BRIGHTON HALF MARATHON 16/2/14



A glorious, sunny and fresh Sunday morning in February 2014, marks the 24th year of the Brighton Half Marathon.

Voted most improved race at the 2013 Runners World PB Awards, the race is now one of the most popular races in the national running calendar.

Over the years the race has grown to some 10,000 entrants and is now one of the largest running events in the south east.



Fantastic blue skies


By 8am the crowds of runners arrive at Madeira Drive, thick and fast. The big clear blue skies and break from the severe winds and rain, make today feel like spring. I have chosen a compression long sleeve top and tee over it. My usual compression tights with running shorts over them and a running cap. With the bright sunshine the temperature is set to reach just 9C today. 

Myself, Sunday and Gillian, who is staying in a BB opposite us, make the short stroll of 5 minutes to the seafront. We feel rested but all struggled to wake up today...




This is a big BOSH-RUN event on the calendar as preparation to the full Brighton Marathon in April. We all meet at the Steve Ovett statue and already can spot the numerous blue Bosh logos dotted about. I chat some to my good friend Mani, who has been training up to his first race. he is excited but very nervous. I am happy to see he invested in running gear and is now looking like an actual runner! 

Chatting, training, floods and catching up with the group. John Fitz, Shawn, Nuala, Alma, Gary, Peter, Nigel, Ash, Domingo, Alma, Lesley, Marie, Steve and Tina, Scott, Lucy, Michelle, Nik, Mark and Liz, Stephen and many more...



Steve Ovett has joined the Bosh-Run group

Sunday leaves to check in his bag, I go for a last minute toilet stop, which is a fair walk in the other direction. I spot our girl Kelly, with Lisa and Beth on the way back. Wishing her all the best. She blames me for her love of running and has not fully trained for today, however is very excited and will finish no problems like last year! She has the marathon to run too...

An empty starting pen

7,000 runners on Brighton front

We wish everyone the best of luck and make our way into the coloured starting pens, I find a nice spot in the red pen with Domingo, he moves on further back as feels it a little too ambitious to stay up the front. 

I see another runner I know, Jacob and we chat about racing and how he has improved this last year. I hear someone call my name, it is Bosh runner Richard, who has an injury and decided to spectate instead today. He wishes me good luck. 


9:00 START
Eagerly waiting among all the red number runners at the front of the start line. Last minute competitors join the small crowd. Within minutes the pen becomes full and I can gauge how big this event has now become. 

Shuffling along the start line heading towards the wheel, we break into a sprinting pace over the roundabout and passing the Pavillion. 

Miles 1-4
Best Pace 6:40
I keep up with the front pack runners following the super elites, briefly, before they speed off ahead. I spot Gary sneaking past at a smooth and fast pace. He looks very comfortable. 

Heading around Grand Parade, then back towards the pier before running east, onto Marine Parade heading to the Marina. The turn out of crowds and support is amazing along the front, cheering and clapping us on. Brighton is very colourful this morning in the winter sunshine...

GO!!!


Approaching Sussex Square on the front, through the first water station. I take a few sips to wet my mouth before tossing it aside. I am carrying an UltrAspire bottle with a mixture of coconut water, coffee and Himalayan salts to save for the later stages. 

Keeping up a steady pace I quicken ever so slightly after the first three miles. 

Already the super elite runners are heading back towards the Pier. 

Once close to Roedean, it is a switch back to the way we came, passing the marina again, then all the oncoming runners. I see the huge group growing the closer I get to the Pier. I spot a Bosh tee approaching and see it is Stu, followed by Tristan. Then later further down the road I see Tina, smiling and looking strong. 

Miles 5-9
Best Pace 6:29
Close to the half way point at the pier, the crowds are larger and louder as the clock ticks on by. Feeling strong and keeping my pace in check I change gears slightly for the long Kings Road section. 

As there is no cooking breeze the sun feels rather warm and I begin to think that wearing a compression top was it the best choice today. I am heating up nicely but not too much...

After passing the West Pier, Hove Lawns and the King Alfred Centre, we approach Hove Lagoon. The last turn around point for the final stretch home, to the finish.


Half way point

Miles 10-14
Best Pace 6:08
I see Matt up ahead, keeping a strong pace, wish him well and then approach Mark, aka Robo (love of the treadmill). He is doing well and is in good spirits. The final leg along Hove seafront is dotted with walkers, spectators and support, enjoying the pleasant sunshine. I sip some coconut water and espresso, trying my hardest to push my pace that little bit quicker. 

With just a few miles to go, I can see the West Pier again and the Brighton Pier in the distance. Almost, not too far left to go. I over take a few of the runners flagging, dropping their pace, maybe they pushed too hard at the beginning? 


Almost..... I can see the finish

Close to 6min/mile pace I try with everything I have left in my legs to run hard into the finish. I spot a few more Bosh Run tees approaching from the other side of the road, and thumbs up when passing them. At the Brighton Pier and just .20mile left to go....I can see the clock and finish.... creeping closer I race the last stretch the best I can and as I see the clock in view 1:25.... I already know I am a few minutes slower than last year. Although I have not trained for speed and half marathon, I am quite pleased to still have the stamina and speed as an ultra runner, one year on....

Finally under the finish archway and I receive my medal from Bosh runner Keith, who is volunteering today and then a  goody bag from the support team. 

Exactly two minutes slower this year in 1:26:42

Just shortly after I see speedy Gary, who came in an impressive few minutes before I did, making it a personal best. We chat about the race and then to Mitch from STRIDEUK who is at the massage tent. 

Collecting our bags from the luggage area, we wait for all our other runny buddies to come in and finish...


Sunday coming into the finish


The Medal

A fantastic morning for the Brighton half, the weather was kind to us all today. Great to see so much support out on the route. Lots of personal bests come in from other Bosh runners. 

Mani and Kelly make it in to finish just over 2hrs and 10mins. Mani struggled in places but grateful to complete his first race ready for the marathon. 

Gary the first Bosh runner to finish in a PB of 1:25


Finish Certificate



Happy Sunday finishes in 1:52


All smiles with Gary and Shawn


BOSH RUNNERS


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