Langstone Harbour Portsmouth : 14 miles of Coastal tracks

The video is from the official marathon site and shows the route from the half way turnaround.


Today’s run was all about building towards, hopefully, a sub 4 hour Barnstaple marathon on September 27th. Fellow Fareham Crusader Rob Morgan joined me today as he is training for the Bournemouth marathon. We set off from Farlington marshes and ran to virtually the turnaround point, at the bottom of the Hayling Billy line. Having run both the Portsmouth and Barnstaple races before I know they are quite similar, in that they use coastal paths and disused railway lines.

The sun was already out at 8am, when we set off, and the views across the harbour meant we could see roughly were we’d be running to, some 7 miles away. A target pace of somewhere between 8 minutes 45 seconds and 9 minutes was our aim. Generally I let the off road terrain dictate the pace but today was virtually all flat, however, there were some rough/technical sections to keep our minds alert.

The track initially runs parallel with the motorway but you are soon on the coastal path with great views of the marshes. The section along the coastal defences needed some care as to placing your feet but we were soon approaching the Hayling Bridge. One of the reasons the railway line closed in 1963 was due to the upkeep of the railway bridge (see above). We briefly stopped at the Hayling Island information sign and then pressed on. The track was compact and easy to run on.

The return leg was quite warm and the shingle around 10 miles added another twist. One noticeable point was that we saw 5 ladies running on their own at different stages of our 14 miles … “Girlpower” and great to see. We maintained our pace and finished at an average of 8-52 so that was spot on. Good to run with Rob and I’m sure we will run again.

DSCF4103   hayling4

Getting the miles “going again” 11.5 miles of road, nature reserve & coast

With my Barnstaple marathon in 9 weeks time running further was today’s goal. A steady couple of tarmac miles had brought me to Titchfield village and it’s pretty narrow lanes, then onto Titchfield Haven, a local nature reserve, this would ultimately bring me to the coast. The video shows the Haven’s narrow footpath and its meandering canal . The overnight rain had left a number of puddles but wet socks and mud up the back of your legs never hurt anyone 🙂

The morning sunshine had brought a number of animals out, including some inquisitive cows who nodded their approval as I ran past. The path has a few tree lined sections that block out the sky as if you were running down a green tunnel and the canal frequently changes colour between clear, dirty brown and a pea soup green. In no time the coast was in view and after a quick to chat with a lady from Gosport Road runners I was climbing up the narrow path that takes you along the coastal path.

There were an abundance of puddles along the cliff top as well as lots of people out taking in the fresh coastal air. It’s great to see runners, cyclists, walkers, horse riders and family’s enjoying our local area instead of being at home. The Solent waters were busy with all manner of vessels and the large fields hay bails were staked up high almost like yellow towers dotted along the landscape. These are the kind of sights I enjoy will running off road.

I’d reached my 6 mile mark so it was time to turn around and choose my return leg. The nature reserves puddles were nothing compared to the coastal path ones so I quite simply ran through them all not even trying to skirt around them 🙂 Heading back towards the end of the path I realised my late start meant it was time to press on so I chose the roads of Hill Head to return on.

The line of beach huts after Hill Head sailing club always interest me to see who is using them and what they have done to personalise them. Once through Stubbington village that just left 2.5 miles of pavement and I was pleased to average 8 minutes 52 seconds for the 11.5 miles with a sub 4 hour marathon in mind. A pleasant mornings run with plenty to take in along the way.


Meeting up with Running friends “old & new” at the LOS Park run & 5 miles of extras

A lovely sunny morning by the sea was the perfect venue for Lee on Solent’s 3rd Parkrun and the first of today’s two runs. With the Solent waters lapping on the shoreline and a clear view of the Isle of Wight it’s an impressive location for a run.  The sun was quite hot today but the glow I came away with was that of sharing my passion for running with new and old friends.

