Thousands of runners, young and old, pounded the streets of Bournemouth as part of the annual Bournemouth Marathon Festival.
Nearly 15,000 runners took part across the eight running distances which made up the Bournemouth Marathon Festival, cheered on by nearly 50,000 spectators.
The races were kicked off at midday on Saturday with the Kid’s Kilometre, which featured hundreds of eager children.
One such runner was Arthur Blake, a four-year-old boy who contracted sepsis and meningitis as a baby and has since gone on to become an avid runner.
Whether competing in their first race, raising money and awareness of a charity in memory of a loved one or doing it for personal pride, this weekend’s races were valiantly completed by everyone who took part.
The rest of the junior races followed, with the 1.5k, 2k and 5k races, which were thoroughly enjoyed by the children and teenagers taking part.
Young Kaden Dugmore ran the Junior 1.5K for local charity Forest Holme Hospice, in memory of his dad Karl. Kaden’s mum Kimmie said: “Kaden and his dad were very close, they did pretty much everything together. Running was one of Karl’s passions and one of his favourite things to do to keep fit and healthy.
“Kaden decided to do this challenge to make daddy proud and help other people by fundraising for Forest Holme where Karl received love, care and respect while we were there.”
In an attempt to win the BMF Junior Schools Competition, which recognises and reward the effort of schools who encourage participation in sporting activities, St Peters School in Bournemouth registered 97 schoolchildren into the junior 1.5k.
As darkness began to fall and the rain began to come in, the adults races began with the Supersonic 10k and the vibrant Supernova 5k closing proceedings on day one of the festival.
Georgie Roe, a third-year university student at BU, took part in the Supersonic 10k to raise money for The Joe Humphries Memorial Trust.
“I am raising money for this charity that was set up in memory of a friend that died seven years ago last Friday.
“I have done a few 10k runs in the past, but this is my first on in Bournemouth.”
Joe Humphries died due to SADs, or sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, he was out on a jog with his friend.
Georgie continued: “The trust aims to raise awareness of the importance of CPR and promoting it to be taught to children in schools.
“I have raised about £200 at the moment but hoping to raise more for this brilliant charity.”
Day two started early as around five thousand runners made their way to Kings Park for the start of the Bournemouth half marathon, which commenced at 8am.
The full marathon, which started at 10am, brought proceedings to a close and marked the end of another eventful instalment of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival.
Hannah Perkins ran the Half Marathon for Longfield Hospice. Hannah explained: “Last May I ran a 10k race for life. I had my beautiful mum there, cheering loudly and throwing her arms around me as I crossed the finish line. When I collected my medal she jokingly said ‘What’s next, a half marathon?’.
“A few months ago, mum sadly lost her life to cancer.
“Longfield are a hospice based in Minchinhampton which provided outstanding “hospice at home” care for my Mum in her final year.”
The excitement and tensions at Sunday’s start line near Kings Park Athletic Stadium was palpable as runners jostled for position, but as the runners battled with strong headwinds, they were well cheered and supported by friends, family and onlookers on what became a fine day for running weather.
Alan Oliver, 54 from Suffolk, also took part in the Bournemouth Marathon raising money for The Alzheimer’s Society in memory of his mum Irene, as well as other people that continue to suffer with the disease.
Having completed eight ultra-challenge events already this year, Alan hopes that, by competing in the Bournemouth Marathon, he will reach his initial target of £5,000 for the charity.
“As I have ran in these ultra-challenges, I have met other people who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and their names have been added to my shirt.
“I have two or three friend’s mums who have also passed away as well. At on ultra-challenge, I was running with another man whose dad was watching him compete who suffered from three different types of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
“I don’t just do it for the people who have passed away, but for people who continue to suffer from the disease. Thinking of the people’s names I have printed on my top gives me inspiration when I need it during these races.”
Sandra Scott, event director, said: “It’s been another fantastic weekend for the Bournemouth Marathon Festival.
“We’re always left in awe of the number of incredible participants who put so much time and passion into their running challenge. A massive congratulations to everyone who took part this weekend, no matter the distance. Runners are on track to raise over half a million pounds for over 200 of our affiliate charities, we’re so proud of all their efforts.
“A huge thank you also goes to the local residents and businesses of Bournemouth and Poole who supported the runners across the route, along with our 1,000 strong Event Team who worked so hard to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the runners this weekend. “A special thanks to the Seafronts Team who have worked tirelessly over the past few days clearing the promenade of sand after the tail end of Hurricane Lorenzo hit on Friday.”