Wimborne Athletic Club

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Oh I do like to be beside the seaside! – 6th October 2013   

Wendy Kennedy reports from the Bournemouth Marathon

Jerry Shield powers along the seafront

It seems like a long time ago that I first heard about the idea of running a Bournemouth marathon, and when it became a possibility I was keen to take part. However, 2013 has not been a great year in terms of running for me, training and league races have proved a struggle and therefore when I became the (happy) recipient of the WAC club place after it had gone through two others, I wasn’t entirely sure I could do it. It has been a hectic summer and other distractions had meant my marathon training started very late (mid-August!) I therefore was not overwhelmed with confidence on the start line and was worried about all the other marathon issues I had experienced before. 

When race day arrived I enjoyed a leisurely prep and parked in the familiar car park alongside Queen’s Park golf course. It was a pleasant stroll to the start area in King’s Park and lovely to see lots of friendly faces from WAC and other clubs. The weather was glorious and the atmosphere positive and cheery, I had been advised of low numbers so was pleased to find that the start was pretty large and with a good cross-section of abilities. After the usual start/stop/start again as usual with large races, we headed out of the park up to Pokesdown, immediately it was apparent that there were spectators and supporters and it was a real thrill to run down through Southbourne with such great support. After what felt like a short distance (two miles) I caught sight of the first WAC race crew team, which was a real joy – there’s nothing like seeing familiar faces to help spur you on, plus a quick hug from your husband! 

The course wove down to the ‘Hungry Hiker’ at Hengistbury Head, where there was a welcome water station and the first instance of seeing other WAC runners ahead, everyone giving a wave or thumbs up at the 5 mile point.  Heading back up towards Southbourne along the cliff road was a matter of keeping focussed as it gently sloped uphill towards the Boscombe overcliff garden which was the next turnaround point at eight miles.  Turning back to Southbourne and getting the views as we headed back to the nine mile water station was superb, the sea was flat and blue and the beaches looked stunning – having run along the front probably hundreds of times I can’t recall when it looked more beautiful. 

After a quick nip into the ladies I was then heading to 9m, I was anticipating the WAC water station team and really looking forward to getting there and they didn’t disappoint, it was a fantastic moment and so lovely to see nearly everyone from the club (at least it seemed like it). Another quick kiss and hug and I was off again, feeling buoyed and enjoyed a rare gentle downhill to the sharp turn onto the prom where I then sorted out a second gel, luckily due to the many public loos it was easy to have a quick clean up after the sachet opened sideways!  Progressing along the prom it I fell into a sort of training run state, relaxed and at home, having done the route so many times, it would be natural to be bored but I always like running along the seafront and its familiarity was comforting.  Knowing exactly what the route had in-store, meant it didn’t feel stressful.

It wasn’t too long before we were at Boscombe heading up the first hill and to the half-way point, the route then took us along the Overcliff to Bournemouth and then down past the large crowds gathered at the finish line and back down to Boscombe Pier –I  had expected going out on the pier to be a bit of a chore, but it was the opposite – looking back at the beaches and out to sea when it’s so beautiful was fantastic – so much so, I stopped and got out my phone and took some snaps!  I wasn’t out to do a great time so I thought why not. The miles were starting to add up and also the heat. Once we had looped around the pier we were off back up to Bournemouth and the hardest part of the course, I hadn’t anticipated that we would go round Bournemouth pier and then through the finish, which at around 17-18 miles was mentally quite tough, immediately afterwards we then faced the steepest hill, alongside the BIC.

At this point I gained a sidekick of a chap in a superman costume who had done 100+ marathons, he was loving all the attention from the crowd and proved a good distraction for me as I trudged upwards.  At one point two massive lorries blew their airhorns in support as we past by and the noise was stunning. Thankfully the top came soon enough and I pushed on, knowing that I was soon to see our daughter, Jess, at the West Overcliff.  It was just what I needed at that stage, as this section was the quietest I appreciated her waiting there with the essential refreshment of Coca-Cola, which was quickly downed.  After what felt like a long mile loop around the Overcliff, we headed back down Middle Chine, with another quick Coke top up, and then onto the seafront again. 

 Wendy on the Overcliff

I felt revived and ready to get on with the next six miles and enjoyed the route up towards Shore Road, looking out familiar faces on the other side of the prom.  We passed through the narrow path that took us off the seafront and on towards the turnaround point at the base of Evening Hill, where there were timing mats but unfortunately no water station.  The previous drinks were at Branksome and seemed a long way off as the heat was making it hard going by now.  By the point of reaching the seafront again at around 24 miles I was starting to tire and the sugar buzz of earlier had gone, the next mile or so were slow going with more walking than running.  Just after 25 miles I reached Middle Chine again and going past our beach hut was very glad to grab a quick drink of Coke, but also see some very friendly faces of parents, Jess and Michele and also Phil who had finished his race and was looking remarkably fresh.  Refreshed again I slowly jogged to the finish, stopping for a last hug from Ian by the Oceanarium. I was very pleased to have completed the first Bournemouth Marathon.  Not a great time, but not my slowest either, in 4.55, but I was still able to walk down the steps, so happy to feel in good shape and not as in previous marathons. The medal was an enormous thing which was kindly placed over my head – the first time for me – usually you are just handed them and it always feels a bit odd putting it on yourself! 

Overall I was very pleasantly surprised with how well the event went, apart from the big drink station gap in the last 6 miles, and would definitely consider running it again next year. I would like to thank all the numerous supporters around the route and also the brilliant water station team at mile 9 who were fab.

WAC’s water station crew at Southbourne

Known results for WACers from the Bournemouth Marathon Festival:


26 – Jerry Shield – 2:58”19 (3rd MV45)
39 – Tim Harris – 3:03:41
56 – Baz – 3:09:13
101 – Andy Horsley – 3:16:36
323 – Phil Whitehurst – 3:41:57
364 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 3:45:04
366 – Robin Hughes – 3:45:05
725 – Ali Barry – 4:03:47
902 – Mike Hilborne – 4:13:46
926 – Jeremy Allen – 4:15:10
1017 – Nick Solomon – 4:20:29
1068 – Pete Lemon – 4:23:27
1114 – John Scott – 4:25:56
1207 – Rachel Gladdis – 4:30:13
1376 – Briony Wood – 4:41:30
1580 – Wendy Kennedy – 4:55:35
1707 – Denise Sergeant – 5:07:29
???? – Julie Gosling – 5:51

 Half Marathon

45 – Iain Donnelly – 1:30:03
50 – Ranulph Cameron – 1:30:24
93 – Mark Buffery – 1:33:57
115 – Neil Hopkinson – 1:35:29
163 – Danny Webster – 1:37:31
893 – David Worsley – 1:57:19
XXX – Lisa Copeland – 2:20:0


2 – Ryan Walbridge – 17:33

Apologies if these results are incomplete, one of the few disappointing aspects of this fine event was the quality of its results service.

WAC’s juniors also had an awesome weekend, highlights were:

Junior 1.5k – Abi Lovering – 1st girl

Junior 3k – Grace Copeland – 1st girl

Junior 3k – Piers Copeland – 1st boy

Junior 3k – Michael Johnson – 3rd boy

Junior 3k – Matt Yates – 4th boy


Abbie, Grace, Michael and Piers did themselves (and their club) proud
Medal winners on Day 1 of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival

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