Brighton Marathon 2014
Date: 6th April 2014
I love this race it has to be my favourite marathon. It started in 2010 and I have done everyone. Every year they make improvements to it so I was looking forward to this one.
The downside was I have had little chance to train so although I knew I could complete the distance I wasn’t expecting my time to be great. Therefore, no real plan for the race other than set off at a comfortable pace and see what happens.
Last year I had a nightmare with the park and ride and literally arrived at Preston Park with 10 minutes to spare. In fact every year the park and ride has been problematic. This year my parents said they would drop me off. This was great arrived at the park nice and early so plenty of time to relax and mentally prepare.
Weather was great, temperature was just right and only the slightest chance of rain.
After meeting up with my club mate before we all separated of some wanted to get to the start early. I wasn’t that fussed as I had no real plan. With 20 minutes to go I got ready, dropped my bag in the baggage truck and got into my starting pen.
I was in the red start, 4 hours of less. Therefore, decided to stand at the back. With 5 minutes to go it started to rain. But no sooner had it started it stopped. The next thing I knew where we off.
Across the line within 2 minutes of the gun going off. The usual slow first 800m whilst we looped Preston Park, but it soon opened up and I was starting to find that comfortable pace.
I noticed the guy in front of me had “If I’m not doing 9m/m Slap my arse” at this point the average was just over 9 minute miles. I felt comfortable so slotted in behind him and let him worry about the pace so I could relax and just follow.
As we headed past the 5km mark we turned to pass the Pavilion where some of my club mates where going to be. I gave them a wave an continued on, still feeling ok.
We headed into a addition to the course they had added so they could take out a hill later in the course. This was great as I could scan the runners heading in the opposite direction to see if I could spot anyone.
We headed back towards the Pavilion, before heading towards the sea front. I lost my unofficial pacer at this point. However, was happy with the pace and felt comfortable.
This section is a long gradual up hill, but is great. You can see the Elite guys heading back, followed by good club runners and then the other guys in the red start. Saw one of my club mates heading back gave him a shout but he was so focus he didn’t notice. At the top of the him is a flat section with a 180 degree turn at the end. On my way back spotted another club member, to late to shout.
As we headed back into the city centre the gradual uphill turns into a nice downhill. I had that uncomfortable feeling, I needed a wee. I scanned the side of the road looking for a suitable place. Ahead I spotted some portaloos with a big queue so I kept going. Just down the road was some more, no queue, as I approached a door flaw open as someone left so I jumped straight in. Less than 20 seconds in and out result.
Feeling more comfortable I pressed on through the half way point in around 2 hours.
At 14 miles a quick wave to my club mates again, who had moved down from the Pavilion, and pressed on. This section came off the sea front and looped around Hove for 4 miles. It’s a long road and all you can see if a sea of runners going heading and and out.
My pace was being to slow so I pushed it up a little determined not to let it fall apart. As I headed back saw my club mate again gave them a shout and a wave. Back past my club mates again just after 18 miles and my legs where really feeling it.
I decided to keep pressing on and try and get over the stead increase in pain. As the pain increased the pace dropped. The lack of training was now taking its toll. Mentally I was fine, energy wise I was fine, just me legs had other ideas. I grabbed some water at the next station and slowed to a walk for a bit of damage assessment.
My left calf was pulling a bit as was my left groin. I took some long strides to see if I could stretch it out. I couldn’t so started running again. I checked my running form was ok and as far as I could make out is was. Only two things to do at this point, press on as best as you can or drop out.
I checked the watch. Even if I walked all the way from here it would still be under 5 hours. If I ran walked it would be under 4:30 so that was the plan. Run as far as I can, walk to recover a bit and then run again.
I spotted my club mate again, as I looped around back to the sea front. Ok new plan don’t let them catch you, but don’t do any serious damage in the process.
As I head towards mile 24 I was walking and drinking again. I spotted a club mate standing on a bench with a camera. Oh s**t I though going to have to run again now. Gave him a wave and pressed on before stopping to walk again just before some of my other club mates.
Picked up another drink just before the 25 mile mark. Ok I told myself, when you get to mile 25 run and don’t stop until you cross the line. As I reached the mile marker I heard someone shout my name. Not unusual as I am fairly certain there was a couple of guys called James with there names on there shirts at every point on the race. However, this seemed more familiar. My club mate had caught me. Are you ok she asked. I was drinking at the time, nodded (I think), chucked the drink and started to run.
New plan keep running, make sure my club mate keeps running. I kept checking over my shoulder to make sure she wasn’t to far behind. As we entered the last 400m, she pulled along side and picked up the pace, I kept picked it up and pushed it a bit more. Glanced across and she was focused on crossing the line. We crossed the line together.
Actually it was great to have some company for the last mile, even though we never said a word to each other. I sure I would have let the pain take over again and force me to walk. Also, great afterwards, the mutual concern for each other, and the brief chats whilst we collected medals and t-shirts and reclaimed bags, took my mind of the pain in my legs.
A quick dip in the sea eased some pain as we waited for our club mates and my parents to find me.
Not the quickest of times but pleased considering the lack of training. My 5th Brighton Marathon and my 28th overall. Looking forward to 2015 as I am signed up already.