Focus on a race Interview

Bournemouth hosts a new Coastal Marathon

01 Apr 2013 07:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux


Hello, on October 6th 2013, you’ll be organizing the Bournemouth Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

The Bournemouth Marathon Festival will take place in the coastal resorts of Bournemouth and Poole in the south coast of England on october 5th and 6th 2013. Marathon runners will have the unique opportunity to take in Bournemouth pier and the award winning Boscombe pier in this new family friendly running festival.

This will be the inaugural race. What motivated you to create the race?

There are 3 main reasons for establishing the Bournemouth Marathon Festival: 1. Stunning sea views, fresh crisp clean air and the very best of Bournemouth and Poole created the perfect natural environment for “running as it should be”. So the Bournemouth Marathon Festival promises a world-class, engaging and inclusive event. It captures and promotes the essence of a vibrant, healthy and active lifestyle through a series of fun and challenging mass participation running races, all inspired by the stunning coastal arena of Bournemouth and Poole.

2. Typically, if you want to enter a major run such as a marathon, half marathon, or 10k you have to choose different venues and dates. The Bournemouth Marathon Festival brings all of these together in one unique festival of running. A 5k “Speed of Light race” which takes place at dusk with emphasis on light around the route, providing runners and spectators with an unforgettable race and runners taking part in the “Supersonic” 10k run will be treated to music from bands along the route, showcasing local musical talent. Two junior races designed to fire children’s enthusiasm for fitness will guarantee there’s something for all the family. And at the heart of this weekend is the establishment of the Bournemouth marathon – the pinnacle of endurance athletics.

3. There was no other major event of this kind in the area in October so introducing this Festival of running gave runners a great way to end the ‘season’ and maintain their fitness levels.

Bournemouth Beach
Credit : Bournemouth Marathon Festival

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

The six different race routes offer athletes of all ages and abilities a unique and spectacularly scenic running experience that combines challenge with charm.

Detailed maps are now available on the, but here’s a whistlestop tour of the 26.2-mile marathon circuit.

The course starts in a tree-lined avenue in Bournemouth’s Kings Park – one of the town’s many wide-open green spaces – before heading down through Southbourne, fast becoming known for its cosmopolitan café culture, and certain to draw the crowds.

Runners continue to head eastwards, descending towards the historic Hengistbury Head promontory, the site of a Stone Age settlement and now a designated area of natural beauty. The route then doubles back along Southbourne’s clifftop, affording superb views of the Isle of Wight.

Another about turn takes the route down to the beachfront promenade for a flat and fast section past the award-winning Boscombe Pier before a short sharp climb through the pretty wooded Boscombe Chine Gardens and on to Bournemouth’s East Overcliff with its views across Poole Bay to the distant Purbeck Hills.

Runners then descend to the beach’s edge for a sea-level stretch to – and up and back along – Boscombe Pier itself. This unique experience is repeated at Bournemouth Pier, just ahead of the 18-mile marker and a taxing ascent of the Bournemouth marathon’s “Heartbreak Hill” into West Cliff.

Following the winding West Overcliff Drive and crossing the wooded Middle Chine via a suspension bridge, the runners descend to the promenade once more and head westwards past the renowned Sandbanks Peninsula to Poole Harbour – after Sydney, the second largest natural harbour in the world.

For the final few miles, the route heads back along the promenade to Bournemouth Pier for the final dash into the award-winning Lower Gardens – and the finishing line!

Bournemouth Pier
Credit : Bournemouth Marathon Festival

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

Sunday runners for the full and half marathon are predicted to be 6,000. Entries are coming in strongly so we’re on course to reach this target. This event is drawing an international runner from Helsinki, Dallas, Vienna to London, Edinburgh and locally in Poole and Bournemouth. All levels of abilities and ages are welcome from those such as ‘The Godfather of Running’ Steve Edwards who has entered Bournemouth Marathon as part of his attempt to run 600 marathons in the fastest average time in 2013 to novice runners who have entered this event as their first marathon.

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

During the summer months in Bournemouth there are many fine and often extremely sunny days and Bournemouth remains generally mild into Autumn. The Bournemouth Marathon Festival takes place at the very start of October (5/6 October 2013) so will enjoy the tail end of the more pleasant summer/autumn weather. Like anywhere the weather is unpredictable however being a coastal resort guarantees an invigorating sea air which will drive on runners.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

There are festivities being planned and these will be announced in due course but the illuminations mentioned around the ‘Speed of Light 5k’ and music surrounding the Superonic 10k are a taste of the overall festival of running atmosphere promised.

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Bournemouth before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Post race there’s plenty to enjoy on the seafront. Relax in a cool beach pod, watch the water sports and enjoy a drink at one of Boscombe’s stylish cafes such as the Aruba Restauant and Bar. This cosmopolitan bar has a sun terrace, palm trees and a cocktail bar. Perfect for celebrating a runners success!

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Bournemouth Marathon?

If you want to challenge yourself in a breathtaking coastal arena and enjoy ‘running as it should be’ then the Bournemouth Marathon Festival is for you.

Interview with Kirstie Armsworth, Marketing Manager for the Bournemouth Marathon Festival. Kirstie began running relatively late in her life after her second child and she hasn’t looked back since. Running is a super way to stay fit and is the perfect way for here to keep in touch with her girlfriends as they run in a group every wee