Brighton Marathon was all about banishing my demons and leading up to the race that was all I could think about. The race wasn’t about pace it was just about finishing the 26.2 miles (or the 26.56 miles as it transpired on race day!), and finish it I did; strongly! Endurance wise where I have been cross training swimming and on the bike it really did pay off, the pace of old might not have been there but I was certainly the strongest I have ever been.
Much of the race is just a blur, so a limited race report you’ll be relieved to learn! Knowing the route so well I’d broken it into 6 sections; the town centre, the horrible Ovingdean out and back, the coast road with the 12 mile marker (!) and halfway point, the never-ending out and back at Rottingdean, the dreaded power station and finally the beach huts leading to the finishing straight! As I reached each a new section I mentally ticked it off. The good thing about all the out and backs on the route, and with so many Chippenham Harriers running, I was shouting good wishes much of the way; it certainly brightened my run and passed the miles looking out for everyone.
The atmosphere on those first few miles around the city centre do put a smile on your face. Out in Ovingdean Alex and Simmy made it far more bearable when they both caught up with me, within seconds of each other, and we had a few minutes chat before they powered ahead. Back along the coastal road I was able to shout good wishes to Maxine as she was heading up, I was convinced I’d missed her. As I passed the 12 mile marker I had a wry smile to myself; I was still running and had no thoughts of walking off the course! As I went over the halfway point I could hear those tracking me audibly breathe a sigh of relief that I was still out on the course! Then it was sweaty hug time; Sarah, Heather and Victoria didn’t seem too grateful but I felt I should show my gratitude for their support out on the course! It really made me smile to see the Queen and Prince Philip sitting out at Rottingdean cheering us on; the most realistic face masks ever! Then the final push to the finish line, there and all along the course was the largest and loudest crowd support yet; I heard ‘Libby’ shouted from start to finish and it was emotional for much of the time.
Finally across the finish line and my 6th Brighton Marathon finish, my slowest there, but I’d done it and most importantly I’d beaten those demons of 2017!
Thank you so much everyone for all your messages of support, good luck videos (thank you Kate they really did make me laugh which I am sure was not the intention!) and amazing words of encouragement. It was all quite emotional which I really cannot eloquently put into words, so I will just say thank you they all really did mean so much.
So why am I just 20 seconds off from being globally average! Well here are my race stats:
From a little Googling I found the following interesting stats and if you’ve ever run in Spain you’ll know how true number 3 is!
- The average finishing time globally for 26.2 miles in 2014 was 4hr 21min 21sec – about 40 seconds faster than the average for the period 2009-2013.
- Men’s average finishing time was 4hr 13min 23sec, while women’s was 4h 42min 33sec – 29min 10sec slower.
- The fastest average nation is Spain (3hr 55min 35sec) – though given men tend to finish quicker than women, and Spain has a frankly rather pathetic gender split of 93.59% / 6.41% male / female, that’s hardly surprising.
(Information taken from the following: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2015/apr/21/marathons-by-numbers-running-the-data)
Finally for those with London or another marathon looming here are 10 reasons why running a marathon is crazy…but in a good way!
1. There is no other sport in which the elites are running along with total amateurs.
2. You are one of very, very few marathoners. If you read (or, for that matter, write) running blogs, you can be forgiven for thinking every man, woman and their dog is a marathoner, or training for a marathon, or thinking about training for a marathon. In reality, the statistics are pretty amazing. When you cross that marathon finish line in the UK, you can soak up the realisation that you are one of only 1% of the UK population to achieve the goal of running 26.2 miles.
3. Running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other. When you train for a marathon, you’re learning how to manage time, to make sacrifices for an end goal, to work towards something you may not know or believe you can accomplish. It is a huge goal, which requires a lot of dedication, optimism, hard work and yes, a little bit of misery, to achieve. But there is so much joy to be had, not only in achieving your goal, but in celebrating your milestones along the way.
4. You can enjoy being in the best shape of your life. It’s such an amazing feeling when you start tapering and you realise 8, 10 or 12 miles is no longer a ‘long run’ in your mind!
5. Even if you don’t realise it, you’re inspiring others. Your dedication to achieving your goal can inspire someone to try for something they may not believe they can achieve – whether or not it is running-related. So go ahead and post about your 20 mile training run on social media and wear your medal with pride. You never know who may look to you as a role model.
6. Training for and finishing a marathon is also a long, tiring way of proving to yourself that you are not a quitter, that you don’t back down. It would be so easy to give up along the way – training is tough and takes a lot of time and planning. Even when you slog through that, the race itself is still overwhelming.
7. You are inspiring yourself to take more risks and shoot for the stars, in every area of your life. A goal that may have seemed insurmountable to you was something you achieved, through planning, training, believing in yourself and then just doing it – that translates to just about everything else you want to achieve.
8. Everything tastes amazing after you run 26.2 miles. Especially beer!
9. It is one of the few sports in which you’re not considered over the hill once you hit your late twenties. Not only that, as you get older, you get to move into different age categories and get a crack at placing in your age group all over again.
10. It is worth running the marathon for the unforgettable race-day experience.
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