Running is an incredible form of exercise – it’s inexpensive, spontaneous and gets results, fast. You might watch the London Marathon on the television and think you’d never be up to the distance, but did you know Bournemouth has its very own marathon festival geared to people of all ages, fitness levels and ambitions?
Bournemouth Marathon Festival (BMF) was launched in 2013 and has gone from strength to strength since then. Not only do you have your pick of distances, but there are lots of charity places if you want to raise some money and cover your entry fee at the same time, there’s a great camaraderie in all events and the backdrop is incredible. The 2021 festival takes place on 9 October 2021 with events ranging from a kids’ kilometre to a full marathon race.
Early bird entries
If you caught the last festival and you’ve been inspired to train why not bite the bullet and make an ‘early bird’ entry in the few weeks after each event. Once you’ve committed you can train in a way that suits you, with distance and ability-based training plans available on the site to coach you to your goal. Bournemouth is a popular event on the running calendar and not just for the beautiful setting and fresh sea air.
IAAF Bronze Label event
The Bournemouth Marathon Festival is IAAF Bronze Label accredited, which meets the exacting standards of the International Association of Athletics Federations in terms of attracting an elite field, representing at least four nations with a course closed to vehicular traffic, accurately measured course with full electronic timing. Bournemouth also measures up to the guidelines around minimising ecological damage, conducting a specified number of doping tests with fair prize money irrespective of the winner’s gender or nationality.
Unlike some of the bigger events Bournemouth also offers guaranteed entry (while places last – all junior races in 2017 sold out!). There are no ballots, no qualifying, no hassle. You just need to sign up and get training!
Runners who fancy completing the full 26.2 now have an official marathon on their doorstep. You start the race in Kings Park and take in Boscombe and Bournemouth piers on this unbeatable coastal course.
Half marathon contenders start their race in Kings Park and run the 13.1 miles to Bournemouth seafront past both piers on a beautiful coastal route.
This 10k race takes on a fast and flat course along Bournemouth seafront. It’s a great step up from the 5k if you want to challenge yourself and gives you a great shot at a PB.
Whether you’re new to running and wanted something to train for or you enjoy this modest distance, the BMF Supernova 5k is a thrilling event all lit up at dusk. Remember your fluorescent clothing and headtorch!
The kids can’t get away with cheering you on from the sidelines as there are events for them too. Tiny ones can do the Kids Kilometre, children aged 6-8 run 1.5k, those aged 9-12 tackle the 2k and there’s a Junior 5k for ages 12-18. These races go along the seafront and around Bournemouth Pier before the glory of crossing the official marathon finish line at the mouth of the Lower Gardens.
Bournemouth Marathon Festival
Despite the weather threatening to put a dampener on the whole event the 2017 BMF was dry and full to capacity as 15,000 runners tackled their events. The full marathon was won by Jacek Cieluszecki in a time of 2:32:00 and the first female home was Wimbledon Windmiller Laura Trimble clocking 3:05:20.
Bournemouth Full Marathon – Kings Park
Bournemouth Marathon Festival
The fourth annual Bournemouth Marathon Festival took place on 1 – 2 October 2016. 13,000 people took part in the six events over the weekend and clocked some impressive times. The Full Marathon was won by Stanley Kiprotich Bett in a time of 2:17:59 and the fastest female was Eddah Jepkosei in 2:40:38.