Report by Alex Yorke
This around the island route is one of my favourite marathon training runs. I first ran it a year ago with my pals at Baffins fit club and I have done it many times since. This morning however was Kirsty's first time around the island and her longest run to date. So there was a celebration to be had. There are slight variations of the route where you can skip the corners, but today we stuck to the FKT route as much as possible.
We used the free car park at Hilsea Lido and began the run from there. We ran anti-clockwise around the island. There is a good takeaway coffee hut next to the Wakepark at the Lido that sells huge vegan cakes for a post run reward. (always worth noting where you can buy post run rewards from!) The huge blue eye street art at the Lido is also great for a post run selfie!
1. Access to most of Gunwharf is currently closed due to Covid. (unless you are collecting a takeaway) We did ask nicely on the gate if two runners could pass through, but the guard say no. I have included some photos to show where it is barriered off. We were able to access the area near Tesco Express though.
2. Between Long Curtain moat and Clarence Pier...the route is temporarily closed here for Phase 1 construction works of the Southsea Coastal Scheme. We followed the diversion. An interesting fact...(or maybe a slightly dull one)...I actually worked on the pre-construction phase of the Southsea Coastal scheme for a year, so I quite enjoy seeing the progress being made along this stretch of the seafront.
3. Along the Eastern road, a short stretch of the coastal path is closed off with diversion signs to send pedestrians on to the Eastern road path instead. We followed the short diversion. Photo evidence attached.
The conditions today were not too bad for a 4 hour run. 9 degrees, no rain and it was only windy along the seafront. The seafront was also the busiest part pedestrian wise. Buff stayed up over my face and we kept a social distance along there. Tipner Range was the quietest part, as I expected. We saw 1 person and that was 1 person more than I thought we would. It's a great hidden spot with beaches that no-one knows about. The overall route was only muddy in a few places... mainly Tipner Range, along the path near the Harvester on the Eastern road and the "Muddy beach" (as we runners call it) around Eastney Lake was slippery due to the seaweed on the shingle, very boggy, muddy and wet.
If wanting to do this entire loop with Tipner Range and the Muddy Beach included, I would only recommend attempting this at low tide, or you will need to add some route deviations. The Muddy beach around Eastney Lake will not be accessible at high tide. Also it is a bit debatable if it is possible to go around the whole of Tipner Range at high tide without a swim or deep paddle being involved to get past the fence with a gap in it. We could easily go through the gap in the fence today at low tide though. There may also be an optional escape through the bushes that I have used once before as well when it was high tide.
In summary, this was a really enjoyable run today. Great coastal views throughout. We celebrated with a coffee and cake reward at the end.
Our recorded time for this run is not a speedy one. In fact, it is probably a bit rubbish. lol. We could both run it a lot faster if we tried harder. However, we were taking our time today, chatting and enjoying the experience of an all around the island run. We also saw pals from Baffins fit club on route and had a few socially distanced catch up chats...so that of course added on time. Runners like to talk! Plus I've put this down as a "supported" run because we popped to the co-op in the middle for a drinks top up. An iced latte probably wasn't essential, but it tasted so good!
I'm expecting this FKT attempt to be beaten very quickly indeed. lol. Most likely by my very speedy running pal Louise Griffin.