Over 1,200 runners arrived for the annual Portsmouth coastal waterside marathon today. Pompey was battered by high winds of 22 mph with heavy rain, overnight and this morning. So conditions underfoot will be very testing. 

Today is a mix of clouds, rain and sunshine reaching 11C.

Just three weeks after my recent 100 miler, I feel well enough to run today, however I have not run over 10 miles since, and I feel I may fatigue very rapidly. I have no time in mind, just an enjoyable training day with running friends, to end the year off nicely...

This is my 2nd Portsmouth marathon.

I am fortunate to be driven to the start from Bosh runner Tina. Gary and Shawn have joined her to support myself and Steve running today. 

The rain is heavy and we arrive wet. Numbers attached we look out for the others. I see ultra runner Paul Ali, and chat about 2014 plans, after his amazing achievements this year. 

This morning I had a bulletproof coffee, which I am finishing now. Half an avocado with fried kale, few walnuts and some coconut water. I am really not hungry but finish the coffee anyhow.

Steve attempting his 2nd marathon

We see Sharon, who is very nervous, Sue and then Kevin. Outside it is brighter and the rain has stopped. Sheridan and then Keith arrive. We get a group pic. I spot Jonathan and Jane, wishing them all the best. Lots of chat and well wishes, then it is time to head to the start. 

Just myself and Steve, we say our goodbyes and wait in the pen patiently. The rain comes down heavy, again. The wind blows, drowning us wet from behind. I can feel the damp cold soaking through my back. Everyone groups together like a herd. 

This is crazy!

Rain cleared for now...

BOSH boys

With no warning or loud speaker announcement, the group move off slightly awkwardly, before setting off to a sprint. I weave in and out of the runners until I find a comfortable place to stay and get my pace.

Miles 1-13
Fastest pace/mile 6:57
Slowest pace/mile 7:47
I remember the route very well from last year, and shortly the promenade path ends to head on towards the waterside. The front pack already are minutes ahead further up the track. Navigating on pebbles, puddles, mud and seaweed. The path is just one big obstacle course. Luckily the rain has stopped and it is just the wind to deal with. 



Following the narrow dirt track and other runners, I am feeling ok in my legs and strong enough to keep up the pace. 

Weaving around the water edge, small pubs and waterside houses are dotted up the course. Soon enough, we reach a check point. I gulp some water from the cups supplied, then head back out of the car park and on the main road.

Before running parallel to Eastern Road and passing the water sports centre, it is over a small bridge then the route uses a cycle path. Adjacent to the A27. 

6 miles in, It is only a few mile stretch, but enough time to feel the boring pounding of smooth tarmac. 

Soon enough the path ends and it is back off road into the mud. Back along to the waterside and over a pebbles beach, then a stretch of puddles and grass. Like last year I use the raised ledge by the water, careful to keep close to the grass. 

The next water stop I can see a Mrs Santa supporter ahead, in a Bosh tee. At closer inspection it is Nuala. She jumps up and down, cheers to me and waves as I approach. She is in knee high stripy socks and must be so cold in the wind. She looks awesome for 50! 

She makes me chuckle. 

The wind still very strong, pushing me from the other side as the route curves clockwise. The track widens and becomes more muddy and wooded. The sun comes out to shine, low in the sky but it is pleasant to feel warmer. 

I wonder if I left my coffee too late, as I have very slight indigestion going on.

The elite runners are already heading back from the half way marker. We stay to the left to allow them room.

Within another mile or so I can see the water stop and the turnaround point. More spectators cheer us as we switch back. Some more water then back down the track the way we came. 

Miles 14-27
Fastest pace/mile 7:33
Slowest pace/mile 9:29 
Within seconds I can see Kev up ahead. 'Go Lukey boy', he shouts out as we pass. I thumbs up then see Ian, further along, who stops to snap some pictures. Steve and then Sheridan soon follow in his steps. It is a good few more miles down the route before I see Keith.

I look out for Sharon and other familiar faces, but there are too many groups coming towards me. After 16 miles I can already feel my body fatigue and my pace drop. I try to keep strong and maintain it, but I think the last 100 miler is still too fresh in my system.

