On 10th April 2022, I lined up with thousands of runners to take part in the Brighton Marathon. This was the 6th time I have taken part in Brighton Marathon Weekend, the 2nd time as a pacer. I am pleased to have run my 102nd marathon, or longer, for the 100 marathon club. This is also the 34th marathon I have paced and the 95th time as an official pacer. It doesn’t matter how many times I pace. I always meet so many amazing people, and I’m glad to help them achieve their goals. Running with others to achieve their goals is what I enjoy about marathons.
The Brighton Marathon Weekend requires participants to pick up numbers from the expo. Brighton is a lovely place to visit, but accommodation over Marathon weekend has gotten ridiculous. It never used to be that bad, then it was OK if you booked ahead, but now I never seem to look early enough. I was going to get the train just for the expo, but we decided to make it a beach day for the family as it’s only around an hour drive for us. So I ran my local parkrun with my boy, and we drove straight to Brighton.
The expo is now set on the beach, so on a nice day, it is lovely. The queues are also so much better than in the previous venue. I collected my bib so easily in around a minute. I did hear that later on Saturday the queue was really bad. So I guess as always, don’t leave it too late if you want to avoid the queues. I didn’t stop to look around the expo as I have everything I need, so we went for a play on the beach and fish and chips. My kids spent a small fortune in the amusements, but they had fun, and we saved on not booking accommodation.
After a few hours at the beach, it was time to go. I laid my kit out the night before, including my adidas Bostons, to make sure I was ready for an early start. My wife gave me a lift in the morning, which I’m really grateful for.
I left at 07:30 to be in the race village for 08:30, which really isn’t bad. I met the rest of the pacers as we got ready for a 09:45 race start.
We had 3 pacers for the 4 hour group. We were down to be starting at the front of yellow, but the 4 hour is on the cusp of two groups.
When we arrived by the start there was a huge group from blue who were expecting a 4 hour pacer, and some said they were told we would be in there. We quickly agreed I would start in the blue wave, with Pete and Daniel starting in yellow. I think this was ideal to support runners in both groups. It would be ideal to have an extra pacer so there could be 2 in both waves, just in case.
It was fantastic to have such a big group of runners. I started off by giving a small talk at the start. Encouraging and trying to ease race day nerves. I use this as an opportunity to explain my pacing strategy and let everyone know what to expect from the course. It then leads nicely for people to ask questions.
It was an incredible run. The weather was perfect, it was warm, maybe a little bit too warm for some, but there was a breeze and plenty of water stations. You start with a lap around Preston Park, which is an incline followed by a nice down. Spending a few miles to reach the seafront I intentionally used the momentum to gain a little bit of time. I was mindful of the turn error last year, so I got us a minute ahead, just to be sure, which worked out great.
I was impressed with the number of runners that stayed with me and it was a great big talkative group. We got to mile 10 in no time. I always say the miles fly by when you are having fun. We saw a lot of pacers from different groups as we passed. I enjoyed miles 10 to 14 which is along the seafront. At half way it was still so busy with most of my group still with me.
Around mile 20 is the worst section of the course. It’s not that bad, but I saw a few runners collapse or having medical support. I lost a few from my group which I always hate. But in the final 10k I picked up a lot of others to join the #Funbus providing that bit of motivation needed to get them going.
The final 3 miles is always the best with such great crowd support. You can see the pier the whole way, which you know is the finish. It’s easy to get carried away but the finish is further than it seems. I spent the whole time shouting at runners to stick with me and from mile 25 trying to get them to push on.
I love the finish and am so happy to get in with a time of 3:59:34. I cannot help myself but speed up at the finish encouraging everyone to get ahead of me. Pete and Daniel also turned up whilst I was in the finish chatting to runners. So many PB, loads of first time sub 4 runners. It was a great day.
It feels like you walk forever to get out of the race village, but it’s not bad when you have a cold can of erdinger. I hadn’t realised this year they gave out the finishers tee at the expo, but I managed to get one at the info tent. This year the organisation seemed great, and it’s great to see the rest of the pace teams all coming in on time. A top marathon in the UK.
Were you running this weekend? How did you get on?