As a relative Pompey Tri newcomer (joined last Summer) I thought the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon event was a great chance to train for my Ironman Hamburg challenge this year, get some bling and meet some more crazies aka Portsmouth tri members.
My run prep had started as a disaster, I’d left my trainers at work so had to dig out an old pair from the garage and patch them up with some tape and Elastoplast, not ideal! I also decided to break the golden rule of wearing something for the first time in an event
but this turned out to be the best decision….Just before the run I picked up my new super hero outfit also known as a Portsmouth Triathlete running vest from Vini.
Having done Weymouth half ironman last year in a Pompey Tri top I knew the great power (and responsibility) that comes with such a gift. I slid the vest on and felt the craziness surge through my body and sure enough as I set about the course I was sure to pick up cheers of support and high 5’s from my fellow crazies. The vest was worth ten times its weight in supporting cheers, motivation and good will. Whether it was the Marshals or friends and family of other club members you were never far away from a supporting cheer (or bell!!)
So what about the race! Well, firstly the Start location is next to the Portsmouth Pyramids centre on the corner of castle field, plenty of easy parking and we had access to the upper hall in the Pyramids for all the last minute loo stops, bag drops and most importantly somewhere to meetup with fellow club members and compare notes before the race. We were moved in a timely manner down to the start and before I knew it I was off! The sun was shining, no real wind, I’m not a runner and don’t generally enjoy it but even for me this was a joy. Especially as I had decided to run with my headphones in so the magic combo of abit of cheesy pop and sunshine was fuel to my weary legs. We started running east along the promenade with fantastic views across the Solent! The route itself well it’s flat, flat and flat but in terms of surface It had everything! Nice promenade tarmac to start from the Pyramids up to Eastney and the road up to and back from the Hayling ferry dock, you then head down the east of Portsea Island.
Some parts were narrow and one person wide but by that point the race had settled and we were pretty much running with people on similar pace, so this worked out well. The terrain continued to vary from the single person wide dirt paths onto the infamous muddy beach! We had been warned we would get wet feet! The beach wasn’t so muddy, it was full of big rocks and pebbles, soggy seaweed and chunks of ICE!!! Despite the stunning sunshine it was still cold enough patches of the beach to be frozen. We all navigated with care (feet relatively dry!) and continued North on along the costal paths alongside the Eastern road before looping back up the Eastern Road to the muddy beach again! At this point the tide had come in somewhat and Rob was right! Sure enough ….splash… I had wet feet! From there the terrain varied again across some fields and later through the long grass in Bransbury Park.
It was a relief to get back up to the promenade like an old friend heading back on the nice tarmac to the Pyramids, the weather continued to reward us with no wind. Feeling tired for the last 2km I managed to latch onto a few other runners and had abit of a chat which provided some friendly banter and abit more motivation to push for a sprint at the end and pick off a few runners
On finishing I was given a nice chunky heavy medal (as always with any Believe and Achieve event!), some water and offered a bottle of Ale (Hurrah!). The tribe were gathering near the finish so it was a nice chance to catch up with a few on how we had gotten on.
As for my time well I had hoped to break 2 hours and somehow like Forest Gump (I just kept running) and finished in a shade under 1hour 52, personal best and super chuffed.
So would I do the event again and recommend it? Absolutely, It was a great course, well organised and marshalled. I will do it again next year and I recommend you do too and also bring your super hero outfit to guarantee yourself a great time!
By Richard Bicheno