A QUARTET of Stratford Athletic Club runners, including two marathon debutants, competed in the Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon and thoroughly enjoyed the race.
The conditions were challenging as blustery wind and intermittent rain made things difficult, whilst variable terrain over the 26 miles – including shingle beach, sand, tarmac and muddy paths – presented an additional test for the runners.
The out-and-back route starts near South Parade Pier on the Esplanade, then heads east to follow the coastline around Langstone Harbour and through Farlington Marshes. The course takes a turn to the south on to Hayling Island and the turnaround point at 13 miles is reached 400m north of the sea-facing part of the island.
Kate Wright (3:16.19) had another terrific run and was the second woman to finish. Kate found it very difficult to get into a good rhythm due to the underfoot conditions.
She was the leading lady until approximately 19 miles when Gemma Bragg of Bournemouth AC overtook her at a feed station. Kate did not feel there was much chance of her regaining the lead based on the comfortable running of her rival.
The last 1.5 miles was along the Esplanade was a challenge due to “a massive headwind” at which point Kate really had to dig deep. She feels the race could have gone better but she was satisfied with her performance, as the course was never likely to produce a personal best time.
Kate is looking forward to putting her feet up over Christmas and starting 2015 with renewed zest.
This was the first marathon in six years for Lesley Kirk (4:12.38), hence she was unsure how things would go. Unfortunately, due to coming down with a cold and cough, she was unable to do most of her long distance training leading up to the race and she was still under the weather on the day.
Lesley aimed to make it to 13 miles, assess how she felt and then hopefully to keep on running and she managed to exceed her cautious expectations by a considerable margin.
Lesley was a big fan of the course despite finding the last six miles really tough mentally. However, she was ultimately extremely pleased to have taken part and would “definitely consider doing the race again”.
Yvonne Caswell (4:21.02) and Victoria Jeffs (5:35.05) were taking on their first ever marathon and they chose a tough race with which to open their account.
They have both been putting in some high mileage training and this undoubtedly paid dividends as they showed excellent stamina and managed to enjoy the experience.
The race winner was Anthony Clark of Poole Runners in 2:41.33. Gemma Bragg of Bournemouth was the first woman in 3:09.42.