The sixth Brighton Marathon is now the second most popular marathon in the UK after London. 9,420 runners have come from all over the country and Europe to participate in the 'London by the sea' event and join the starting line today.

Selfie Sunday

This year will by my sixth Brighton since the start back in 2010. It's always been a favourite road marathon of mine as it is my home city. 

So much has changed since then as it has grown in popularity. I have made many running friends from Brighton and even further away through my many races across the country and the Bosh Run group on Facebook...

Today is like a runners Christmas in Brighton and the sun is out to shine for us all.

I start my day with the usual pre-race broth (tsp dripping, goose fat, salt, pepper and turmeric) followed by half an avocado and half measure of bulletproof coffee. 

We have friends Helen G and Tanya staying with us the weekend and they even try a small sample of the coffee...

Which to their surprise they enjoy! 

Another white number

I am invited to the elite white section again this year, as my times have been below 3:15 for the past four years. 

I had collected Treymayne's number from the expo for him, so figured it best to stay with the mass starters this year and enjoy the pre-race meet and photos at Preston Park.

I have missed being a part of the masses for the last two years and as I did the SDW50 last week I have no real time in mind for today's race. 

Brighton posse. Tanya, Helen, Sunday and myself

We reach the park and the clock tower just after 8am for the meet up with all the other runners. Trey is patiently waiting and is very understanding that it is all last minute. It was much easier for me to do this for him, as he is not local to Brighton.

Bosh meet. Nick, Sunday and Ash

It's so great to catch up with everyone but time is running out fast and we seem to forget that we best start queuing for the starting corrals...

Runners assemble into the start pens

Interview Jo Pavey

After wishing each other the best we head along to our starting areas. I can sneak into the very front with my elite number, which is the first time I have been in full view of the very starting line. 

The white tape is the only thing in front of all us runners here ...

I am in the front seat for all the photographers and camera crew, then when Jo Pavey is interviewed I am in full view of the camera. 

That should be my five minutes of fame for the Channel 4 highlights then! 

Selfie time at the start

With just a minute to go all the runners around me do the usual twitching, last moment tying laces, stretching and shaking legs. Myself included. It's quite entertaining to witness and I am sure we look like a serious case of OCD on camera! 

9:15 Start

Miles 0-13
Without much warning we are off and sprint ahead to the sounds of cheering and clapping around the park. 

It's amazing how fast the runners get caught up in the excitement first thing, even with the slight incline up Preston Park Avenue. 

I can see on my Garmin even I am pacing way too quickly! 

It is not until we reach London road and meet the other elite runners who came from Withdean (where I would of started) that I can calm my pace and get into a comfortable rhythm...

Once we reach the library then Theatre Royal, I can see the first Bosh supporters, Tina and Steve shouting 'Go Lukey' as we race down to the Old Steine. 

We lap back on ourselves passing the Pavillion and the live band, then head up the level and to Lewes road. 

Joyce shouts out and catches up with me here, she is good but is sporting a knee support and says it is starting to hurt. I hope it holds out for her....

Ovingdean Mile 9

After passing through Kemp Town then heading back along the seafront. Few water stops and 6 miles passed...

The groups even out and we have more room to settle into our stride.

One hour into the Marathon I take a SaltStick capsule.

Once at Ovingdean for the switchback I see Mark aka Robo, not far behind me, then wave to Trey and Scott.

Lucy's Mark is support on the road side here. Further along at 9 miles I can see and hear a group of Bosh supporters and Lee with big smiles...

Just by the roundabout and back along the sea road to the Marina again. I always enjoy this section to see many of the other runners coming towards me.

I am averaging at 6:35-6:50min/mile the moment and feeling strong in the legs still.

I look out for friends and bosh tops approaching me...
Soon enough they come by, then it is like a wave of familiar faces!

Stu, Matt, Dan, Helen E and Nuala, which is taken by complete surprise. Smiles and thumbs up, then Thomas, Marina, Keith and Tristan.

