Brighton Half Marathon saw a record number of runners hit the Seafront for the 26th annual event. Some 9,000 competitors towed the start line this year! 
Not quite as many as the celebratory 25th anniversary of last year, but still a huge turn out!

This year myself and Sunday decided to catch the last bus to The Steine before road closures. We had some time to chill and have a coffee at Red Roaster in St James Street before walking down to bag drop by Dukes Mound. 

The crowds are already moving slowly to their designated bag tents and as I am a lower number I can drop my bag quickly and make a move back down to the start in the other direction. 

I wish sunday the best as he has much further to wait for the bag drop at the top end. 

After making my way through the crowds to the starting pens, which seems an endless mission. I go past the purple, yellow, catch ultra running friend Ian Wingett with his family and fight my way across to say a hello and good luck to him....

Always good to bump into local faces. 

I finally make it to the red pen for 1:20-1:29 time frame, like last year and enjoy the chatter and conversations around me. I hear my name being shouted out and pleased to see Mark, Matt and Lee nearby. 
Mark is a pacer again for the 1:30 time so that can be my marker, just like last year was. 

I am really not sure where my fitness is at and especially on road, so will just pace myself the first half and try to pick it up for a negative split... if possible?!

By 9:00 and the count down to the start, all the runners around me are excited with anticipation and to sprint off. On the go and running to the cheering crowds from both sides, coloured confetti fills the air around us as we pass the Brighton Wheel and Pier.

The route turns down The Steine and passes the Pavillion. I try to follow my own comfortable pace rather than be sidetracked from others and get caught in their rhythm.

I keep an eye on my pace and try to keep it around 7:20min/mile until feeling ok to speed it up some. I just run on how I feel and to see where my fitness is right now. I have not been able to train as much road and always take to the Trails usually instead...

After three miles into the race, I spot Mark and then Lucy,  a big grin, supporting and cheering from the roadside at Sussex Square. 

After the Marina and the switch back along the seafront I see familiar faces approaching as I pass. I shout out to friends and spot Elliot from work. He is training for his second Marathon this year. We high five each other as we pass. 

At the water station by Dukes Mound I have a few sips before disposing of the bottle. Back along to the roaring crowds at the Pier and the half way point, before picking up pace to the West Pier and Hove. 

I see Ian, Jen, Jim, Tina and Steve marshalling and supporting the runners along this leg. Always a boost and great to see them doing a fantastic job for everyone! 

By nine miles and at Hove Lagoon, reaching the bend and back onto the promenade it is the final home stretch to the Pier!

I spot the 1:30 Pacers and see Mark. I shout out to him as I approach and hear him call back to me to keep it up...

I feel I can pick up my pace a little harder and manage to sprint it for the next few miles, passing King Alfred's then overtaking other runners right until the West Pier. 

I have been hitting 6:15/6:25min/mile and trying so hard to keep up a negative split...

I feel my breathing getting faster and more rapid, my body heats up. The road is starting to feel tiresome and too tough. It's very hard to maintain the speed and I try my best but my pace starts to drop...

The support and cheering from the roadside is the only thing distracting me from the discomfort and my legs screaming at me! 

Once at the Pier it is the last 200 metres and the finishing clock is in sight. It gets nearer and clearer and soon enough at last I pass under and catch a glimpse of 1:27....

It looks to be very similar to last year!?..

I feel so winded and relieved to have finished. That was so difficult towards the end and too fast for my liking!

After I catch up with fellow runner Lesley and collect my medal I get the text result through and shocked to see I did exactly spot on the same time as last year! To the second! 

1:27:29 in 268th position.

Not too shabby and pleased that my fitness hasn't dropped for racing road. I haven't exactly been training road and only just been getting my mileage back up again after a winter break.

Well deserved Bloody Mary followed by a big burger with all the trimmings at our favourite post race spot Al
Campo Lounge! 

Ultra Luke

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