As I’m sure most of you are aware, the 11th/12th of April was a pretty big weekend in the marathon running calendar. The main events included Paris, Rotterdam and Brighton. After running Manchester last year I decided to sign up for Brighton, mainly because quite a few friends had run it and they really enjoyed it. After London, Brighton is one of the biggest Marathons in the UK and is well known for its great crowds by the sea.
This year my taper went relatively smoothly. Leading up to Manchester last year was a bit of a disaster, running 26.3 miles two weeks before and being ill leading up to the race. I still managed to do well and was happy with my time of 3:28 but I knew this time round as long as I tapered well and changed a few more things I could knock off a fair amount of time. In hindsight I probably should have taken #TrackTuesday a little bit easier and I shouldn’t have walked around and stood up so much on Saturday but overall the taper was good.
On the Saturday I headed to Brighton reasonably early (probably too early) to pick up my race pack and have a look around the expo. Due to Manchester posting race numbers this was the first expo I’ve been to. Due to being early I got my race pack without having to queue and then went and got my name printed on my t-shirt. I also spent some time catching up with Paul from Run247 and Michelle who works at Asics (that I use to work with at Sweatshop). Michelle is never far from a marathon and she was pacing 4:30 on Sunday, which she nailed. I’m thinking about getting involved in pacing at some point, It must be so rewarding. I then grabbed some food and went for a stroll along the seafront and along the pier. It was a bit windy and I was slightly worried that on Sunday this could cause some issues. I ran Bristol Half Marathon a couple of years ago and it was really windy, not fun. I then headed back to the expo as they had lined up speakers to talk about race prep and nutrition etc. Nick Anderson said the race doesn’t start until mile 20. I found this out last year at Manchester! Another of the speakers, and race starter, was Jo Pavey. It was great to hear from Jo. She reiterated how important pacing is and said how she struggled in her first marathon. She went through halfway in 71 minutes and did the second half in 77. Still not bad! After her talk she signed race no.s etc and had a chat with each of us. I get pretty starstruck so just asked where she ran when she lived in London. I need to get to Richmond and Bushy park more often it seems. After the expo I went and got some pasta and then I had a relaxing evening reading Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn (great book!) before getting an early night. I slept reasonably well but woke up at about 2am, I then fell asleep again intermittently before waking up at 7ish. I grabbed some food and walked to the race village. I bumped into Sarah @littlerunnergal and Scott @ScottBrealey and had a quick catch up. She absolutely smashed the marathon and PBd by a massive 30 odd minutes! Sarahs been on fire recently and it’s so inspiring to see the amazing progress she’s been making. After getting rid of my bag etc I got to the start line. As in Manchester last year it suddenly dawned on me I had 26.2 miles to run, it came around so quickly. Thankfully this time I had the aid of my TomTom runner to keep me on a steady pace. I wasn’t really sure what time to aim for so set off at around 7min/mile pace. I started reasonably far up but still had some weaving to do hence the 7:43 for the first mile but I then found my pace and went through half way in 1:32. I felt comfortable at this point and started to up the pace to 6:40ish per mile to try and get close to sub 3. I was doing well with nutrition and hydration using the SIS isotonic gels every 7 miles and taking on sips of water at every station. I kept a solid pace until about mile 20 when I started to slow slightly. I was still feeling pretty strong until mile 24 but then near the beach huts my right hamstring started to twinge slightly. At roughly mile 22 in Manchester last year I had the same thing only more severe. It was weird because there were paramedics in that exact spot then and right next to me at mile 24 in Brighton. This time instead of needing to stop to stretch I carried on and it soon loosened up. My hamstring basically told me to ease up and make sure I made sub 3:05 and that Good for Age time for London an Boston Marathons. I’m glad I listened to it otherwise I could have pushed it and ended up finishing nearer 3:28 if not worse. I coaxed my hamstring home to finish in 3:02:49. A PB of just over 25 minutes and that GFA time achieved. The event was awesome! I’m so glad I got my name printed on my shirt. A lot of runners that were near me didn’t so it was just loads of “GO STEVES!” There are always certain moments you’ll remember from marathons. My favourite from Brighton was an elderly man at mile 25 shouting “Just over a mile, you got this Steve!” I also really appreciated the shouts from Jon @LordJon, Scott, Sophie, Frankie @FrankieSaysRun and the @UKRunChat crew.
Overall I’m really pleased with the run and my pacing. In hindsight I should have done my half marathons earlier on and got in more and longer runs closer to the day. Those runs should have been closer to marathon pace aswell but I will take all this into training for my next races. In May I have a pretty busy schedule race wise. I have Run Hackney Half May 10th, Richmond Park Marathon 17th, Westminster Mile 24th & BUPA 10k 25th. I think when I come to train for and do the Great North Run, Bristol+Bath Marathon and possibly Valencia or Nice marathon later in the year I can focus on them more and aim for certain times.
Well done to everyone that ran Brighton! From what I’ve seen everyone smashed it and really enjoyed it. It was a good day for the Run Fast athletes aswell, Dominic Kangor finished 2nd and Tom Payn finishing 10th paced Pennina Wanjiru to 1st woman. A big shoutout to those that ran Paris and Rotterdam Marathons. Kevin absolutely destroyed Rotterdam finishing in 3:10 including an epic sprint finish and Charlotte smashed Paris in 3:37! Amazing stuff guys!
I hope everyone’s recovery is going well and good luck to those of you doing Boston, Manchester and London Marathons in the next couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to supporting at London.