The Gosport Half Marathon 2017

The Gosport Half Marathon… the elusive half marathon that I’ve entered no less than four times but have never run due to being injured. I entered it for the fifth time and hoped for the best.

Sunday arrived and I was, shock horror, fit and ready to go. And not only this but the weather was perfect. Still and dry. Cold, yes, but no wind. And as the half marathon goes up and down the coast of Lee-On-Solent, this was an absolute dream. Despite being sad I’ve never run this race before, there have been years when I’ve looked out the window at the roaring wind and rain and thought, “meh maybe I’m not missing out after all”.

My plan was not to aim for any sort of PB or fast run. I was instead going to add four miles beforehand to make it into 17 miles and run the race with a lovely friend of mine, Martin, who was aiming for a PB. His PB was around 1:44 so that would mean just under 8 minute miles which I felt like was a solid long run speed for me.

Despite the start of the race being up the road from me it was just that bit too far to run straight from home. Instead I was very grateful to get a lift from my lovely dad to drop me one mile from home so I could run exactly four miles to the race. The things fathers do for their daughters eh!

Happily the race didn’t start until 10am which meant I could wake up at the delightful time of 8.15am and leave the house just before 9am. This would give me a comfortable window to get to the race HQ (incidentally my old 6th form college, Bay House), pick up my bib and not have to stand around getting cold. Hurrah! I forwent breakfast as I wanted the extra sleep and do most of my long runs fasted anyway. Plus if you saw my last post and what I ate, you can probably see I was well fuelled.

So my dad dropped me off a mile up the road (bless his heart) and waved me off. He was going to support me but had time to go home and have breakfast before he needed to venture out (the race was, as I said, just up the road). I’d decided against wearing double layers, despite Alexa telling me it was 0 degrees C outside (good old Alexa). Instead I wore my running club vest, arm-warmers and gloves (funnily enough the last time I wore my arm warmers was also at another half marathon where Martin and I ran together. He said he hoped they were lucky as Southampton was where his original PB was from).

For my four miles, I aimed to keep the speed down. I listened to a podcast as I ran but found myself naturally getting faster (probably not helped by the fact that I was cold for two miles of the run and just wanted to get warmer!). I was also feeling anxious about getting to the race on time and worrying that I’d left it too late to pick my bib up. I hadn’t, but it’s always nerve wracking when you run to a race (or parkrun! A few times I’ve been late…).As I got about a mile away from Bay House I saw the road closures being put out, marshals getting ready and then the steady stream of runners heading to the HQ. I arrived just after 9.30am so I had more than enough time. And actually bumped straight into Martin and some fellow Hedgies as I hit 4 miles. Perfect timing.We headed into the Bay House grounds (which always reminds me of Harry Potter – it’s a lovely building) and collected our bibs super fast and easily. It was well organised and the volunteers all lovely and friendly. Hilariously Martin’s dog, Harvey, did the biggest, steamiest poo right in the middle of the playground amongst all the runners. Martin’s wife, Helen, was mortified. I mean, of all the places, right? It was quite amusing though.As Martin headed to the bag-drop (I had nothing with me, the luxury of running to an event) I headed to the loo. The queues though were massive for both of the more obvious loos. Side note: it was SO weird being back at Bay House. The last time I was there was collecting my A-Level results (*cough* 2006? Jeeeesus). Like a walk in the past! Anyway, I overhead two ladies commenting that they were so glad they’d found the loos in the changing room and I made a quick bee-line there to find no queues! Awesome.Then Martin and me reconvened and we headed to the start. Unfortunately there was around 15-20 minute delay. The lovely warmth I’d acquired from running to the start had disappeared and I began to get a bit cold. Apparently it was due to some traffic light issues and road closures… can’t be helped I guess. And then we were off.The Gosport Half Marathon is very flat and all on tarmac. There are a couple of inclines, but really nothing major. The only annoyance of this race is that if it’s windy there really isn’t any shelter. And the fact that it’s a two looper.

