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  • Writer's picturethe_uphill_runner

Oh I Do Like To Run Beside The Seaside

A couple of weeks on from the fantastic race day that was the Run Bournemouth 10k 2021, here is my full race recap and reasons I’m tempted to sign up for next year’s race too.

Having run this race once before three years ago this was the first time I’ve signed up to the same event twice. My friend suggested it to me many months ago when I had only just begun my postpartum running comeback, hopeful that by October the lockdown we were restricted by at the time would have been lifted and life would look a lot more ‘normal’. I jumped at the chance and joined the growing group of runners my friend had successfully convinced to join her in running her first ever 10k.

I was really looking forward to attempting a course PB, especially as I love the 10k distance and felt really strong in my training in the few weeks leading up to the race. I didn’t realise until about 3 days before that the course was different, along with the starting location! If it hadn’t been for one of my friends reading the race pack information much more carefully than me, I could have very easily arrived at the finish line expecting it to be the start! I also thought it started an hour later than it did so I’m very grateful I wasn’t running this race alone.

Previously, the race had been an out and back course, starting and finishing by Bournemouth Pier. This time, it started at Hengistbury Head and we made our way along the prom to finish in the Lower Gardens after running out onto both Boscombe and Bournemouth piers. I was so glad the runs along the two piers were still part of the course as I absolutely loved those sections running out over the water. There were a few more logistical issues to take into account with a start and finish in different places, such as parking and the bag drop, but I actually really liked the idea of running from A to B and racing to a new destination. (If I had read the event pack more thoroughly, I would have realised there was a park and ride service and a well organised bag drop shuttle too.)

Despite the change to the course, it was still almost completely flat, and I knew I could realistically hope for a post baby PB. My initial aim was to try and dip below 56 minutes. Although there was a huge variety of paces and estimated finish times among our group, I was hoping to run the whole 10k with one of my friends from university. We ran the first 5k together but we were actually going much faster than our planned pace, and I was realising that I could potentially hold that pace for the second half. I didn’t want to leave her behind (especially as she hadn’t brought her headphones!) but she encouraged me to push on after we both grabbed some water from the perfectly positioned water station at 5k.

The first 5k had absolutely flown by as Roisin and I had chatted, among other things, about all the potential races we could enter together in future, but even though I ran the second half solo it still went so quickly. I focused on getting to the next kilometre marker, trying to overtake the next person ahead of me and the scenic and peaceful view over the calm waves and clear beach between the frequent little groups of supporters along the seafront.

In the meantime I adapted my goal and decided I would aim for a sub-55 finish. In the end I crossed the finish line with a massive postpartum PB and finish time of 53:43, less than two minutes away from my lifetime PB that I ran only a few weeks before I fell pregnant in 2019. I was, and still am, over the moon with that result, but I can’t help thinking I could have gone even faster if I’d realised just how close the finish line was to the second pier. Although I knew it must be coming up soon thanks to my watch and the kilometre markers, it didn’t come into view until the very last few metres. Maybe I could have started my sprint finish a few seconds sooner!

After I finished it was so great to join the members of our group who had finished before me to cheer the last few of them over the line together. Roisin ended up finishing only a minute or so behind me and getting a great PB for herself! It felt so special to be back in my home town racing - I’m already thinking about going for another even bigger PB at next year’s race!

If you’re looking for inspiration for races to enter in 2022, click here to read more of my previous race recaps, including 10k and half marathon distances. You can also read more about my postpartum running journey by clicking here. Don’t forget to subscribe to be the first to know about any news and updates, just enter your email address at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

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