2019 ABP Southampton Marathon, Half & 10km wrap

2019 ABP Southampton Marathon, Half & 10km wrap

First of all, congratulations to all runners who smashed last Sunday's ABP Southampton Marathon, Half, 10km and Mile Fun Run events!

First of all, congratulations to all runners who smashed last Sunday's ABP Southampton Marathon, Half, 10km and Mile Fun Run events!

The weather gods worked in runners’ favour, with a hint of overcast clouds, a bit of sunshine and not too much wind making it virtually ideal running conditions for May.

Having had a few days to reflect after running the ABP Southampton Marathon for the first time, I wanted to wrap up and touch upon a few aspects of what was a brilliant and memorable day.

 

Spectators

Hundreds, if not thousands of people, lined the pavements and offered positive and motivating support throughout the full marathon, half and 10km races.

The cheering from Sotonians was simply fantastic.

Whether people were following a loved one or a complete stranger, the enthusiasm for getting behind every runner was there for all to see.

I thought the atmosphere was particularly special through Riverside Park, with the narrow paths and closeness to spectators meaning you could hear every shout and cheer.

In addition, the start and finish areas were electric as was Itchen Bridge, with the noise and dance moves of Liberty Pride Cheerleaders, among many other local organisations in attendance, serving as a much-needed boost for runners!

Indeed, it came at the right time with the Bridge’s incline to negotiate!

The impact of support out there on the course and the commitment of marshals to give their time should never be underestimated and is truly appreciated by each and every runner.

 

The city’s sights

Even as a Southampton resident, it was a brilliant experience to run on traffic-free roads that I knew so well and take in the city's sights, from the Bargate to a run on St Mary’s Stadium touchline.

The route, for all races, captures what the city is about and showcases key landmarks - which is a crucial ingredient of marathon running, especially, as you want ‘running tourists’ and Southampton newcomers to enjoy a unique experience.

The race village, at the iconic Guildhall, was a hive of activity on the day and the perfect place to catch up with friends post-race after picking up your medal and race goodie bag.

The finishers' goodie bag included a Worry Less Design postcard of some of Southampton's most iconic buildings and a few nice motivating words, which I thought was a lovely touch. Indeed, that will certain sit side by side with my medal.

 

Go green

The event's continued commitment to the environment is terrific.

Drinq Smartpack water at stations, manned by superb volunteers, was an efficient way of reducing single-use plastic bottles across the event (by 99.96%) while reusable drink bottles at the finish line (provided by Utilita), was another environmentally conscious move.

I think runners are becoming more and more knowledgeable about the need for environmentally friendly events.

Post-race massage

A special shout must also go to the Solent University therapy students, who along with the help of ABP Southampton Marathon's physiotherapy partner: Jonathan Clark Physiotherapy, were on hand to get some life back into my legs post-marathon.

I think I can speak for most runners and say their expertise, pre and post-race, was appreciated!

The partnership also provided a unique work experience opportunity for the students and further extended the important relationship between the event and the University.

 

'IronFran' Franny Benali

This piece couldn't go by without mentioning the Southampton legend, who completed the marathon as part of the final day of his epic IronFran - seven Ironmans in seven days challenge - for Cancer Research UK.

It is fair to say the man is a machine.

I ran a full marathon with Fran last Thursday (2nd May) and gained a unique insight into his mental toughness, resilience and desire to put his body through the wringer, so to speak, for an amazing cause.

It felt fitting that he could finish his challenge on home soil and I'm sure the crowds enjoyed seeing the former Red and Whites left-back pound the city's streets, along with fellow club icon Matthew Le Tissier - who impressively completed the half-marathon.

Their presence gave the ABP Southampton Marathon extra publicity and the city really got behind Franny, who reached his quite epic £1m fundraising target earlier this week.

 

All that’s left to be said is recover well, keep running and see you next year! 

 

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