Gosport Half courseSource

The route runs along the coastline of Lee-On-Solent (where Lee-On-Solent parkrun happens) and I know it very well as it’s where a lot of my long runs happen. To run up and down twice was going to be mentally tough. I was very happy indeed to be running with Martin because the race doesn’t allow any sort of head/earphones at all. So Martin and me started around 8 min/miles quite comfortably chatting away.My dad was on the course as well and was planning on moving to another location, so would see us four times (because of the loops). Pretty good! Martin’s lovely wife and adorable pooch was also going to be on the course as well, amongst lots of local supporters (and the legend that is Rebecca – the Lee-On-Solent RD, otherwise known as the nicest woman on the planet).The first stretch passed through the Lee café/shop area where there was lots of support and cheering and then headed down to Hill Head where my dad and me often go to walk our dogs. We then turned around and headed back – but this time along the promenade rather than the road.There were nice parts where you could see people coming the other way so you were able to shout over to people and cheer them on. There were lots of local runners and Hedgies doing it so there was always someone to wave to and cheer on. There was a great samba band which was cool as well. There were a number of water stations (I think at least two stations but we obviously went through them each twice due to the loop. They had those squeezy bladder things which took a bit of sorcery to get into (though far more safe underfoot as they just give way straight away).
We saw my dad several times on the course which was lovely. He’d told me at what miles he’d be at and he literally stood on the road markings for those miles. A man of his word. He cheered us on and took some photos. The perfect supporter 😉
At around 7 miles we reached back to where we’d started and we turned around to do the loop again. We were still chatting away and in a good place. Martin seemed to be alright and I was feeling quite good, despite the four miles beforehand. As we got closer to the turnaround bit near Hill Head (around 9-10 miles) I noticed Martin not talking as much. He told me to carry on chatting but not to expect much of a reply. He was struggling a little – nothing major but just needed to “regroup” and focus. I did what I do best: talk about fluff and nonsense and hoped he was OK.As we got back on the prom we started slowing down a bit. We crept near 9 min/miles. I wondered how this was going to go. Martin told me to go on without him and I told him not to be so silly. I wasn’t running the half for a time and wasn’t going to leave him behind. The tricky miles were 11-12 where our speed dropped.The hard part about this half is that you can see where you’ve got to run to, and it looked really far away. Mentally this is tough. Even though we had “less than a parkrun to go”, the distance still loomed out ahead of us, hugging the coastline.As we got to just one mile away Martin got back in the game and our pace bumped back up towards 8 min/miles. I ran ahead of him and kept checking behind to make sure I didn’t run too far away. I wanted him to use me as a target and almost like a pull to keep him going. After we’d seen my dad at mile 11 he shouted that he’d see me at the finish. Then as we got closer to the finish I saw him drive past us and then wait in the queue of traffic waiting to be let through due to the road closures. He beeped and shouted out the window which was fun. I jokingly said to Martin something along the lines of “BMW drivers, eh!” hehe. The crowds and excitement built nicely as we got closer to the finish and this spurred us on. We managed to finish strongly, just two minutes off his PB (my time was 1:46:40). I’m proud of Martin because despite wobbling a little, he came back strong, and considering he hadn’t been training for a half PB he did fantastically!
I really enjoyed this race. It was a fantastic course, well organised and the weather certainly helped. Though the conditions were ideal, I’m glad I didn’t attempt racing it. I’m not really in that frame of mind at the moment and I’m much more preferring a social long run. To be honest, I got a solid 17 miles in around 8 minute miles so I can’t complain at all! And I felt good and didn’t get injured, so happy days!Also, can we talk about just how good the goodie bag was? Not only did we get a very cool and colourful medal but we got a proper material bag, a juice drink, a banana, Mini Cheddars, a Lion Bar, a cereal bar AND a homemade chunk of cake! I was a little dismayed at first not to find water but actually there was a huge water stand right at the finish where you could grab a few cups. It must be said though, I did actually give the contents of the bag to the food bank when I went to Tesco a bit later (obviously not the homemade cake 😉). They’re not really the sort of things I’d snack on but I hate wasting food.

So the demons are GONE. Gosport Half Marathon done and dusted. Another race failure scrubbed out. Long may this good running continue…

What do you like to see in a goodie bag?

Have you ever run to a race?

Bottles, cups or squeezy water things for a race?

**Thank you Michelle, Hammy and Martin Lewis for the great photos (and my dad of course)**

Brighton Half Marathon Recap

Hey everyone! This weekend was almost a perfect weekend. Parkrun, cake, a race, seeing friends, good food and lots of chilling.

