The New Forest Marathon event comprises of four different races; a marathon, a half marathon, a 10k and a 5k. Bournemouth AC had representation in three out of the four races, with Billy McGreevy entering the marathon, Peter Thompson and Tom Paskins in the half-marathon and Chris O’Brien in the 5k.
A fair bit of rainfall in the two days prior meant that the ground had softened significantly, making it into a proper off-road environment for the participants to contend with. Billy McGreevy went into the marathon with the aim of keeping to a 6:45 average pace throughout.
Despite a few hills on the course and some boggy sections, Billy was able to keep to his intended pace and finished the race in a stellar time of 2:56:35. This put him in 8th place out of a field of 738. The achievement of posting a sub-three-hour time on this kind of terrain should not be underestimated.
The half marathon race saw the return to competitive action of Peter Thompson. Understandably, Peter has had to have a long period of recuperation after his 44 marathons in 44 days challenge so it was really good to see him back out there racing again.
He also showed that he’s still got the speed to be up there with the best, completing the race in a super quick time of 1:19:34 which put him in 10th place out of 1,905 finishers. Again, it was an extraordinarily quick time given the difficulty of the course.
Coming in just two places after Peter, Tom Paskins recorded his second fastest half marathon time to date, crossing the line in 1:21:17. This was a fantastic result for Tom considering the off-road and undulating characteristics of the race.
It was only three weeks since Tom completed a fantastic victory in Extreme North Quadrathon, which entailed running four half marathons in four consecutive days. Tom won all four of the races, taking home the title in true style. Fortunately the after effects of such a tough and exasporating challenge don’t seem to have slowed him down.
In the 5k race, Chris O’Brien put in a strong display, finishing in 2nd place with a time of 21:46. The course was very slow due the extensive mud, making it very slippery in places and practically turning it into a cross-country race.
In fact Chris was only 22 seconds behind the race winner but he didn’t want to tempt fate and push too hard on the muddy bits when it is so close to the Bournemouth Marathon, which is currently his primary focus.
Chris was coming off the back off a half marathon PB that he claimed the previous weekend at Maidenhead so the signs for his marathon training progress are looking very good at the present time. He did, however, feel a degree of sympathy for the guy who would have come first if he hadn’t taken a wrong turn just before the finish.