The 5th Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon. Starting from the South Parade Pier and heading clockwise around Langstone Harbour until the halfway point before heading back again. 

This will be my 3rd attempt at Pompey, and hopefully it will be less grim than last years weather! 

Arriving at the Pyramids Centre in good time with running friends Steve, Tina, John and Tristan. We join the line to collect numbers and chips, whilst on the look out for other Bosh runners. 

This has become quite a tradition each year to run so close to Christmas. I'm not sure what we was thinking, as the time of year always brings rain and heavy winds along the Southsea coast...

Numbers and chips all attached. We meet new faces and the usual smiley familiar runners. Kevin, Keith and Ange Elshaw, Nuala, James, Andy, Lee and Amir. 

Once ready to head outside, its a quick group photo and last minute toilet break, before heading to the starting area. 

Today there are over 1,250 runners congregating along the seafront...

Nuala, Steve, James, Myself, John and Tristan

This year it is an earlier start of 8:45 as the South Parade Pier is being renovated, blocking the pathway. So we start to walk down in that direction. 

Without much of a warning, as like last year, the runners just start to shuffle along and eventually we break into a run, crossing over the chip mats by the pier.

I see Shawn sprint up and then run along side me, I was wondering when he would show up and asked if Nick is here too. He is feeling good and ready to give it his best. He is looking the right ultra man with his growing beard. 

He could actually pass as my older brother! 

Miles 0-13.1
Heading along the promenade with the wind pushing behind us, I wish Shawn the best before putting my foot down and following the other runners. Over the road and to the shoreline that leads around the harbour. 

The terrain is slippy and with seaweed over stones, it gets quite congested with runners taking it slow, before we reach the small bridge. Once over and passing some spectators. I see Ange and Gosport runners are here to shout for us! 

We follow the bay around until meeting the cycle lane. 

This is the long and flat stretch I remember so well every year. It doesn't help this time that I have the sudden need to go to the loo. The Bulletproof Coffee breakfast has really started to work...

Desperately looking to find somewhere sheltered or with trees. It seems impossible the further down the pathway I go. The busy road runs along side of the fence, so there is no cover from the traffic. 

Eventually the path leads below the road and a wall shelters the view. I can't hold any longer and have to dive into the shrubs to go do my business. I see a gap with runners behind so only a few catch up eventually. 

I soon get myself organised and decent. 

One of runners many problems when caught out and with little else to do.... being an ultra runner it's the one thing you soon get used to, and have no choice in the matter. 

I feel better already and can pick my pace back up again.

I am averaging at 7:30/45 min/mile and going to run on feel as my body is still recovering. 

So far I am feeling good and well. 

My pocket size EVOO

After the track leads over a bridge and parallel with the road it reaches the waterside again, a pebbled beach, then aid stations before the familiar muddy path for the switch back...

Already the front pack runners are coming back towards us for the last stretch. A mile and half later I reach the turnaround point. I wave to running friend /supporter Graham Carter who shouts out to me just before I reach. 

It's always good to see a friendly face I know, cheering everybody on! 

Miles 13.1-26.2
Heading back down the same track, staying to the left, so to keep the other runners on the right. I soon spot Shawn approaching, then Steve and Kevin shortly after. We high five as we pass, with well wishes and smiles.

Minutes later I see other Bosh runners, then Amir and James. Nuala, Tristan and Nick are not much further behind them. I look out for John, but cannot spot or see him with the bigger groups passing now...

At 18 miles in I chew on a jelly bean from the aid station, spit it out, then sip on my small shot bottle of extra virgin olive oil. This is always enough when I run marathon distance and gives me a little kick in my energy for the last few miles. 

I've only felt the need for one salt capsule so far, as I'm not pushing hard or overly sweating much. 

When I reach 23 miles where the route would go over the small bridge and back along the waterside, I see the runners up ahead carrying on and ignoring the turn, I shout out to the nearest runner if it's this way. he shouts back to carrying on ahead as the tide is coming in. 

I figure this is in the email notes that I hadn't read fully before started today.... 

The diversion is only small, but cuts out all the waterside that we ran along at the start. With a few turnings and through housing estates, along pavement, then a park, eventually the route meets up to the seafront road where we started. Then along the promenade for the last stretch back to the Pyramid Centre. 

I didn't enjoy that section and my pace started to flag with the boredom of the road...

Ultra runner Shawn Timmons (Pic by Tina)

With the wind now stronger and pushing me back to a slower 8:00min/mile pace for what feels like forever. My calves and quads are now screaming, with the first time today where I can feel my body straining from the running. Although I still feel strong to finish and can just about push the last mile, I don't think I could carry on any further, if this was a longer race...

When I reach the cafe then can see the finish and clock, clapping and cheers greeting me as I finally make it over the line and can eventually stop to collect my medal....

Just metres left to go..

With two DNF's before today it is so nice to actually get a medal for a change. I feel good that I managed to get through today strong enough and feeling much more conditioned than last year, so soon after running over 100 miles. 

It seems my body and legs have excellent memory from all the trauma I put through them and the rate of recovery is far quicker than when I first tip-toed into ultra distances...

I came in 85th position in 3:23:26. Although not my best time for Portsmouth it is five minutes quicker than last year, and felt better too. I think most my recovery from The Hill is now over! 

Nice new medal design this year

Actually something in the goody bag I can have!


'OOSH...Bosh Run'

I catch up with Tina and wait patiently in the cold wind for the others to come in. A slight down side for finishing when I do, as I have longer to wait at the finish and try to keep warm. 

John comes in very strong and with a good time. As does Shawn, Kevin and Nuala. I catch up with Jane and Jonathan briefly before they head on inside to warm up. 

Tristan and Steve come in then Nick later on. he suffered some today and with a bad flu still in his system it took a toll towards the end. 

BUT we all finished with medals and fond memories just in time for Christmas...

I have not decided about running again in 2015 or attempting to try the 50k version of Pompey the organiser has introduced.

Ultra Luke

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