07:45 Today is my 10th Marathon, and the last of 2012. At the Pyramid Swimming Centre, I make my way to the registration desk. It is dark and a breezy 11c. I am number 28 today.
I help myself to some Cliff Bar samples. Paul from Ultra Tales E-magazine, calls my name, recognising me. I ask about his expectations for the race. He tells me to keep the reports coming, great reading and wishes me well.
Outside I hear “Hey Bosher!” from Keith Elshaw part of Bosh-Run group. We have a chat about the route and says it’s mainly off road. I wish him all the best.
09:30: In the start area, stretching I hear “No good hiding Luke!” It’s Kevin Smith another Bosher. We laugh and joke, then, ready, set…. GO!
Miles 1-10 (pace)
6:59 6:54 7:16 6:53 7:26 6:46 6:31 7:06 7:05 7:17
We speed off. Garmin set. The wind is strong, pushing us down the esplanade, past the south pier along the seafront, spectators cheering us on.
Eventually the course leads onto the waterside. Running on clay and seaweed. We start to slow. Weaving around the shore, up steps, over pebbles and then on to mud. Feet already wet. The route heads north to Langstone Harbour.
10:00: At the first water station, lots of water, juice, jelly babies and biscuits on offer. I drink two cups of water and adjust my knee strap, then head back on route. The trail leads past waterfront pubs and over small bridges then onto a stony beach. Luckily, the beach is only brief.
Through Farlington Marshes, keeping up a steady pace, feeling strong. I run on a paved wall, away from the mud. Then passing families with cheering kids offering out water and gels.
I can count about 25 runners up front. I have the Cola flavour gel. Not the best, but works. Out of a boat yard and onto Havant Rd. Another water stop, lots of clapping. “Go on Bosher!”
6:57 7:02 7:55 6:39 6:42 7:02 7:39 7:52 7:47 7:05
The road leads over a bridge, passing the traffic. Afterwards I pick up my Pace. Overtaking some in front. Sliding through mud the trail leads down a long track covered by trees. My hamstrings are starting to feel tight already.
11:20: Half way, I can see runners heading back in this direction. The 1st runner in the lead passes. I count 35 runners by the time I reach the aid station.
Thanking the volunteers I drink some water, and head back the way I came. The grass below is wet and boggy. Runners go by. I shout “Go Kev!” shortly after I see Paul, “Well done, Luke.” Then further on Keith.
16 miles, some Cliff Shot blocks, then dried dates with water. I see a red head, “Hey, go Luke!”. Joanne is another Ultra runner, “go Jo” I call back.
Back on the Havant Road, over the bridge, runners come towards me all smiles. Through the boatyard, then the water station. Some water and a gel. “Go Bosh!” they shout.
My legs fatigue and my pace drops. I have the Shotz gel, with a hit of caffeine. It tastes bitter. The wind blows towards me with sharp bursts. I cover up with my buff and on.
Back by the water, I run on the paved wall again as the mud is now a bog. Further up I see a lady running with her husband, holding hands.They both in very good spirits, smiling.
At the next water station, I have two cups of water, before moving on.
7:38 7:40 7:25 8:17 7:44 7:41
Back on the route, trying to increase my speed, but the sludge slows me down. Through marshes, treading water. Then onto a cycle lane, passing joggers and cyclists.
12:08: On to the stoney beach, my legs feel like lead. Runners walk. I struggle through. Back on grass and picking up pace.
At the last water stop, I take a water bottle. At the beachside path, I take a wrong turn down an alley. I run back and see a marker on the bridge. Slipping and sliding through the clay again, then reaching the esplanade for the last two miles to the finish.
Strong winds pushing me, trying my best to speed up, but my legs say no. Cheers from spectators, then past the South Pier, the finish in clear view. “Go Bosher! Nearly there!” someone shouts. Then finally through the finish, it is over.
3:08:53 in 22nd position of 900 runners
The Portsmouth Waterside Marathon BOSHED! two days before Christmas.