Grinning Sunday weaves out of the big crowd surrounding him and I run to the middle of the road to greet with a high five as we pass. He slaps my hand so hard leaving a sting to remember....

Hove Lagoon Mile 23

After passing Sussex Square and drinking some water, which I have to slow up my pace to drink, as it is big paper cups instead of plastic bottles.

I manage to spot Helen G who is hard to miss in her trademark pink stripey leg warmers, shouting out 'Hey Lukey!'

Once closer to the huge roaring crowds of support and volunteers near the Pier, I spot Kevin calling me, which I later remember should be running!

Passing the camera crew on the roundabout and then reaching halfway by the West Pier.
I see running friend Gary by chance, taking pictures. I spot Toby from work and many other familiar faces.

Miles 13-26.2
Bosh runner Nick is cheering support from the side of the road.

I follow the faster runners into Hove and then turning into Grand Avenue for Church Road. I can hear 'Go on Lukey Boy' being bellowed across the road and see it is Steve with Tina.

They have reached this part of the route so quickly!

Once along Church Road I spot mum and dad taking photos, but only by chance I looked in that direction...

After the very long leg towards Portslade then lap around to head back on ourselves again.

I am trying to keep my pace at 6:45min/mile or less where possible, but some miles are more difficult than others and my body goes in and out of feeling fatigued.

I take another salt capsule and sip on some olive oil around mile 17. Then have a chew on a jelly baby for the sugar lift.

I am not overly needing any fuel yet and just feel the heat from the constant sun and no shade...

 Bosh Supporters

I start to sip water at every next water station. Although this year the paper cups instead of plastic bottles are really slowing my pace down. It is impossible to take much water in unless coming to a walk or stop. 

I wasn't initially looking at a time for this year, but as I am feeling strong still I figured I may as well keep racing to my best. The water cups are adding extra time already...

Slowly the group of runners becomes less and less with more gaps between us. I can see the bright orange pacers for the 3:00 time up ahead and slowly creep up meeting them. I stick with them to Hove lagoon then along the Basin Road towards the Shoreham power station. 

Lots more supporters are dotted along this road than I remember and it is a much needed boost. 

I can feel my legs starting to slow on me...

My average pace has gradually slowed to around 6:50-7:05min/mile and although I know my legs will take me, my body is feeling worn from the heat of the sun. 

The only shade has been from Church Road and some of the park at the start. Although the temperature is around 11-13c with a breeze, the sun is still strong with high UV levels.

The last mile...

I keep my head down and take in the excitement from the crowds to distract my tired body. 

Now heading back east on ourselves and passing the other runners, I see Mark, again, looking strong. Then shortly after Roy and Jason (Sussex Trail Events)

A little more sugar from a jelly baby and a few chocolate covered espresso beans just about lifts my energy after the 22 mile mark, in time for the home stretch back to the Pier! 

I still have to slow for the water cups and now it is when my body is in most need of extra water. So it is a slower pace at every water station...

The 3:00 pacers over take me.

Exactly at 23 miles and giving an almighty roar 'Go Bosher' 'come on Luke' it is the Bosh supporters jumping up and down. Lucy is standing on a step ladder, cheering. I spot Tanya, Rachael, Trefor, John, Annie, Tina, Steve and many more when passing..

It is fantastic to see them and although I may not have shown my enthusiasm as much as liked to, I was very appreciative of how much planning was involved to be at all the right points throughout the race.

They have been brilliant today.

 Determined to get to the finish
(Photo by Gary McKivett)

Once reaching the roaring crowds at the Peace Statue, West Pier, it is the final mile for the finish. 

I start to fade but try as hard as possible to carry my legs that bit quicker to a 6:45min/mile but I can just about struggle to a 7:10min/mile. Other runners look uncomfortable in their stride and some are walking. I still have those stronger runners sprinting passed me...

I am done and ready to finish, I have no power left in me to go any faster. The 50 miler has caught up with me and these last 5 miles have really felt like a mission to get through...

What feels like the longest mile down the Kings Road is clouded with almighty cheering and shouts of my name. 

