Running machine Martin MacDonald ran another 10k at the weekend…
Southport Seaside 10k
2014 was the 10th anniversary of this race. The last time I was here was in 2009. Back then it was a few laps of Princes park for about 300 people in a -10oC head wind. This year saw a new course, more people and better weather. Just under 1000 people started off this year and the build-up was a little mild to be honest. Everyone spread out and not really involved in what was going on at the start line. I was without my support crew this year due to double bookings, so I was running solo. The start was quite narrow and an obvious bottle neck was only about 20 meters into the race. I found myself, inadvertently, towards the back of the field at the start. Off went the gun and it took a few minutes to get over the line from where I was positioned.
The route for the race was two laps of the marine lake and along the front. Southport has had a chequered reputation over the last 10-15 years, but has recently had an injection of funding and most of the front where the race followed has been regenerated. The initial stages of the route funnelled everyone through footpaths and narrow lanes of the park. This made the initial trudging incredibly slow. My own fault for not making sure I was in the right place at the start line. Once we got out of the park and along the front on the main road, the field thinned out and I was able to stretch my legs a bit. The main lake is separated from the beach by the coast road that runs all way to Blackpool. Around the top of the lake the route took a path through some dunes. Running on soft sand is not easy! Trying to maintain my target mile/min pace was never happening through this bit. Down the coast road for the back section of the lap was the most pleasant part of the race. Cool breeze off the sea, no traffic. Quite enjoyable. Around the park again for the start of the 2nd lap saw a few queues of people as we all wedged ourselves down narrow footpaths of the park, lined with nettles, thorns and other lovely things that want to bite you. Up towards the sand and onto the coast road for the home straight. The finished was a little odd. 20 meters or so from the finish, there was a hairpin bend downhill then 5 meters of flat to the finish. This meant you had to speed up, slow down then speed up again. All in about 25 meters. Over the line in a respectable 48 minutes. Given the narrow passages and sand dunes it was never going to be PB race but 225 finish from 980 will do.
I watched a few finishers come over the line up to the hour mark, which was nice to see the effort that people throw out to get over that line. Something I’ve not seen before as I’m usually the one throwing myself at the line.
The goody bag for this race has always been legendary for the price of the race. Previous years contents have been clothing, towels and loads of free food. Picked up my allocation goody back, which lived up to expectations. Loads of free sports fuel stuff, a T-shirt and medal. Not an advert in sight.
Off back to the car that had just cost me £5 for 3 hours (normally free on a Sunday. Thanks Sefton council!) and back home.
Next stop, some Ormskirk Gingerbread.