Records fell before the Bournemouth Marathon Festival even started as an unprecedented 13,000 runners signed up to compete in the six-race weekend programme. Bournemouth’s strapline is, ‘running as it should be’, a sentiment that is impossible to argue with given the beautiful seafront course, excellent facilities and wonderful crowd support. Even the weather was as it should be.
Racing commenced on Saturday afternoon (1 October), with two events on the promenade for hundreds of eager young athletes. The sun shone as the 1.5k for ages 6-8 was won by 8-year-old Jon Pepin (New Forest Juniors) in a new course record (5:20). Ruby Moroney, also eight, won the girls race (7:01). Then it was the turn of the 9-12 year olds over 2k. Finn Pardy (11), of Poole AC, was first home (7:00) and Southampton AC’s Megan Hulbert (11) was first girl (7:49).
The Supersonic 10K was next up and resulted in victory for Genci Pepaj (Redway Runners, 34:42) from Gary O’Brien (Swindon, 35:50) and William Stanley (Colchester, 36:09). Christina Squire (Zoom Tri Bournemouth, 42:10) was followed by Camilla Bishop (Brighton, 42:50) and Holly Weir (Victoria Park, 42:57) in the women’s race.
The Glow in the Dark Supernova 5K concluded Saturday’s action as dusk fell. All runners wear fluorescent gear and a head torch, creating a breathtaking image on the seafront. The top three men were Bayley Massey (Cambridge Harriers, 17:07), Michael Johnson (Wimborne, 17:42) and Cameron Telford (Poole, 17:57). Lara Atkinson (18:51) ensured a Cambridge Harriers double in the women’s race, successfully defending her title from last year. The runners-up were Abbie Lovering (Wimbourne, 19:01) and Sarah Cleland (Hart, 19:35).
Sunday’s half marathon was held in brilliant sunshine and the top three men were Alex Wall-Clarke (Southampton, 1:11:04), Peter Thompson (Bournemouth, 1:11:49) and Tom Griffiths (Guildford, 1:13:28). The women’s race was won by Bournemouth local, Emma Dews, who set a new record (1:21:26) while passing her house twice on the route! Emma was chased home by Rose Penfold (Fulham, 1:22:47) and Katy Ward (Haslemere, 1:23:05).
The full marathon concluded a superb weekend of racing, starting in King's Park before making its way down to the seafront. The route passes popular spectator points at Boscombe Pier and Bournemouth Pier before the Lower Gardens finish. Kenyan athlete, Stanley Bett (2:17:59), was the clear winner from Moroccan runner Abdelhadi El Mouaziz (2:20:45) and Kenya’s Julius Korir (2:25:44). The leading women were Kenya’s Eddah Jepkosgei (2:40:38) and Hildah Cheboi (2:45:39) from Billericay Striders’ Emma Prideaux (3:01:15).
Full results, photos and 2017 early bird entry information at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival website.
Image courtesy Bournemouth Marathon Festival Weekend.