Sunday, 12 April 2015

Scraping a marathon PB on the seafront - Brighton Marathon 2015

I set off too fast.  I always set off too fast!

I warmed up with a mile and a bit walk to Preston Park, along part of the marathon route.  It is a while since I've run a BIG city marathon like this.  Preston Park was swarming with runners and a lovely atmosphere.  It was cool and sunny and I had timed it to not have to hang around too long.

I found the 3:30 pacers in my starting pen, somewhere close to the start line.  Brighton has a separate elite start, so it is possible to get away quickly, despite the narrow first section around the perimeter of Preston Park.  The pacers weren't hanging about, setting off a bit quicker than I was expecting and stupidly I kept up with them.  An anticlockwise mile loop later, we passed the start line again, this time on the main road towards the sea front.  There were still many runners queuing to cross the start line!

I settled into a steady, easy pace, keeping the pacers in sight.  We looped around Brighton for a few miles and I spotted some Trent Park supporters, especially John with his megaphone!  Then past Claire and Arthur on The Levels, before looping back past them again.  I saw them but they didn't see me this time.  Through Kemp Town and out onto the seafront, heading East.  This was a lovely section, nice and relaxed running.  But I was going too fast, now ahead of the 3:30 pacers.

I had a chance to see the elite men heading back towards Brighton some way before I turned inland to Ovingdean, round a traffic cone and back the way I'd come.  The atmosphere was fantastic along here with runners now on both sides of the road.  Running back into Brighton was a bit emotional as I passed half way somewhere near the pier.  But now I could feel that I had gone off a little fast.  1:42 was a quick first half by my usual standards and I wouldn't match that in the second!

Another inland section took me away from the seafront, but with amazing crowds all the way along and so many runners.  This was another out and back section and I know I was flagging on the return leg.  After this section, there was about six miles left and I was suffering.  First, run West to the power station and then head for home.  All I could think about now was maintaining pace to keep on for a PB, but it was slipping away.

Heading back towards the pier I kept having to stop to stretch out cramp and was really wobbling, but I pushed on down onto Madeira Drive for what felt like a long run to the finish line, to scrape a PB in 3:32:31 (28 seconds faster than Jersey last year).

Brighton Marathon Medal

Brighton Marathon number and medal

Here is the route on Strava for my 78th marathon.