This is the second in our series of spring marathon blogs and this time we look at Brighton. We have two different views of Brighton – from Jill Collett who has run marathons before and from Paul Murgett who was running his first marathon.
Brighton Jill says: I chose Brighton as I wanted to do a spring marathon and the London one fills me with fear and anxiety due to it being such a big event. I was fortunate due to the time I ran in Dublin 2018 to qualify for an elite place which gave me free entry, accommodation and transportation to the start which was ideal and took a lot of stress away for the day!
As part of the elite team I was well looked after with race briefing the night before followed by a buffet and then transport to the start to an elite tent with refreshments and our own toilets too! Bonus for me!!!
The atmosphere was great and the support along the course fantastic although it was a bit quieter as you got out to the power station at 20/21 miles! At that point the race was going perfectly for me and I was on for 2.45 but the wind was brutal on the run back along the shore front and took a lot out of me, my pace dropped a lot so I was pleased in light of the wind only to be a little way off from my PB in the end (Jill finished in 2:48) and finishing 2nd was a bonus. The race has given me the confidence of the pace that I can run at and I will continue to work hard targeting 2.45 which I will attempt in Valencia in Dec 2019.
Is the marathon experience different for those running their first 26.2 mile event?
Paul Murgett tells us: Running a marathon is always something I have wanted to do but never got round to. It was always something for my future self to worry about. I told myself “I’ve got loads of time to get around to it”. However, with the impending arrival of a baby, it became clear that getting around to it might not be as easy as I thought so I bit the bullet and signed up. I had always wanted to run the London marathon but didn’t get a space through the ballot. Having been to spectate previously at the Brighton marathon and seen how well supported it was plus it’s location meant that signing up was the natural next step.
Having run a half marathon in September I had a relatively good base to begin my marathon training from. My training started properly in January and I successfully managed to up my distance slowly to 17 miles. Unfortunately, at this point I began experiencing some knee problems so had to increasingly cut back on my training so much so that for the 5 weeks prior to the marathon I barely trained at all. The lack of training leading up to the marathon and not hitting my target training distance was a worry but resting was the right thing to do to ensure I would reach the start line.
After weeks of training and build up the marathon weekend was soon upon me. Collecting my race pack the day before was straight forward and having stayed in Brighton overnight I only had a 20-minute walk to the start. Dropping off my bag and using the facilities were straight forward which meant I had a lot of extra time to take in the atmosphere, chat to fellow runners and contemplate what was ahead of me.
The race began in waves and soon enough I was off around the roads of Brighton. Having been warned about a hill in the first mile I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had imagined. The initial miles are around the city centre and the crowds were fantastic, shouting encouragement and cheering at every opportunity. This support continued throughout the course although the crowd does thin at the far ends of the course near the marina and Shoreham power station. Despite this I could have eaten my weight in sweets, oranges and biscuits which were kindly handed out by those who lined the streets.
The first half of the marathon went really well, and I was feeling good. However, as the second half progressed my lack of training in the last few weeks did eventually take its toll on me. With about 4 miles to go the pier and finish line were in sight but my body was no longer willing. However, with some strategic walking through drink stations, slowing my pace and generally battling on I was able to keep going and successfully tick completing a marathon off my list.
Would I run another marathon? At the finish line I said, “Never again”. Two weeks later I’m not so certain of the answer.
So there you have it, two experiences of the same event. Everyone who has completed a marathon has a unique experience, for some the bug hits and they want to do more. For others, once is enough. What are your thoughts!