Brighton Marathon - 6 April 2014
I wrote this in 2014 and have left the text exactly the same; I think it's fair to say I'm at a different level now!
I’d been planning to run the Brighton Marathon for almost a year. I’d never run one before, but with a Half PB of 1.21 I really wanted to go for sub 3 hours and retire from marathon running. Unsurprisingly it did not turn out like that!
Training had been going well and I posted two 1.25 times at Watford and Berko halves at the same time as increasing my mileage particularly on long Sunday runs (including a delightful 21 miles along the Danube whilst away in Bratislava). Unfortunately on 5 March almost exactly a month until the marathon I felt a huge pain on top of my left foot during an easy run and that was the end of me training for 11 days. I knew pretty much straight away that was the end of the sub 3 hour dream but was determined to finish the marathon.
I had to rest for two weeks meaning I missed the MK Half and then a Sunday which was supposed to be my longest run, I knew if I was going to complete the marathon stamina was going to be a problem. On the week 17/3 I managed to gradually get back into training running 5k on Monday, 10k Tuesday and 20k Thursday but all very slowly. I was then thrilled to get through the 20 mile Hyde Park Marathon Prep run on 23/3 in 2 hr 28 min, I felt good at the end and suddenly I felt like I had a good shot at not only finishing the marathon but running under 3.05 to get ‘good for age’ and qualify for London next year. I decided to take the final 2 weeks very easily indeed and just did a slow 20k last Saturday.
With recent halves of under 1.30 I was invited to start with the ‘Elite’ runners which was an absolute delight, with only around 500 of us at a completely different venue in Withdean Park it made for an almost relaxed pre-race build up! The weather was also very kind to us after forecasts of heavy rain and strong winds it was pretty dry and only a small amount of wind. Finally after months of training we were off at 9.15, I’d planned to take the hilly first half pretty easy and did just that, the crowds were great through central Brighton and I knew they would roar us home when we came back into the city centre later on. I was finding everything quite straight forward and crossed halfway after 1.31, all was going to plan.
The second half of the race headed west and down Hove high street where my brilliant family and friends were ready to cheer me on, the first time I passed them just past 14 miles I was feeling good and easily managed a smile, unfortunately that was the last smile I managed for almost 2 hours! As the miles went on my body struggled more and more and as I passed 16 miles I knew that the last 10 would be a huge test.
The final 5 mile push back to the pier to finish were incredibly hard, but my great support crew and the people of Brighton roared me on, my pace slowed to 5.58 for the 41st KM, but that didn’t matter, all I cared about was finishing. I was just determined to keep putting one foot in front of the other and make it to the end. The final 100m were still a huge effort but the crowd was superb and got me home, I really recommend anyone planning a marathon to firstly think long and hard about what they are doing, but secondly to get a vest with your name on, the help to me was massive.
I crossed the line after 3 hours 28 minutes and 58 seconds, nowhere near my original dream but I was hugely proud to get through and complete my first marathon. The event was brilliantly managed with plenty of water, an excellent smart phone app for supporter tracking and a really excellent course. If you are going to run a marathon and can’t get a place at London I absolutely recommend Brighton.
Two days later I’m still struggling to walk, but I look forward to the Half on MK Marathon day.
I want to thank my family and friends for coming down to Brighton to support me; I really couldn’t have done it without you.