After two consecutive 20 mile weekend runs today’s 15 was a walk in the park, or more specifically along the coast. The venue for today was Langstone Harbour that stretches from Portsmouth around to Hayling Island. I’ve run this route in recent weeks as it has many similar features to my Barnstaple marathon, in 3 weeks !! My running partner for today was Howard Stinton who’s next marathon is in October. Howard’s running mind set is very similar to mine, he’s never happier than when he’s away from the roads.
The 7 1/2 mile out and back run starts on tarmac close to the motorway but soon moves onto the coastal path (first photo above), over the bridge to Hayling and along the old railway line (second photo above). Howard’s training is going well at the moment and it was a case of trying to rein him in, so what I needed was a distraction. This came in the unlikely topic of food 🙂
The coastal paths are very “green” at the moment with numerous bushes, trees and hedges having had the benefits of the recent sunshine and rain. I am no expert but Howard impressed me with his knowledge and the run almost became a case of “spot the forageable food”. If my memory serves me right we saw crab apples, sloes, blackberries, elder berries, damsons, wild plums, cobs and rose hips. Bear Grylls would have been proud of Howard’s basket (if we’d have had the time to stop and pick any !!)
Not content with fruit we also could add nettles, sea cabbage (yes it’s grows in the shingle) bladder wrack and lava (seaweed), these examples would be for the more adventurous. Another noticeable feature of the Hayling Billy line is the amount of ladies that run it, unaccompanied, which is a really positive thing to see, no “damsons” in distress here just motivated women. The miles passed by at a much better temperature for running, than of late and Howard was already talking of adding on extra miles. He did 20, so well done mate 🙂
Talking of “elder” berries I was starting to feel the last three weeks long runs and had to dig in for the last two miles so as to maintain my 9 ish minutes per mile target. A 4 hour marathon needs an average of 9.09, today with Howard’s encouragement I averaged 9.05 so I’m still on track. After all this talk of fruit I’m looking forward to one of my 5 a day, the apples in my cider tonight !! So we started near a motorway but ran mostly trails, “go find them” and get hooked like us 🙂