Once the body gives up, when not fully recovered, it is impossible to keep up a race pace.

By 17 miles I am ready to walk, I am done, I want to stop.

Back along the ledge with the wind fierce on my face. Another runner is on the ledge, then jumps off, but slips, he falls landing awkwardly. He shouts out in pain, causing the other runners to look back. Number 3 is on his bib. I stop to ask what I can do, another runner stands bewildered, just looking. He yelps out, it is his left calf. I lift his foot and raise his leg, then pull his ankle straight, like he tells me to. Soon enough the cramp stops and his leg comes back to life. I help him up and onto his feet again.

He thanks me for stopping, and sorry it has delayed me. To be honest I was ready to have a walking break, but this wasn't what I had in mind. I run close by until number 3 is looking good again, he soon increases pace and is gone out of sight. It is Christmas and I couldn't just leave him there in pain...

Switch back time


With just some cups of water at the next two aid stations. A small gulp of olive oil to lubricate my dry mouth. Then a few sips of my special brew (espresso, chia, coconut water). 

Near-by shouts of 'Go Bosher' and 'good running Luke' from the spectators here and there. I do not recognise everyone but then at 21 miles just before the water sports centre I can see friendly supporters Alma and Lesley shouting and clapping. It is great to see so many come out and brave the harsh wind and wet. 

The mud and puddles are even more slippery on this leg back. My legs really are finished for the day and more rest is required. I manage to keep going but the last few miles are a long, drawn out chore, I really am not enjoying this feeling and it is familiar to after running the Thames path 100, back in March. 

It very rarely happens, but today I do not want to run, I am not enjoying the discomfort and low energy response. 

Soon enough I reach the seaweed water edge from the start and tip toe around large puddles. Other runners are racing past me for the last stretch home. I couldn't race even if I wanted to. My pace is a slow 9:00min/mile average at the moment...


Once back on the promenade of the seafront and back towards where we started, I can see the pier in the distance, then eventually the pyramids centre creeping into view. Clapping and cheering from the spectators and sunday strollers along the beach. It really helps lift my mood and stops me from crawling to a walk. 

The last 0.25 mile feels like I am running the end of a 100 miles all over again. The finish looks so close but so far... 

I can spot Shawn, then Tina and Gary just before the finish shouting 'go Luke, come on'. I can see the time, dissapointed how much slower I come in to the finish, but grateful I made it around injury free and strong as I can be considering still in recovery...

3:28:41 is my chip time, another 20 minutes slower than last year and in 106th position. A total of 1,163 runners finished the marathon today. 

Marathon number 20 is complete to finish off the year.

I think Jane had too much fun!

He made it...

I collect my goody bag, which has nothing, in my eyes that is very good, all grains and quick fix sugar that I wouldn't use after a race. 

The medal though, is a big improvement to last year, A very distinctive and suitable choice for Pompey. I like it and will get the back engraved. 

Sharon, she struggled with the technical terrain and did not enough it as much as she had hoped. Jane, however seemed to have way too much fun falling in the mud. Kevin and Keith had lots of fun with the day, as they always do. 

Steve came in 4:47:53. He was aiming for 4:30 but honestly for his second marathon, on multi terrain and in very wet and windy conditions. This is something to be very proud of. 

We are all proud of how far Steve has come, from his first 10k race to marathons in just one year! 

A true Bosh runner.

A nice new medal design this year

Thanks to Fit Pro Bob for another successful marathon in Portsmouth and to everyone who organises, volunteers and makes the event possible. 

Big shout out to all the Bosh Run support and words of encouragement, If it wasn't for my running group, I probably would have given it a miss this year! I am glad I didn't, I enjoyed the company and team support.

Thank you to Steve, Tina, Shawn and Gary for the support today and the chauffuer drive. 

Great to see everyone and Happy New Year! 



  1. A great read as always Luke! What a brilliant and inspiring year you've had. You may have struggled (by your standards) at Portsmouth, but you were still faster than my marathon PB (which was on a flat, road course). Thanks for continuing to document your amazing adventures and achievements - can't wait to see what 2014 holds for you!

  2. Thanks Mike for your kind words. Looking forward to the year ahead. Keep up your amazing runstreak!


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