With its backdrop of sun sea and sand, it’s bustling town and its reputation as the one of the fastest course in the country its easy to see over 20000 Runners flock to the Seaside resort of Brighton to take part in the 10th anniversary of the running festival there.
Callie Wareham, Alison Batchelor and Briony Andrew took on the 10k whilst 11 Roadrunners took on the full marathon, one of them having run this event since it’s inaugural running in 2010.
“I had a special number and everything” said Steve Hickman
Special indeed, he was one of only 102 that have participated in all of them. Phil Mannall returned for his first marathon for a little while despite nursing an IT injury. Simon Weeks and Sam Grist returned for the second year in a row whilst besties Jane Andrew and Claire Howard accompanied Janes daughter Louise Clark on her 26.2 mile journey. They weren’t the only family connections making the journey over to West Sussex. Taking on this epic distance for the first time were cousins Gary & Robbie McFarlane, raising money for the Wight Brainy Bunch whilst Sarah Morris was accompanied on her debut by her dad, and long time runner Steve on her first.
9am and the 10k runners were off. Shooting down from the start at Preston Park, they did a circuit of The Gran Parade, passing St Peters Church before returning to pass the iconic Royal Pavilion to emerge opposite the equally famous Pier. They turned left for an out and back section along Kingsway before returning to pass the pier and head to the finishing arch on Madeira Drive.
Briony was first of the girls home in a cracking 52 minutes. Callie Wareham was just 3 minutes behind her and Alison Batchelor just 90 seconds later
“I really enjoyed that” Ali tells me “it was great to finish and then cheer on the marathoners”
45 minutes later and the marathoners were off. Starting also at a Preston Park, the course snakes its way through the city, before heading out to Ovingdean. The runners then made their way back towards the pier knowing that the next time they see it, they’ll be at mile 26.
Continuing along the seafront they reach the halfway point before throwing a right turn into Hove. After about 4 miles they emerge back onto the seafront and out to the dreaded power station at Southwick.
From there the welcome sight of Hove lawns take the runners back along the Kingsway with the mirage of the never approaching Pier (and the finish line) dangling in front of them like a carrot.
The conditions were perfect as they made their way around the course. They all smashed their way around the first half of the distance, passing the pier, knowing that the next time they see it, they’ll be at mile 26.
Phil Mannall was the first roadrunner back in a fantastic 3hrs 41 minutes,
“I ran a good pace in the first half, but my niggly IT band started playing up. It was never going to be pretty, but I got round”
Next in was Simon, taking 3 minutes off his Pb.
“I really enjoyed that” he tells me “Ithink it helped having run it the previous year. The last 10k was tough with the headwind. Still, I am pleased to get a PB… I’m heading in the right direction”
Not too far behind was 10/10 runner Steve, pulling out a corking time having claimed he was going to take it easy due to a cold.
“I really pleased with that” he beams later “I got a special medal and T shirt for doing all 10. That’s marathon 156 done”
First back for the girls was Louise, having run the race in memory of her dad Darren. She also played a blinder taking 24 off her Pb.
“That was definitely my last marathon” she says later on Facebook. But as any marathoner will know, we all say that….. so Louise…. we’ll see!
Mum Jane and Claire crossed the line on Madeira Drive next having run the whole way together with their usual smiles and positivity.
Sam graced the finishing arch next having fought his demons and won.
“I had an idea that I wouldn’t be able to finish, but what you can push yourself to do is scary. I’m so pleased with my result considering”
The MacFarlanes dug deep to finish together, showing real grit and determination to get the job done.
“The last few miles were hell” Gary exclaimed “I wouldn’t have made it without Robbie”
Last but by no means least were Sarah and her Dad. Having struggled with knee pain in the second half, it was hard going. But she was rewarded at the end by crossing the line with her dad. What a beautiful, emotional experience to share.
Briony Andrew – 52.26
Callie Wareham – 55.38
Alison Batchelor – 57.02
Phil Mannall – 3.41.35
Simon Weeks – 4.08.40
Stephen Hickman – 4.11.53
Louise Clark – 4.35.20
Jane Andrew – 4.41.49
Claire Howard – 4.41.49
Sam Grist – 5.17.35
Gary McFarlane – 5.23.55
Robbie McFarlane – 5.23.56
Steve Morris – 5.28.40
Sarah Morris – 5.28.40