On the 15th of April 2018 over 12000 runners took part in the Brighton Marathon, making it the second largest marathon in the UK.
The race weekend starts on the Friday, with the opening of the race expo.
However myself and Mark Morris didn’t arrive until around lunch time on the Saturday.
This had the feeling of a very large occasion ! With lots of running related retail shops, along with loads of food outlets. There was also a large stage and a huge screen with lots of entertainment.
We sat in deckchairs and watched for a while, and the first person on stage was an elite lady runner, the first thing she said made quite an impact on me :-) she said ‘whatever pain you can feel right now is not real ! Just forget it, you’ll be fine tomorrow’ something that was proved correct the following morning !
We also collected our race packs and t shirts at the expo.
The following morning I caught a taxi to Preston Park where the race starts. I was totally blown away with the scale of the event ! By far the largest thing I’ve ever been part of.
Baggage drop off was very well organised, with individual lanes for your respective numbers. Bags were placed in lorry trailers and then taken to the finish.
I have never seen so many toilets ! There was a large fenced off area for men’s urinals which speeded things up immensely, one thing that did make me smile was the netting used to fence the urinal area off, was transparent :-)
There were 5 starting pens for different predicted finish times, but the elite runners started out on the road, and took a slightly different route for the first mile or so.
Me and Mark were in the ‘pink’ pen and took around 25 mins to reach the start line.
Then it was time to start what we’d spent the last 4 months training for !
As I crossed the start line it was probably the first time I’d relaxed in days :-) I’d made it without illness or (major) injury .....
Now it was time to concentrate on the running bit, the first mile is a lap around Preston Park with quite a steep hill. Then we the course wanders through the town past the royal pavilion to the sea front. Up until this point the entire course had been lined with spectators 5 deep ! But once we hit the sea front they increased to around 10 deep :-) The course turns left at the pier and then follows the cliff road out of Brighton. There are a few hills in the first half, but when you reach mile 11 it’s all downhill back into Brighton. The second half of the course is very flat and the last 3 miles are along the promenade. The support around the entire course was breathtaking !
The water stations were very well organised, with cups of water, bottles of water, cups of sports drink, jells and jelly baby’s.
There were also many toilets on route, and I never saw a large queue at any of them.
Now I know many many people have said this in the past but, 26.2 miles is a *^#g long way :-) I really started to feel it at around mile 22 but at that point the end was (literally) in sight ... I got slower but was determined not to stop !! So on I went. My initial goals for the marathon was to finish it ! And second to try and get a sub 5 hrs ... I did both with a 4:51 finish time. So I can’t be disappointed.... but I know I can do better, so it won’t be my last :-) I was also very happy to see Mark dip under the 5 hr mark with a 4:59... we ran together for the first 14 - 15 miles ...
One funny thing that happened on the finish straight, which incidentally is the famous Madeira Drive, was as I rounded a corner I could actually see the finish line ! So I sped up for a strong finish only to discover the ‘F I’ letters I could see wasn’t actually the FINISH LINE ! It was in fact a FISH n CHIP van :-D quite ironic really .....
To sum up, awesome race, awesome support, awesome venue ... I will return ! But for now, ‘been there done that, got the t shirt AND tattoo’ :-)