6 Apr

Coast Or Country, You Decide

Des White in Bournemourth Half
The former Chairman of Paddock Wood AC, Des White, sure can run but he can't hide from runABC South reporter Alan Newman, who was a halfway point marshal at Paddock Wood's ever popular half marathon on Sunday (2 April). Des has retired to his native Devon and was spotted in action at Bournemouth Bay Run Half Marathon so we have the opportunity to pit coast against country in the quest for half marathon approbation.

Des White (2nd M60, Exmouth Harriers, 1:35:55) pictured above enjoyed a useful pre-London workout at the Dorset resort, situated at the eastern extremities of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. He provided the following insight into this 35-year old event: “It was a bit windy for the five miles east along the promenade from Alum Chine to Hengistbury Head. Nice and warm with blue sky, sunshine and fabulous views over the Purbeck Hills to the west and the Isle of Wight to the east.”
Top places went to Craig Palmer (Ampthill, 1:13:13), Charlie Palmer (Bedford, 1:14:44) and Tom Foster (Guildford, 1:15:52), and the women's field was led by Vicki Ingham (Poole, 1:29:43), Becky Hollowbread (New Forest Runners, 1:32:42) and Vicki Dibdin (1:32:43). There were 938 finishers inside 3:13:26 and the midpoint runner was Bex Harris (1:57:27). 
Bournemouth also featured a supporting 10k, 5k and 1k children's fun run with around 3,500 people taking part across the four races. The event has raised millions towards research at Southampton University for British Heart Foundation. Race director Emily Weaver said: “We've got a good following of runners who enter each year and one thing that draws them each time is the stunning view of the beach as they run along.”
Charity and scenery are themes that were echoed at Paddock Wood's 28th event. This highly rated race is sold out every year and the Kent hop fields and orchards were looking at their finest in the spring sunshine as 2,156 finishers helped raise funds for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.  
The men's podium was filled by Daniel Gaffney (South London Harriers, 1:08:36), Neil Boniface (Horsham Joggers, 1:08:48) and James Bowler (1:09:11), and the women's awards went to defending champion, Tracy Barlow (Thames Valley Harriers, 1:14:07), W50 Clare Elms (Dulwich, 1:23:41) and W40 Sarah Gruber (Invicta, 1:24:22).
Full results are available on our race listings page.
Image courtesy Alison White