The Inaugural Weymouth Half

15 March 2015

WeymouthProm

Got back from skiing in France the previous afternoon. With Paris coming up, I felt the need to go out Saturday, and eventually got out fairly late for 7 miles. It felt good to be running again after a week off. But how would this impact on Sunday’s Weymouth Half Marathon. Well in terms of the Paris plan, it should have been a leisurely half, so hopefully not much.

A strange start, walking to the start of a run. The start was quite early, 8:30. I was up in good time, breakfasted, but somehow managed to loiter enough for it to be after 8:00 when I left home. Minor panic. Ran part of the way into town. No need to warm up for this one! I was late getting to the baggage drop off. Three ladies were just heading out. Are you running they asked? (I guess I looked like a runner). They told me to strip! Not something I’m used to. I resisted the temptation to go all the way, deposited my stuff in my bag, and they took it from me – hmmmm would that be the last I’d see of it?

And off to the Weymouth’s clock tower for the start. Arrived with about two minutes to spare. Marathon training partner Hayley was at the back of the gathered hoards with Rachel who is going up to London with her in April. And soon we were off. I know it’s good to go off slowly, but this was painfully slow. I struggled to pick up speed, passing some familiar faces (or backs) – a quick chat with Bev from EHH, then we were heading outwards on the sea wall. We had to keep to the left. Next I was passing parkrunner coffee mate April from EHH, and soon parkrunner coffee mate Mark was passing in the opposite direction (on a bike – I guessed that was his role) followed by the speedsters, including the cream of the EHH, and soon afterwards President Richard and other parkrunner coffee mates Matt and Ray.

Then it was my turn to turn round by some time post parkrun coffee venue “The Oasis” and head back towards town. It was still quite slow but I was running faster. At the end of the sea wall a big cheer from EHH stalwarts the amazing Gail and John, then back through town and at some point a big cheer from parkrunner coffee mates Kim (guest blogger) and Jim. And also a big cheer from friends Paul and Anne Sycamore and daughter Hannah, there to support son David and also Hannah’s chap Andy. Through town and headed out to the Nothe for the steepest uphill part of the course. But it is thankfully very short. Before we know it we are heading towards the Rodwell Trail. Predictably the best drink station on the course is provided here by Sam from the Sandsfoot Cafe, and parkrunner coffee mate Mel is there too helping, along with parkrun director Mike, and some jelly babies from Kim and Jim. I looked forward to this part of the course. A nice gentle downhill stretch along the old railway line, and it’s difficult not to pick up pace here.

WeymouthHalfThen we turn left and strike out towards Portland. This bit of the course is not so much fun. Here it is just the railway track bed – no tarmac – it is rocky and uneven, and impossible to keep up the same pace, particularly if you are worried about the possibility of being injured. As we run along here, the leaders are passing us on the pavement the other side of the road. I see that Bruce from EHH is well up at the front. Very pleased to get to the end of this stretch and reach the site of the National Sailing Academy. And again we have runners coming towards us in the other direction, with Matt and Ray soon passing. We push on towards Portland Castle, a ‘U’ turn and now we are heading back towards England! I pass April and later Bev coming the other way. Now we are routed back to cross the road. There are stop / go boards and I can’t quite believe the amount of time the traffic is stopped for. Apparently there were some irate Portlanders afterwards!

Now back on the pavement. I’ve run this way so many times. And it is just about always WINDY. To be honest today is relatively calm, but it’s still tough back over the causeway. And then back up the Rodwell Trail. Now the slope is no longer our friend, and it’s getting tough. But we are pleased to see Mel again at the Sandsfoot drinks station, but sadly Kim and Jim are out of jelly babies. But what goes up has to come down. As we push on, the path starts to go downhill again towards town, and km no. 20 is my fastest of the whole run here. At the end of the Rodwell Trail, it’s right, over the bridge, and back into town. We are soon at the sea front and the finish is in sight. I feel I have probably put more into this than I should have done. Not much of a sprint, and I’m very pleased to reach the finish.

All-in-all a great morning out and huge thanks to those that gave us tremendous support, particularly to Kim and Jim and to the Sycamores who seemed to pop up at all manner of places along the route 🙂 According to Garmin this was the shortest half marathon I’ve ever done, coming in at 21.19 km (for the record Garmin logged Bournemouth at 21.42!). For me not nearly such a good run as when I ran the Bath last year, but officially I’d knocked 44 secs off Bath time, so a new PB of 1:52:30. It was Mother’s day and a lot of places were booked up. But eventually the post parkrun coffee club found space at Hamilton’s on the sea front. Apologies if I”ve missed anyone out – I probably did not see you on the way around

All-in-all a great morning out and huge thanks to those that gave us tremendous support, particularly to Kim and Jim and to the Sycamores who seemed to pop up at all manner of places along the route 🙂 According to Garmin this was the shortest half marathon I’ve ever done, coming in at 21.19 km (for the record Garmin logged Bournemouth at 21.42!). For me not nearly such a good run as when I ran the Bath last year, but officially I’d knocked 44 secs off Bath time, so a new PB of 1:52:30. It was Mother’s day and a lot of places were booked up. But eventually the post parkrun coffee club found space at Hamilton’s on the sea front.

Apologies if I didn’t give you a mention – hopefully it’s because I didn’t see you on the way around

Keith

previous run           next run