Well, well, well, where do I start with this one.
I wanted to do this one in 2016 but faffed around far too much and by the time I was ready to sign up it’d sold out. So as soon as this one opened I jumped in and signed up.
I (stupidly) left actually booking accom until March seeing as the hotels were very expensive and the decently priced Airbnb’s were all out of town. I stayed in the same hostel (yes a hostel), but it was £35, right opposite the pier and a 5min walk from the finish – boom!.
I did contemplate going on Friday evening due to the Southern strike but after getting things ready at home it was a bit late so i deceived to try and get a good nights sleep and make an early start on the Saturday.
I swear that I hadn’t been out of Brighton Station for more than 2minutes before I spotted someone I knew – it was #UKRunChat legend Colin and brother Keith.
It was a the first time we’d met and stood outside for 20mins chatting all things running and what their plans.
Next it was on to check in to my place then meet up with Darren to collect our numbers.
This was about 11am and we literally walked up, showed ID’s and were back out within 2 minutes, so much better than I expect and better than what it was later in the day.
Well, we had to fill up our spare time with something so we decided to sit on the beach and treat ourselves to a couple of shandies. Darren gave me a good telling off for DNF’ing last week, plans for the race, what I need to do for Berlin and several other things I can’t possibly mention in my blog.
Then we went on the hunt for a healthy carb-rich lunch at The Breakfast Club as I’d promised Darren we’d go there. We also had a visit from Lee Kemp (or one of his clones as he seems to literally be everywhere at the same time) and throughly enjoyed a good lunch and natter, so good I started to feel like a nap was in order.
After our hearty lunch i went back to my place and got my kit ready and prepared all my bags to take with me to the start, took a 30min nap and went over to Sainsbury’s to buy some instant porridge, bananas and bottles of water. I was trying my best to keep chilled out and not waste energy, I decided to take a walk along the pier and chill.
It was time to head up the road to meet some other ukrunchat peeps for a carb load session. I went for my traditional Spaghetti Bolognese. Why are Italian restaurateurs all really aggressive in Brighton? Second time now, the first time with Jon and Melissa before Brighton Half we got practically kicked out at 8 because they had another booking – food was half decent at least.
Headed back to the café in my place and treated myself to a cuppa and a nice piece of cake – just to make sure I was fully carbed up (must remember I am only doing the 10k not the marathon) #ukcakechat
I got back to my room about half 8, enough time to have a final sort out, check I had everything and get an early night. I got back to my room to discover two guys who were doing the marathon already asleep and a tiny Italian stripped down to his boxers reading a magazine in front of the window, “errrm, nice evening” I didn’t know what to say but didn’t want to be rude either.
The little Italian chirped up a conversation and asked where the hot girls and sandy beaches were for tomorrow. I didn’t know how to break it to him but he’d clearly never been to Brighton before.
Alarm went off at 6am, lucky being in a room full of runners (bar one little Italian), that everyone was already awake and getting ready at the same time. I got my kit on, packed my backpack and headed downstairs to prepare my instant porridge and have a strong coffee.
It was nice again to meet and chat with other runners in the café and share some conversation to ease any nerves. I did have one issue, I had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t doing the Full, and I kind of wish I was. I was getting all caught up in the hype and instead of having to calm myself down because of nerves, I had to calm my excitement as I was getting a bit giddy.
It was another gorgeous day outside and it was already warm enough for tee and shorts at 7am. The walk to Preston Park took around 20-25mins and there was just runners everywhere.
I met up with Paul Addicot near to the park and we had a nice chat & wished each other luck before he ran off to find his bag drop.
I chose a spot in the middle of nowhere to prepare myself, put my top on, Garmin finding satellites, putting anti-chafe stuff where anti-chafe stuff needs to go and nomming a banana – I don’t know why we eat banana’s either, it’s just what we do pre race.
I went to the urinals to do what needed to be done and went to drop my teenie-tiny bag in the bag drop, which was effortless!
I met with Soo from the Windmilers (remember the flasher from Brighton Half?) and walked on down to the starting corrals. I waited at the corral to see if Darren came through but with 4mins to spare I had to go, only to find that Darren had been waiting for me further down – fist bump happened and off I went.
I’d put my number on using event clips and during a little jog to the back of the corral found I’d put them right over my nipples – no, no and no. A swift move of the number and the race kicked off on time. I waited a bit to one side to let some quicker runners through before starting myself.
My Goals for this race (order of priority):
- PB (yes I know but my PB is from May ’16, time to smash it)
- <1.27 (ie more than 30 second PB)
- Winning the race (I didn’t really have a third target)
I started off nice and easy, and glanced at my watch after two mins just to check I hadn’t gone off mad – Pace = 13??? If you remember last week I was going to try running in KM’s (run first 2km, walk 1min, run to next KM, walk 1min, until 8km then run to finish). My watch had somehow flicked back to Miles – nightmare! But fortunately was still giving me KM splits, so was a bit over the place but it kind of worked with the splits popping up.
The course was nice, nothing amazing, mostly because I’m usually in my own little world so don’t tend to look around and take in the sights when I’m trying really hard.
Once all the field had sorted itself out, I found myself going toe-to-toe with Batgirl and a lady in front who we were overtaking each other for the first 5k. My watch ticked over 5k about .1 before the marker, on the 5k marker I was bang on for 1.27.00, almost to the second – I thought it would be tough to keep that up through the second half but I’d give it my best shot.
