Portsmouth Coastal Marathon 2012

Hi, I'm considering entering the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon on 23rd December. But concerned about some previous reviews with people getting lost, and the multi terrain. Any advice/thoughts from people who have done the race previously? I did the Edinburgh Marathon in May and am still gutted with my time (over 5hours and I was hoping for under 4.30) so really feel there is unfinished business with the 26.2miler. Would Portsmouth Coastal be a good one for me to do? Thanks.


  • It's flat, friendly and well worth doing.
    It's out and back and there's just a little bit on the way back where it's easy to take the wrong track if you've got no-one else in your sights. You soon know you've done it though. Maybe they'll have an extra bit of tickertape in place this year to send us the right way.
    It's pretty much footpath type track with a playing field and some pavements along the way. Not exactly difficult footing although it can be muddy. The bit along the beach is very short and the sand is firm.

    And just think of all the mince pies you'll be allowed to scoff over the next few days image

  • I have completed 78 marathons and this is certainly NOT one of my favourites.  I think you will struggle to break 4.30 if you were over 5 in Edinburgh (think I did just over 3.30 there).

  • Thanks both for your advice. I have a half marathon in a couple of weeks so will see how that goes and then make a decision! Thank you.
  • I'm in for this - it'll only be my second marathon of the year but, like limper, I'm looking forward to the scoff-fest for the following few days! image

  • @ Terry - why so negative. I've read loads of positive things about this and was thinking of doing it, is it not all it's cracked up to be?

  • I'm in for it..will be running with an amazing gang who will be making this their 12th marathon in 2012..Run Forest Run et al. Cannot wait..will be my 8th marathon for this year and am in awe of their dedication. It will be sunny and it will be prime mince pie carb loading timeimage

  • I'm running it...can't wait. Am also running with my mates who are doing it as there 12th in 12! image

  • I've entered. Looks pretty fun / challenging. Not done it before. Are normal trainers ok for this? How much of the marathon is off road? I have some traditional Mizuno Presicion (with built in rock catchers in the heel...) or some Adidas Adios2s, but I've never tried either off-road.

  • Hi Charles

    My Mizuno's are good for rock catching too. Especially where I train on a towpath, I'm regularly digging out rogue stones I've taken home.

  • Considering this for the end of the year but will make a decision after this weekends New Forest Half.  What is the route generally like?

    This would be the first marathon that does not have hills so banking on a 4 hour or there abouts. 


  • There's a video on the website. It looks like a challenge - it will be mentally challenging with the lack of major landmarks and some narrow trails to run and a beach section for 500m. Very little protection from the sea elements. I doubt there will be many spectators either. It's out and back too, so it might be tough seeing people coming back the other way. So that's the challenge, but I think it will be really fun running by the sea.

    To those that have run it before: what are the on-course facilities like (drink stations, mile markers etc)?

  • Heard from elsewhere that the water stations have brandy and chocolate and jelly beans heheh. Quality. Also that it's definitely not a PB course. Although I'm hoping it will be for me because my only prior marathon wasn't great, so all I have to do is run the whole way to get a PB image

  • imageI ran this race last year as my 9th marathon of the year and it was also my fastest, to Nigdey, I also ran Edinburgh in over 5 hours but achieved 4.27 at Portsmouth so don't dispair it can be done. It is generally flat but the sections along the coast line do tend to be run in single file and there is a long section in the middle which is out and back on the same path. There were enough water stations offering gels as well although they did run out towards the end. Spectators were few but the finish and results were spot on. No need for off road shoes as mostly road or hard track.

  • Many thanks Patricia, great info.

  • I think I'm doing this - the comments make it sound like it will be fun and lowkey. It'll be my first one but I promised myself a marathon this year but have been screwed with first injury and then illness so this is my last chance to do one. It's the day before my birthday so seems a great way to build up a birthday/christmas thirst and appetite! Obviously having only been back running for a few weeks it could all go horribly wrong!


  • I'm looking at this marathon as well. I contacted the organiser about the possibility of getting lost and he said they are sorting that out for this year so I'm not worried about that.  My queries are; would trail trainers or road trainers be best? How much of it is beach running and how much does the beach section impact on your overall time compared to a normal marathon?

  • Watch the video on the website. Hover on the progressbar to quickly view different sections. So far concensus seems to be that normal trainers are fine.

  • I did the first one of these marathons a couple of years ago and found it enjoyable. I've run quite a few marathons and did an okay time in Portsmouth - it is reasonably flat, and mixed terrain adds some interest; I live 'up north' so lots of our off road marathons are proper hilly! Can't say i felt like I was lost at any point. I ran in road trainers not trails trainers Sibo as a reasonably bit of tarmac involved when I ran it. Only real problem I had when I ran it was how cold it was! But, a brill way to keep the training going up to Xmas debauchery! Think I might do it again this year!

  • Chris, what did you wear (legs/top/hat/gloves?) such that it was still cold? Do you remember how cold it was e.g. 3°C?

  • Can't remember how cold, I wore legings, long sleeve top and running vest, and gloves. It's a cold time of year to be outside at all! I remember dumping my gloves with my girlfriend half way around and regretting it a few miles down the road!

  • mmmmm- i'll probably go with the multi-layer option.I'll be plodding slowly so I'll probably need hi-viz stuff too!!

  • Nidgey, how did you do in your half? I'm having the same dilemma as you. I was not pleased with my Edinburgh time - was hoping for near 4.45 and was nearer 5.30 - I would like to improve on it before 2012 is over. I'm not worried about the terrain, but there does look to be a few short sharp climbs on it http://connect.garmin.com/activity/127166182. Would those who've run it agree (bearing in mind my experience is Edinburgh!) or does it not feel too hilly actually?

  • This was my first marathon last year, I have since completed a marathon a month and will end up doing this one again on the 23rd. This is flat course but open to the elements with some trail running and a couple of beaches thrown in for good measure. There is a lot of support along the promenade at the begining and then when you reach Hayling Island and at the end of the Billy Line. Being so close to Christmas I am sure there will be festive cheer everywhere. Its a going to be chilly, but leggings and long sleeve Under Armour or the like should suffice. I often run this route as part of my training and never get bored. Keep an eye out for the tape markers and you shouldnt go far wrong. Was voted in runners worlds top ten, definately concur. 

  • I'm in and looking forward to it! Having just sat out the Liverpool marathon due to injury I'm really hoping to recover properly and be fit in time for a pre Christmas run. For those of you still considering whether to enter...Get your name down!!!
  • I'm in. 

    Looks like it'll sell out as only 170 places left.

  • I'm in. I'm looking forward to it, it will be my 14th marathon of 2012.

  • SSQ, me too, hopefully will meet you at this one.

  • defo.  Is anyone else running Portsmouth as their 12in12in2012?

  • although was tempted to run it SSQ but i'm not going to, i'm going to come along and support all you 12 in 12'ers ( dont want to steal your thunderimage ) and hopefully we can  celebrate your epic year of running so many marathons 

    I'll be happy to shout for others on here, hopefully nearer the time we can perhaps arrange to have a meet up before the race and if people give me race numbers with their names i'll shout you on the way round, need a few people to hollow at to take my mind of not running itimage 

  • @3medals - That's great your coming along.  I might be in fancy dress.

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