The inaugural Run to the Sea, initially scheduled for 28th March, was finally able to take place on Saturday 10th October. My first race in seven months and it was fantastic.
The RTTS is a 50km point-to-point ultra from Ringwood to Bournemouth. The first part of the course follows the Castleman Trail along wooded trails and then ends up along the coastal path to reach Hengistbury Head.
Everything was brilliantly organised to adhere to current Covid-19 guidelines. Course instructions, race briefing and numbers were sent out prior to the event. Before the day you were asked to select a start time between 7-9:00am and then asked to arrive at the start area no more than 30 minutes before your allocated slot. Within each 5 minute time band there were 30 runners and 6 runners at a time were set off at 1-minute intervals. I’ve never been at such a sparsely attended race start! No queues for the toilets!
The weather was amazing – perfect for running. For me running along the woodland trails was the highlight of the race. The last third of the race was along Poole/Bournemouth sea front which, given the lovely weather, was very crowded. Still endeavouring to maintain social distancing whilst avoiding tripping up over unleashed dogs and errant child cyclists all added to the joy of finally being able to race again.
The aid stations were well stocked with all food individually wrapped. Alas, no jelly babies – instead individually wrapped starbursts! After helping yourself to water/cola, urn handles were wiped down by marshals. Like the majority of ultras now, the race was cupless.
As well as being well signed there were marshals at all the road junctions to make sure you went the right way.
Just as at the start there was no congregating at the finish. The event was chip timed and results emailed out later that day.
It was a primarily flat course and was won in a time of 3:25:48. There were 450 finishers. I finished in 5:00:01 – 18th woman and 2nd in my age group.
An absolutely brilliant day and so wonderful to be able to support such a well organised event. Bookings are open for next March with an early bird discount if you fancy it.
My legs still feel a little stiff this morning – that 10 miles along the promenade! I’m hoping that Pru and Sarah’s speed session tonight (sessions for which I have just been so grateful for over the past weeks – so thank you) will help boost recovery.