I thought I’d seen the turning point about half a dozen times heading out away from the finish, I knew it would be just past 7km but the signs were small and easy to miss. Once I got there I wanted to try and run the whole way back, didn’t quite manage it but once I got past the i360 I started running again and the crowd pretty much carried me to the finish – I couldn’t walk in front of these people shouting for me all the way in.
I saw the 26mile marker (same finish as Marathon) and consciously began to pick up my knees, glance at the watch and I had 2minutes to get home. Once the finish was firmly in sight, I went for it – big time. It was like the beginning of Star Trek with everything turning into a blur, people were shouting go on and I was doing the same in my head, telling the voice that was saying “you wont get to the finish like this, walk a bit” to shut the hell up and all of a sudden I let it out “go’arrrrrrrn, go’arrrrrrrn, aaaagghhhhh”. I’ve never done that before, I think I probably scared a fair few spectators, photographers and seagulls – the finish pics are going to be hilarious!.
Over the line, stop watch, look at time, hang my head over a barrier, commence simultaneous near vomiting and crying. I couldn’t believe I’d done it, I’d nearly killed my self doing it, but I’d ruddy damned well done it! I’ve never been emotional after a race, but I guess after having a horror at Wimbledon the week before, I’d come full circle – from DNF to PB, what a difference a week makes eh? I could have quite happily have stayed hung over the barrier but got moved down and tentatively approached by one of the medics – I’d really pushed but I was ok, just a tad short of breath.
I got my medal round my neck, then plastic bag, 330ml bottle of water (nowhere near enough, even though there were water fountains around the event village, great idea but bigger bottles needed), Weetabix horrendous protein mushed up thing, cracker biscuits, protein bar and post race selfies.
I also went to pick up a tee – ordered XL and was told they didn’t have any – not worry I’ll get Medium and give it to my dad – none of those either, they only had XS left!! The only person I know who fits and XS is Helen Bly. I mean come on, how catastrophically wrong did the ordering go? I was pretty miffed by that and hence my tweet yesterday with me trying to squeeze myself into it.
I tried to do an Instagram Story after the finish (see video below), but I was a bit choked up so I didn’t post it and waited until I was sat down on a deck chair on the beach to do a little video. I was joined by Michelle, Team Panda member who’d just done her first 10k with a beer in her hand – she even offered me a sip which I gladly accepted and we had a lovely chat.
Warning, do not sit on a deck chair on a pebble beach after running a 10k – you either cannot get up again afterwards – I did send a SOS via IG story but no one came.
I dragged myself up and waddled back towards the 14mile point at the marathon to catch up with the ukrunchat/team katzenjammer cheer point made up of Baz, Clare, Jen and Kaya.
On the way I bumped into Jacqui, Chris’s wife who drove us both to Silverstone for the Half there a few weeks ago. We walked up to the cheer point and had a tap on the shoulder from Matt Bodkin who had Becca (Redfacedrunner) and Rebecca Louise from IG with him.
The tracker app was brilliant, made it so much easier to know where people were and when to look out for them. I ran between the 14mile point and 24 miles the opposite side of the Lawns, but the app obviously had a bit of a lag so missed Alison, Lee, Chris and Lenny coming through 24mile.
We did spot JK thanks to his very Pink socks, Darren on the second attempt and Harriet who came over for a chat. We walked over to the other side to cheer, hand out jelly babies and Jen showed off her signage skills. We were joined by the lovely Jemma after we had spotted each other and shouted at least a dozen times on the 10k course. Jemma was keeping an eye out for Mr.Rowberry.
After forcing people to eat Jelly babies and Darren has come through we took the long walk back to the town. I headed back to my place to pick up my bag, get changed and have a 7up and a little something to eat, before heading to the pub for celebratory drinks and Team Photo.
Another Shandy and time to head back to London and civilisation. The station was crammed, it was like the Waterloo & City line train at 8.05 on a Monday morning but on a grander scale – literally it was hard to move through the crowd.
We hustled ourselves onto a platform only to find the train was rammed – I know Southern have their own problems but they could’ve put more trains on – it was obviously going to be busy.
So, instead, myself, Jen and Darren took the Gatwick train which was perfectly empty and we had a blast. However then we got stuck at Gatwick literally hopping from this platform to that platform as all the trains coming through (even non-Brighton ones) were as equally rammed. In the end we took the Gatwick express and I got home about 10, showered lathered myself in AfterSun and collapsed on my bed for the night.
In highlight – one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time, I love Brighton and the crew in town was awesome. The weather made it really enjoyable and I’ve come away with a cracking Garmin tan. I loved supporting the marathon, I haven’t been to support one in a few years and I loved every bit of it.
Would I do it again – the 10k probably, but wouldn’t be in a great rush, the organisation wasn’t too bad as long as you were well organised yourself. The full marathon, I probably won’t do next year. Too many organisational errors from the organisers means it drops off my list – plus I am hoping that Dad and I get London entry next year (either Ballot or Club entry) to run it together. I just read some of the reviews on RaceCheck (https://www.racecheck.com/races/brighton-marathon) and they need to take a serious look at themselves – they were caught out by the weather and they cant help that, but they should have contingency planning in place.
Ending on a happier note: A special well done to all those who raced this weekend, Brighton, Paris, Grand Union and anywhere else. As I said to lots of people, PB’s didn’t matter this weekend, just finishing was a huge achievement!
Next Race: RunHackney Half Marathon (30th April)