A fast, flat, closed road run – it claims that it is “probably one of the fastest courses in the South – It is flat, scenic and being by the coast a great excuse to run”.

If I am being honest, I hadn’t thought about running it until I saw on facebook that the lady couldn’t run it and so I got the place. Even though it is only down the road from me I had never been there before.

If you hadn’t signed up before you had a few options: Option 1: Enter on Saturday 11th between 10 and 3pm from the Denton Lounge next door to the pier.
Option 2: On the day from 07.00 at the Pavilion Theatre. £45 cash only. They also offered the Mini Mile for kids – £8 (Under 11’s). 3km (11 years plus) – £12. (£10 for under 17’s)

There were also plenty of car parks in which the council had a maximum cap of £3 for the whole day which was a plus side!

I managed to bump into the some the girls from the Girls Run the World running group on facebook and we started together for the race – they were all aiming for faster times than me and so once we had started I let them run off!

I had great support today, thanks to the other half Mitch (green hat) and Jack for cheering and supporting me!

The Race

The race headquarters were inside the pavilion – a lovely thing to have on the cold weather! They had medal engraving, run shop, first aid, massage’s and sign up’s with indoor toilets as well.

It was a mass start without any pens, which was quite nice because you felt comfortable with where you were standing. It was a very cold morning, I had expected it to be warmer but there were people still completely wrapped up once we had started, people running in their bin bags over the first few miles. I didn’t quite see/hear when the start of the race happened but crossing over the start line was lovely with the amount of support and spectators cheering you on.

There were pacemakers identified by flags with pacing times provided by Xempo Pacing. 1.30, 1.40. 1.50. 2.00. 2.10. 2.20 and apparently 2.30 but I did not see the 2.30 one – I think I would have stuck to them if I had seen them!

The race was very smoothly ran, the roads were shut off and very well marshalled. That was something I definitely took notice of, was how many marshal’s there were dotted about, most of them friendly, others clearly freezing!

What was lovely was dotted through the streets (3-7 miles) were people outside their homes watching, kids cheering and often sweets being offered – this was something that you loved when people hand out sweets!

The halfway mark was playing music very loudly and being marshalled by the man speaking over the tannoy, telling us we were just over halfway was a god send but also a heartbreaker – you knew how much more you had to go! This was also when you came out onto the main road by the coast, which was a better view then the streets previous.

Miles 9-11 were a little bit more horrible – you felt a bit more exposed on running down the sea front and onto the open field. There weren’t any spectators on this bit but only those who were there through passing with their dogs or on walks.

There was also water and SOS Rehydrate stations provided around 3.4, 7.2, 9.4 and 11 miles. The people helping out at the water stations were lovely, very helpful and full of life!

The race was full of lovely, supportive people, without them there is no way I would have kept running. One thing I commend is how smoothly run everything was, from my point of view there were no hiccups, I would happily do this race again.

The course

The toilets were scattered around the start, in the hall, each side of the lido on the way to the start line, apparently there were toilets during the race at 9.3 + 10.9 miles – however I didn’t see them, towards the end a few runners were asking where the toilets were because we all needed to go!

The course had been accurately measured and was marked every mile with signs which was nice to have as a reminder – I tried to avoid looking at my watch whilst I was running but having the mileage displayed was good, apart from miles 9-11, you were so desperate to see the numbers!

The course was flat one-lap course over closed roads, it felt like we were looping quite a lot throughout the town. We ran around 7 miles in the town, which was quite interesting, a few of the roads were completely empty residential streets, it felt like we were just on a bit of a training run through your local town. At some points I was running by myself down the streets and was worried I had turned the wrong way! They did have either a marshal or arrow at the end of it though so that was okay.

You then return near to the starting point then head west along the coastal road which as said before, this part went on for a very long time, from mile 7 onwards you were running up one side and the faster runners were running down the other side of the road. This seemed okay at the start but after a while you were wondering how much further you were going to have to run to find the turning point! The turning point was a long, round circle route – it looked initially like we were running on grass from the distance but it was a good choice to do the turn around.

You then turn and head back towards the finish from mile 10 onwards, a long straight flat part. The last 800m are along the seafront esplanade.

I can completely understand when they say that it is a flat and scenic route and can understand that people can get PB’s on this route. For someone’s first half marathon to someone aiming for a fast PB this was definitely the race for it, if the weather was better it definitely would have been more scenic but running down the esplanade into the finish next to the beach was certainly a nice way to finish.

As my second HM, I managed to knock 9 minutes off of my time with 2:35, I was so close to getting 2.30 – maybe if the pacer had there I might have been able to but even so, I enjoyed the run, I’m so proud of my time and my new PB and I would happily do this race again!