Todays “irunoffroad” was a trip to the coast, Hill Head more specifically, which is just around the corner from Lee On Solent and Stokes Bay. With views of the Solent and the Isle of White the 10 mile run promised to be visually enjoyable. On arrival the wind was blowing and the clouds were gathering overhead. The sight of an IOW ferry reminded me that it was Festival weekend and my start time of 8.30am meant the SDW100 runners had been going for 2 1/2 hours, inland.
With the marathon next Saturday it was unfortunate that neither Dave Fuller or Paul Coates could make this run but I look forward to meeting up for the race. The wind was behind me when I set off so immediately I was pondering that the return 5 miles would be harder. As I ran past the beach huts and along the seafront I was treated to kite surfers, wind surfers and a couple of brave swimmers all out enjoying the sea.
Lee On Solent will have a Parkrun as of the 4th July so they too will have sea views to enjoy. I ran inland for a mile or so in order to reach Stokes Bay which is next along the coast. The famous Bayside café, home to the swimmers of the Tri Club and Absolute Running came into sight, as well as the finish line for AR’s Golden mile. The “tide was high”, as Blondie would say, and combined with the wind this meant I caught some spray just to remind me I was coastal running.
I passed the Coastguard and yacht club buildings and with the Coastal Defences Fort in sight I was at half way. The pace of 8 min 45 sec was a little quicker than planned but fine, however, as soon as I rounded the fort it was clear the return leg would be a different “kettle of fish”. Head down and against the wind I was running probably the most exposed section now and just to underline it a dog walker chipped in with “Go on son, give it some”. I was already enjoying the challenge and his comment did make me laugh.
The sun came out as I approached LOS and I could taste the salt on my forehead from the sea breeze as well as smell the chips from the beach shack snack bar. I was pleasantly surprised with an 8 min 55 sec average time but it does go to show all those hills really do help on the flat. With an easy week in store today was an ideal warm down ready for my next marathon. Whenever I run by the sea I’m always reminded of a vinyl record shop that was called “A sides & B sides by the seaside” 🙂 Photo 1 : Hill Head/Lee on Solent, Photo 2 : Stokes Bay