On Sunday 24th February I was offered the perfect release from my little London bubble of drama and chaos, to take to the streets of my hometown.
I’d said to myself that these 13 miles were going to be used as a training run for The Speed Project so I decided to take it somewhat steady from the off. Granted, I probably wouldn’t have done 8.30’s in a typical “training run”, I was really pleased with how steady and comfortable I felt at that pace.
There were a few variables to my own performance that aren’t directly linked to the race itself, which I think really enhanced the enjoyment on the day.
1 – the weather. We had pretty perfect conditions – 15 degrees, slight breeze.
2 – I took on a Maurten gel at mile 5 and 10, to see how well they sat ahead of TSP (note: they were amazing, I’ll follow up with another blog about these another time)
The route started on Madeira Drive. Anyone who has run the Brighton (full) marathon, can picture the scene of the barriers lining the seaside road and the buzz of energy that is contained in that tunnel-like stream.
That being, said, the first few hundred meters are a wonderful trip alongside the pebbles (not on them, mind you) before taking a sharp right up Eastward as if you were running out of Brighton and towards Seaford.
This is a gentle incline of about 2 miles and the support and cheer for the first whole mile is simply heartwarming and really gives you the “fuck yeah I’ve got this” attitude. I noticed a few people’s enthusiasm start to dwindle as we reached the top of the cliffs, but almost as soon as it had started getting harder, we swung a U-turn at the pitch and putt course and started coming back on ourselves back down the hill.
It is worth noting that the course felt rather narrow up here (mile 2-4) – I was struggling to get around those who had dropped their pace and I really had some “catching up” to do to get to those who were running at the pace I wanted to be at.
Once we were back at Brighton Pier, we headed towards The Level (didn’t get quite that far down though), which was all ever so beautifully flat. The route took us past the Pavilion (THE Brighton landmark if you don’t know) and then we were back on the seafront where the crowds were immense and music was blaring from pretty much every direction.
The support continued ALL the way down the seafront into Hove (still flat all the way), and at mile 10 you hit another U turn and make your way back down the seafront for the last 3 miles.
The finish line is in the same place as the Brighton Marathon finish, and the crowds are DENSE (on a sunny day at least!). Brilliant atmosphere to finish in.
Except for when you reach the top of the cliffs, around mile 2-4, there really was support ALL THE WAY with this half. Absolutely amazing way to be carried through 13 miles. Brightonians are a cheery bunch… and give them a bit of sunshine – they WILL be out.
Bag drop DID feel like a million miles away, and there could have been some better sign posting as to where exactly it was (!), but aside from that, it was all very well organised.
EVERY race I ever run could always do with some more portaloos… and this one didn’t differ. Come on races organisers. We all need to wee and do our nervous poos.
The post-race goodies didn’t disappoint, though it was a bit of a faff trying to carry the items in your hands (no actually goody “bags” as such). We got:
- Water (in a can that deceptively looked like Diet Coke – this disappointed me greatly)
- Yoghurt coated raisins
- Some gels (didn’t pick them up – EEK- sorry, think they were high 5)
- Sweets from Southern Rail to apologise for all the works!
£40. For a larger-scale, well organised half, this is on par.
When will it take place again?
Would I run it again?
YES – 100%. I think that if I actually turned up on time and got myself in the right pen from the off, it would be a decent course to get a PB on.