The South Coast festival included a Marathon, Half Marathon 10k, 5k, and four Junior races which made for an action-packed weekend.
The four junior races, which included two brand new races for 2017, kicked the festival off at Saturday lunchtime, with hundreds of enthusiastic young runners crossing the finish line in the bright Bournemouth sunshine. The first ever Kids’ Kilometre was first up at 12noon for ages 3-6. The 1.5k race then took place and saw Ono Anyan Hobbs first home in 5 minutes 50 seconds, while the first female home was Millie Fisher-wyatt in a time of 6 minutes and 32 seconds.
An hour later, it was the turn of the 9-12 year olds in the 2K. Jon Pepin of New Forest Junior AC, last year’s 1.5k winner was first across the line in 7 minutes and 11 seconds, and Southampton AC’s Megan Hulbert successfully defended her title from last year, coming across the finish line in 7 minutes and 55 seconds.
The winner of the first ever Junior 5k was Sean Harnett, who crossed the finish line in 17 minutes exactly, while the first female Fern Kimber, came home in a time of 19 minutes and 49 seconds.
The Supersonic 10K kicked off at 4pm along the seafront and saw victory for sixteen-year old Ben Lewis of Poole AC, who finished in a time of 34 minutes 03 seconds. He spoke to us afterwards: “I took part last year but really struggled at the 4.5k mark, so I’m happy to come back this year and do it justice.”
The first female over the line was Eilidh Bell with a winning time of 38 minutes 42 seconds. Eilidh reflected on her race: “The course was really nice, and the crowds were great. I even got a PB so I’m happy with how the race went.”
As dusk fell in Bournemouth, it was time for the glow in the dark Supernova 5K runners to light up the night. The final Saturday race kicked off at 7pm; runners set off along the promenade clad with fluorescent gear and each with a headtorch, creating a breathtaking visual spectacle. The eventual winner was Bayley Massey from Cambridge Harriers, successfully defending his title from last year. He finished in a time of 16 minutes 17 seconds. Bayley was followed home by Bournemouth AC club mates Rob McTaggart in second and Billy McGreevy in third place.
Lara Atkinson, also from Cambridge Harriers, was first female finisher – successfully defending her title from the previous two years. She raced round the 5k route in 18 minutes 38 seconds.
Sunday’s Half Marathon event saw a new female course record set by Anna Boniface of Reading AC with a speedy time of 1:19:46.
Peter Baksh of Beckenham AC crossed the finish line first, with a time of 1:10:29. Afterwards he said: “The crowd and marshals were brilliant, it was a great day and I really enjoyed it. I really just wanted to get under a time today, I wasn’t expecting to win.”
The final event of the 2017 festival was the marathon, which got underway at 10am from Kings Park under brilliant blue skies. Pre-race favourite Jacek Cieluszecki broke clear early on and was in the lead as he ran over Bournemouth Pier and through the finish area in Lower Gardens with 9 miles remaining. Cieluszecki kept his pace up and came through the finish line to claim first prize in a time of 2:32:00.
After his win, Cieluszecki said: “I expected to be top 3 but I’m very happy with my win, I thought I had a chance as I was in control the whole way round. I won the Half Marathon in 2014 so I’m pleased to get on the podium this time for the marathon.”
The female race was won by Laura Trimble of Wimbledon Windmilers, who was the first female home in a time of 3:05:20. After her podium finish, Laura said: “The conditions were amazing – I really enjoyed it. It’s my first time racing here in Bournemouth and I loved it. I have a two-year old and a four-year old so it was amazing that they got to see me out on the course and support me.”
Elsewhere, there were plenty of other inspirational people doing truly incredible things. One such example was little Jake Dixon who took part in the first ever Kids’ Kilometre to raise funds for local hospice Forest Holme in memory of his dad Shaun, who sadly passed away from cancer in 2014.
Another inspirational charity feat took place by Michael Dobson and his team of supporters who took on the 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Michael said afterwards: “Normally we just take part in the Bournemouth Half Marathon, so it was very different this year. We took on this challenge in memory of my dad and I’m so proud of us all.”
It was also a day of celebrations for Karl Randall who crossed the finish line to complete his 300th marathon, only a couple of months after two emergency operations and deciding to take up running after he found himself overweight in 2008. Afterwards he said: “Completing 300 marathons is an absolutely fantastic feeling and achievement and it feels even more special to do it in Bournemouth.”
Sandra Scott, Race Director said: “It’s been another amazing weekend of seaside running at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival, with over half a million pounds raised for good causes.
“Thanks to all the runners, supporters on route and to our fantastic team of volunteer race crew from all over the UK and beyond for making Bournemouth one of the UK’s ultimate running destinations: running as it should be.
“We’d also like to say thank you to the phenomenal support by local residents who came out to cheer and encourage the runners all along the route.
“Come and see us again next year for BMF 2018!”
Early bird entries are now available for 2018 until Sunday 22nd October. Find out more at www.bournemouthmarathon.com