On arriving I could see Auz Grey (Gosport Runners) in his florescent bib, the team that he is part of put on a great event and they should be very proud of what they have achieved. I’ve only recently got to know Auz and today’s event was a far cry from the South Downs marathon we both ran last month. The next runner I spotted was Ros Clarke, she ran with our club a few years ago but then had an injury that stopped her running. We have chatted on twitter but it’s years since I’ve seen her, so it was great to catch up in person. As we were chatting Brian Penniall, from work, came up to us looking eager to run, so this was to be a new event for us all.

IMG_6599 9am and “we were off” LOS Park Run No. 3

I started far too quickly, eager not to be boxed in further up the course, but on reflection I probably didn’t need too 🙂 Due to this quick start Ben Strudwick from the Crusaders, who I didn’t know but I recognised from his facebook photo, overtook me with an “Alright Roger” so that was us introduced too. I saw quite a few familiar Crusader faces with the course being out and back twice and I shouted encouragement wherever possible. Lyndsey Howell was sadly sitting on a park bench but once we’d established she was ok I pressed on.

Crusader Sarah Moulding, was taking photos, so I owe her thanks for using some from today. With Brian overtaking me at half way he will have bragging rights at work on Monday, so well done Brian. My final surprise of the day was seeing Stubbington Green’s Simon Hearndean who had said hello while we were running, but had sunglasses on so I didn’t recognise him !! I first met Simon 20 years ago but he has spent a lot of that time in the navy so again it was great to shake his hand and say well done. Park runs are just that, a run and not necessarily a race, I think this is the route of their success judging by the variety of people all enjoying it.

All in all a very rewarding 5K that lasted 23 mins 37 secs, which was fine rather than “great”, but much more importantly an enjoyable coming together of the local running community. As I drove back  home reflecting that a sub 7 & 3/4 minute mile pace was ok the final twist was, that I had time to go out again, so 3/4 of an hour after I’d finished I set off heading for our local creek/golf course.


The 5 mile run was at an 8 & 3/4 minute pace so again, quite pleasing after my earlier efforts. So todays “irunoffroad” comprised of the coast, a creek and the outskirts of the golf course 🙂

IMG_6798 Today “hurt” but in a good way 🙂


Tree lined Footpaths on a Sunny day : Where will they take you ??

My aim today was to test my back after treatment for trapping a vertebra. I ran the mile and a half to the start of the Deviation Line (a disused railway line) so the country footpaths were mine to choose from. The shade that the tree lined path gives was both helpful from the sun and enjoyable at the same time, after all if there aren’t any hill top views the next best running option is a green tunnel stretching out in front of you.

Today wasn’t about pace just to keep running, as I had some time to spare, I was keen to try a couple of paths I have seen on maps but not actually run down. I left the Deviation Line and ran along a winding, partially overgrown, footpath that took me past a farm and up a lane, then onto the Wickham main road. A brisk 100m along the tarmac took me to Sprincles Lane and next to Whitley golf course. I now know how to link this up with North Segensworth so running home from work will be “largely” on country footpaths from now on 🙂 (De-stress)

The second route I wanted to explore was a small opening along a quiet road I’ve run many times before. The road is between Funtley and Knowle and the gap in the hedge almost resembles a door. (Narnia ?) An unexpected descent brought me to a small wooden bridge over a stream, the track passes a house and winds it’s way again out onto the Wickham main road again. My interest with both the routes I ran today was to see if they joined up going into Whitley woods but that adventure will have to wait for another day.

So, in short my back behaved and I can now look at my map of the area with a mental picture of more routes and how I might link them up. A satisfying 8 or so miles in which I saw virtually no one and had only the sounds of the countryside which create such a relaxing back drop 🙂


Silly injury means spare time to add a “New” Page

“Bad News”, a silly rib injury from lifting something up at the wrong angle has meant running is on hold at the moment. The “Good News”, I’ve got around to adding a new page to my blog with lots of links to websites that I’ve found useful for training and races as well as inspiring and motivational.

Injuries can be looked at in two ways, you are either miserable or you are planning your return with anticipation. I fall into the later category, can’t wait to get back out there. Happy running one and all. P.S. Jason from Bodyfusion sports therapy has got me back on track today 🙂