39.57.
I meet Mike and we head off for breakfast on the sea front. The sun is shinning so what a great way to spend the day. We later heard Mike won our age group and I was 4th.