It is finally the end of my race and it has gone so quickly.... until now. It is still an amazing feeling and I just focus on that clock, but it looks like I am seconds too late to make that special time...

Brighton marathon has never been my fastest road marathon time.

Looking up at the finishing clock I can see 2:59:59 then it tick to 3:00:00. I was so close but not close enough... The clock is 3:00:33 when I reach.

 Medal No6 104th Place in 3:00:32

Finally I have reached the finish and can stop. The sun has made me feel a little sick so I am glad to get some more water after collecting my medal. I pick up the finishing tee-shirt and bag. I tuck into a banana and catch my breath. 

Surprisingly the legs and feet feel good with no cramping or soreness yet. I can still walk comfortable so that is a sign I am conditioned, even after the 50 miles from last weekend.

I am greeted and hugged by the wonderful Nik Bailey who is team leader at the finishing area. It is great to see a friendly face as I missed her at the expo. 

Walking towards the bag collection, I catch up with Joyce. Sadly her knee gave out. Which is a shame, as she has been doing so well of late. Then we see Kevin, he too had an injury in his foot that stopped him today. 

Great running from them both still, and especially after Kevin completed the South Downs last week. 

Nobody likes to be injured and forced to have complete rest, but it can only make us stronger and sadly it comes with being a long distance runner...

I catch up with Trey who made an impressive 3:12 for his first Brighton. We chat to ultra runner David Ross, who amazingly still performed a 2:53 time with damage to his shoulder from a fall at a previous ultra event...

Here comes Helen Gittens

I eventually make my way around the long exit back onto the beach to get changed and have some nibbles until Sunday comes in to the finish. 

The biggest negative of the day has to be the change to paper cups at the water stations, as this really slowed my pace and cost me those extra 33 seconds... easily. I am trying not to worry of the time as I had a great race considering the tough SDW50 of last week. The time really wasn't my goal today, to begin with that is.

Also waiting about 40 minutes to retrieve my drop back from the truck was a painful task, all the white and red numbers on this truck got mixed up and were not in order. Everyone was shouting out their number at once. 

Lack of communication, I am not sure but it really is something that is not ideal to wait for after running all them miles. 

I did feel sorry for other runners who were in discomfort and hot from the sun.

 Sprint finish

I catch up with Bosh runners Dave and Ash when they walk through the exit and later Roy and Julia. 

Sunday makes it in and I manage to make my way back round to meet him as the runners exit onto the beach. He suffered with cramps again and slight ITB discomfort. Not the time he was aiming for but he finished which is what he wanted. I think arriving back from Georgia yesterday afternoon probably meant he was still dehydrated and jet-lagged.

The bling and resting on the floor

We grab a breadless chicken burrito from one of the many gastro food trucks, as just starting to feel the need to refuel. With added cheese, salsa and guacamole, it was so good!

Heading back to watch the other finishers coming in and catching up with Alma and her friends along the way. I thank her for all her help last week and keeping my parents company whilst waiting for me.

Soon enough our good friend Helen Gittens comes into the finish and we have more room and space to see her for the sprint. She is all smiles and feeling good. 

Like me she too is disappointed with the new style and shape medal this year. It doesn't match the last five years which is going to be really difficult to frame with the odd medal out. 

I have not decided if to frame years 2010-2014 and hold off for the new shape just yet. I have already registered for the 2016 marathon so I guess I can wait for another four years to frame those ones...

Spot the odd one out!?

Once back home and re-hydrated then coffee and chocolate, it is time for some dinner. The local pub The Longman does not serve food on Sunday evenings so we settle for fish and chips before they close. 

I was lucky to not suffer any real soreness or pain from the roads today, just an annoying blood blister behind my small toe nail. it is always a good idea to tape up the smaller and longer toes to help prevent any damage. My own fault for not doing so this time...

As usual Brighton has delivered today! 

Fantastic support from everyone and all the volunteers involved to make this one marathon any Brightonian can be very proud of...

We Love Brighton
Ultra Luke

1 comment:

Please add your comments here. I would like to encourage discussion on running, training and nutrition. Luke