The second day of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival kicked off early doors with the Half Marathon race where almost 3,900 people lined up at Kings Park to embark upon their 13.1 mile journey.
Amongst those taking part were eight Bournemouth AC representatives, all hoping to get a good result to justify all the hard training they’ve put in over the Summer and Autumn months.
There was a noticeable freshness at that time in the morning and a chill in the air that was very prominent as the runners huddled in the start pens waiting for the race to begin.
The BAC contingent included Rob McTaggart, who was gunning for a top three position, with his eyes firmly on the lucrative prize money that would bring.
It was also a rare outing for Stu Fox, who hasn’t featured in a race since the London Marathon in 2017. Plus there was a half marathon debut for Katrina White, who is fairly new to the racing circuit in general but bravely decided to throw her hat into the ring.
After a feisty opening mile, Tag soon lost interest and realised he was in for a tough shift. He wasn’t too fussed though as he hasn’t really been training too hard since the end of the track season.
Finishing in 8th place with a time of 1 hour 14 minutes and 2 seconds, it wasn’t one of Tag’s better days but a top ten finish in a competitive field like that is not such a bad result.
At his best Tag would have been a major contender in this race, having registered a half marathon PB of 70 minutes and 25 seconds at the Big Half Marathon in London earlier in the year. He’s now going to start ramping his training up in preparation for the Telford 10k which takes place in December.
After not having competed in a race for so long, Stu Fox could have been forgiven for being a little ring rusty. He enjoyed the race though and appreciated the support he was given by his fellow BAC teammates who were out en route watching.
A superb time of 1:14:46 sealed a top-ten finish for Foxy, marking a marvellous return to the racing scene. Although he hasn’t competed in such a long time, Stu has still been training hard and running on a very consistent basis. The fact he was able to perform at this level bodes very well for future appearances on the racing scene.
The route for the race took the competitors from Kings Park through to Southbourne, where they headed past shops and down toward the seafront.
A stretch along the Overcliff roads followed before heading down Southbourne Coast Road and over to Hengistbury Head. From there it was back along the promenade toward Boscombe Pier.
In the early stages of the race, Trev Elkins and Chris O’Brien were running together with the pair side-by-side as they couriered through the mean streets of Southbourne.
Having only done a couple of shorter distance races recently in the New Forest Marathon 5k and the Hoburne 5, Chris wasn’t really sure what to expect from the race. He started strongly but was wary of overdoing it so held back and let Trev push on on his own.
Targeting a finish of around the 1:25 mark, Trev knew he’d have to push quite hard in the early stages and just hope that he was able to maintain the pace in the latter stages.
It wasn’t the best of starts for Trevor as he was still in the port-a-loo when the race got underway. He had to quickly legged it into the white pen behind everyone else and start his watch as he went over the line.
Once he got going, he found he was comfortably hitting sub-4-minute kilometre splits. Going through the 10k point in just over 39 minutes, it was so far so good for Trev at that stage.
At around mile 7/8, the course leads up the hill in Boscombe Gardens and out onto the Overcliff. That’s the tough part of the race. After that it’s down towards the promenade and then ending with a few miles on the flat before heading onto Bournemouth Pier and out onto the finishing straight.
It was a slow grind up the hill for Trevor and the wheels started to come off soon after. He still managed to hit the 10 mile marker in 1 hour 4 minutes and 51 seconds though, which incidentally was an outdoor PB for Trevor. Although the first signs of struggle were there, he was still well on course for a 1:25 finish at that point.
Unfortunately he didn’t quite have the strength or the endurance to keep the pace going and he began to slow down on the way to to Bournemouth.
Meanwhile, Chris O’Brien was having good run and overtook Trev at around 11 miles. He was able to keep to a consistent pace for the last few miles and even managed to put in a really strong sprint finish over the last 300 metres. Crossing the line in an excellent time of 1:26:50, he came in 103rd place overall and 10th in the 45-49 category.
Losing a lot of time on the last mile, Trev eventually crossed the line in 1:27:37 putting him in 122nd place overall and 25th in the 35-39 category. That was almost an identical time to what he produced in the same race last year.
Although he was expecting to do better, there were still lots of positives to take out of it for Trevor considering he ran really well for the first half of the race and the fact that the run incorporated a 10 mile PB showed he’s got the speed up to a certain point. He just needed a little more speed endurance to see him through that final stretch.
Still searching for his first ever sub 1:30 half marathon, Pawel Surowiec was taking on his third recent half marathon. He fell short of his target at the Robin Hood Half Marathon in Nottingham the weekend before and the New Forest Half Marathon a few weeks before that.
Determined to make a better fist of it at the BMF, which would represent his last opportunity for a while. Pawel went for it from the outset.
As it turned out, he didn’t quite have enough for a sub 1:30 finish but he did end up registering a new half marathon PB of 1:32:04, beating his previous best which had been set in the same race last year by 6 seconds.
That gave Pawel a 219th place finish in the overall standings and 41st in the 35-39 category. He was honest enough to admit afterwards that he still has work to do before he’s at the level where he can vi for a sub 1:30 finish. It was still a PB though and no matter how marginal the difference, they all count and all demonstrate progress of some sort.
Forgetting to bring both her watch and her headphones with her on the morning of the race, Louise Broderick had no way of checking what pace she was running at. That meant it was just case of enjoying the race and seeing what the result was at the end.
A few miles into the race she found a running buddy and succeeding in chatting her way through the rest of the race, blissfully unaware that she was going at much faster pace than she’d imagined she would do.
Completing the course in a time of 1:42:40, she took 671st place in the overall standings and was 10th placed female in the 45-49 category.
Considering it was her first ever half marathon race, Katrina White handled the occasion really well. On her entry form, she’d put down 1 hour 45 minutes as her expected time but she wasn’t exactly sure how achievable that would be.
Realistically, she would have been happy with anything under 1 hour 50 minutes. She ran the race extremely well to finish in a time of 1:45:03, which was a cracking result.
That made her 112th female over the line and put her in 805th place overall Being able to produce a time like that in her first ever half marathon shows she has great potential for the future.
Having not done too much specific training for the half marathon distance, Sam Laws was quite happy to register a time of 1:58:20 which put her in 1,784th place overall. That made her 64th female in the 45-49 category.
That completed the line-up from a Bournemouth AC perspective in what was an enjoyable yet challenging race. Those running were massively boosted by the tremendous support they received from their BAC teammates who were spectating and other locals watching on.