Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon

Portsmouth Costal Waterside Marathon

What better way to earn yourself a few Christmas indulgences than by running a marathon?

With this in mind – Ben Williamson, Jason Hastings, Suzanne Anderson and I (Matt Lee) signed ourselves up for the full Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon with all the trimmings, whilst Mary Thane and Andy Rhodes decided perhaps more sensibly on the relay option.

We headed down early Sunday morning in the rain and quickly hurried ourselves into the Pyramid Leisure Centre where we collected our race packs and grabbed a handful of Cliff Bar samples from the Cliff stand – who wasn’t selling the bars he had on the table – just giving out samples (?)

Andy got the bus down to Hayling Island to wait for Mary to deliver the prestigious relay armband and the rest of the gang headed to the start line fuelled, ready to earn a few Christmas indulgences!

As with most races, I’m never entirely sure quite what to expect – I often prefer it this way so I take each challenge as it comes. Before the race, I was anticipating running mainly on road/concrete, but boy was I wrong. At mile 4 I found myself with one very wet foot having tried to go around the runner traffic and an ankle in the muddy beach!

One of the joys of an out and back race is that not only do you get to see lead runners zoom past back the other way, but you also get to say hi to your fellow BVR teammates. First was a very speedy Jason, whose high-five I missed due to consuming my third mince pie of the course; followed by Ben, then Suzanne and finally Andy beginning his relay stint just before I got to half-way.

The race organisers had warned they would be very strict with the cut off times for half way and finishing because of the impending tide. Even though I was a long way from the cut off’s I still managed to end up wading through almost knee-high sea water across one of the small bays – not the road race imagined!!

Having conquered road, mud, gravel, shingle beach, wind and sea. Jason crossed the marathon finish line for the first time in 3:40, followed by Ben in just over 4hrs, Suzanne clinching a mini PB in 4:33, followed by Andy in 2:19 and lastly, I finished in 5:11 with a 35-minute PB!

Would I recommend it? Yes, but don’t let the lack of elevation fool you – 26.2 miles is still a long way, especially on that sort of terrain. Nice course, decent aid stations, good crowd support in places and a massive medal!

Run Review – Matt Lee