16 Coastal miles & Mike Harper’s 150th Park Run

The thinking behind today’s run was to log a solid 16 miles towards my flat marathon goal and to support Mike Harper, a long standing friend of mine, on his 150th Park Run. The starting point of Lee on Solent was an easy choice due to the Park Run starting and finishing there. The plan was to set off around 6.50am and be back for 9.10am to cheer in Mike and all the other Fareham Crusaders.

Rob Morgan joined me again this week and we were met with the Solent looking like it was a boating lake. We were heading for Hill Head and it’s attractive shoreline, with beach huts and views across the Solent. Sights such as a huge cargo vessel on the horizon, that gradually got bigger as it made it’s way towards us and Southampton docks, are one of the many distractions that a coastal run gives you, as the miles tick by.

The temperature was rising even at this stage and as we retraced our steps back towards Lee On Solent the sun was already shimmering off the sea. So 5.5 miles done and were on course for supporting our fellow club mates. Stokes Bay was our next port of call and once again the world was still largely asleep as we ran through.

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The circular curve of Stokes Bay leads to Gilkicker Fort that looks out towards the channel and in Victorian times would have been as a deterrent to any invading French vessels, today it was just us and we posed no treat 🙂 The sea water was noticeably clear and I can see why our Triathlon friends use this area to sea swim. In no time we were approaching the fort, which also meant crossing a golf course “carefully”, “four” !!! Time was getting on so we decided to slightly shorten our miles and in the end it was 14.5 as we returned to the Park Run. This decision was well founded as we could see the leaders as we approached.

We shouted encouragement to numerous club mate friends with the biggest smile coming from Ladies Club captain Louise Riches. Mike Harper was in full flow and by the time he approached us, at the end, he certainly looked inspired from all the well wishers, even if he appears to have lost his right hand !! I took a Team photo of Stubbington Green and our Crusader runners, both who he has run for. Well done all, it was hot today.

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Rob and myself finished off our 16 miles with a descent flurry, after the spectating rest, and all in all a 9 minute average pace for the total distance still keeps me on track for a sub 4 marathon and Rob’s Bournemouth marathon, will be quicker again I suspect. So, a really good “running” morning which was capped off when I hear later that my friend Alison had completed her first Park Run. They really are opening up people to running, “Welcome to my world Alison” 🙂

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