Netley Abbey Parkrun cricket pitch course

Saturday we went to Parkrun. It was a bit chilly, very windy but the rain held off…for a little bit. We were on the cricket pitch course which is very flat but very boring (5 laps!). Also a bit precarious underfoot at the moment as it’s quite wet and muddy. In the summer it’s excellent for PB potential. At the moment it’s better than the other more hilly course but you still need to mind your step a fair bit, especially round the corners!


I decided just to see how I felt for this run. In the end one of my running friends from a different run club ran with me. At first I felt a bit pressured as he’s normally quite speedy (we used to be fairly evenly matched but since my injury I’m definitely slower than him) but it was nice as it pushed me harder. I didn’t want to hold him up too much! 2nd female with 22:30. I just couldn’t catch the first female!

Then we rushed home, did the housework, showered and headed out for…yep, afternoon tea – again!

Elsie's Valentine's afternoon tea That’s Ben’s “I hate you taking photos” face

It was, as always, lovely. Ham and mustard sandwiches, fruit scones (with ginger and rhubarb jam) and butterscotch banana cake with chocolate chips.

Elsie's afternoon tea 15.02 If you’re ever in Botley check out Elsie’s Tea Rooms – it’s lovely and very reasonably priced.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing after a drizzly walk with Alfie. And in bed fairly early because we had a delightful 5.20am start the next day.

Ah yes…I may not have mentioned this on the blog. I had a bit of a change of mind. Ben and me decided to do the Brighton Half (despite deciding against it a few weeks ago). We reasoned that if we survived the very tough 11 miler the weekend before without issue, 13 very flat miles would be OK. I promised myself I wouldn’t go faster than 8-8.30mins/mile and would see it as a training run – a lovely route with thousands of other people.

So we left at 6am. Ouch.Early start Brighton half On route to Brighton

I ate my porridge and drank a coffee as we drove over. It was about an hour and some to get there. We parked in the Park and Ride and then got the bus down to the race village.Pre Brighton half Feeling lovely and warm in the bus, but dreading standing the cold!

Through Twitter I managed to find someone to run with who was in a similar situation. Cathy (check her blog out HERE) kindly offered to run with me and we agreed it’d be way more fun to run together slowly than on our own!

image So we met up in our optimistically fast pen. The race was like no other half marathon I’ve ever done in that I was quite relaxed, didn’t care about pace and was able to chat someone the whole time.

The weather was fantastic. Cold, but clear, sunny and no wind! Perfect running conditions.

Brighton half marathon 2014

It was a fairly flat course (though there were some minor sneaky gradual inclines). The views were great of the seafront and surroundings. But I just found it a little dull running all the way up the seafront and then running all the way back.


But the company was lovely. We chatted about races, running and life in general. It was great! We both were a bit miffed at not being anywhere near a PB but reflected it was for the best at the moment.

The pace felt very comfortable and chatting was easy so I feel in a good place about that 🙂 We had a little sprint finish (to pick off some females…just couldn’t help it) and then finished. 1:49:01 official time, 2,126th.


Thank you Cathy!


My knee was OK during the run. At times it felt slightly uncomfortable in that it felt tired. Not painful, nothing like before…just hard done by. But this was intermittent and nothing I’m worried about. No pain on finishing and afterwards either. Well, my whole body ached but that’s to be expected!

Ben got himself a cheeky PB as well, despite saying he was going to take it easy (1:52:30).

Brighton half finished

We then met up with some friends who live in Brighton for a lovely roast.

Post Brighton half roast I had roast venison with the largest Yorkshire pudding known to man and lots of veggies and roast potatoes. Food never tasted so good.

Then we headed home and I fell asleep in the car! I did lots of stretching, foam rolling and icing while just chilling on the sofa, before promptly heading to bed at 9pm shattered.

Brighton Half was a great race, definitely PB potential, well organised, beautiful scenery and great crowd support. The goodie bag not too shabby either.

Brighton Half Goodie BagBen picked up quite a few Lucozade drinks as he loves them

So that, my friends, is what a great weekend in my eyes looks like. I wish I could have smashed a PB out to make things perfect but I have a bigger goal in mind to jeopardise anything at the moment. Slowly, gradually, I’ll hopefully get there.

How was your weekend?

Did anyone run any races? Eat cake?

Has anyone done Brighton half/marathon before? Thoughts?