With Spring clearly on its way and the extended Easter Weekend I rather impulsively entered this race.
It’s not often you get the chance to do a Quarter Marathon and I fancied a slightly shorter test following Salisbury and Yeovil Half the weeks before.
The Quarter Marathon is a slightly quirky distance. In essence it’s 10km with an extra lap of a running track stuck on the end. The following two weeks I had run through 10k in low 35 so I was hoping for a slightly quicker time at 10k and see what I could do over the last few hundred metres. The tight right calf from the previous week had gone so all was looking positive.
The race started near to Boscombe pier on Saturday morning and as soon as I reached the beachfront I was greeted by quite a stiff breeze although the sun was starting to creep through.
The race is organised by the local Rotary Club which had a small but well organised set up on the front for numbers, baggage and even a whole finish gantry set up.
My back was feeling a little tight so went and got a quick massage/release on it before warming up and getting ready for the start. I recognised a few Poole AC runners as well as a large contingent from OS Runners taking part too.
Once the race was started (by the Easter Bunny, of course) I was quickly up towards the front as we raced along the promenade towards Southbourne. I sat behind a Bournemouth AC runner along this section keeping out wind from the sea and managed to keep a good quick pace. The wind was ever so slightly in our favour so I tried to save a bit of energy for the potentially windier return leg.
Beyond 2 miles and a couple of larger sandy deposits dodged, we turned off the front and began to have a couple of twists and turns as the course rose up onto the cliff front. By this time it was just myself and the Bournemouth runner up front and the lead changed hands as we switched a number of times from short uphill sections and breezy residential roads.
Eventually the course got onto the clifftop road and gently undulated all the way back to the pier. The pace slightly dropped, partly due to the wind but there were some great views of the surf, the piers as well as the Bournemouth sea front up ahead from this vantage point.
By about 5 1/2 miles in the Bournemouth runner started to ebb a few metres ahead as I started to feel a bit of weakness in the right calf; not as bad as the week before but something that made it hard to try and put the extra effort into the last mile or so.
There was fair gap behind me so I wasn’t too worried about being caught and kept on it through 6 miles when the road took a short sharp uphill. The gap was still pretty small and I seemed to get up that hill a little bit quicker so there was a little hope to catch the leader in the final stages. As soon as we reached the top the large gusts of wind returned making the sharp twisting descent on the side quite fun.
I wasn’t able to close the gap by the time we reached the pier and turned back onto the seafront for the final few metres.
The gap was around 6 seconds as I crossed the line in 37:03 (5:39 pace). Not quite as fast at that distance as I had the previous two weeks but the wind probably added a little bit of time. One positive was my back had held out and it didn’t feel too stiff afterwards.
With it being a new distance raced at it did mean a new PB (is it a PB if you’ve only ever done one of them?).
I chose not to pick up the medal (I have plenty of the bog standard ones of those) and decided to pass my small Easter egg onto a nearby family who had taken part in the shorter fun run at the same time.
I hung around for a while chatting to a few local runners until the prizes were given out. My second place had earned me (by that I mean my girlfriend) a bottle of wine for my troubles too! A great way to spend an Easter Saturday morning.