Tag Archives: brighton marathon

Brilliant Brighton Marathon Weekend

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. 

Steve

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Vitality North London & Reading Half Marathons

As many of you will have seen I recently took part in both the Vitality North London & Reading Half Marathons. I thought I would just write a quick blog to summarise how these events went and let you know how I found them.

The North London Half was what I would consider my first big event of 2015. I have run a few 10ks and did the Richmond Old Deer Park Half in February but the number of runners in these events was relatively small. In total 4,713 people finished the North London Half. In comparison to Reading which had over 13,000 runners it was still pretty small but that’s due to it being the first year of the event. 

Due to running the Old Deer Park Half in 1:21:21 I knew I was in good shape going into this event. I had a good feeling that I would get close to sub 80 mins but hadn’t done any real research on the route so was a little surprised when there were a few ups and downs. I went out at a pace that would comfortably get me sub 80 (a pace I’m not used to running at!!) and then just tried to hold onto it in the last few miles. It was strange running at this pace as the majority of the miles I do are closer to 7 min/mile+ but I felt ok as I had a good couple rest days and a nice short run at the Ashmei Ambassadors day in the lead up.

  

Here you can see my splits from the race. I’m happy with how it went considering the undulating course and squeezed in sub 80 mins finishing with a PB time of 79:27 in 29th position.

Another reason I think this race went well is because I was relaxed. On the morning of the event I met up with a former colleague Amy @AmyJayneHughes to travel to the start. We were busy chatting about running and things so I think I basically forgot to get nervous about the race. She also had a great run, well done Amy! and is now gearing up for the London Marathon. Good luck sure you will smash it! 

 

The event was really well run (pun intended!) and I will probably be back next year as long as my growing race calendar allows it. Here you can see my somewhat lacklustre sprint finish!! 

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10205294514355387

Right, onto Reading! The week between North London and Reading I ran a fair bit through work and just because I wanted to. I did rest up on Friday and Saturday though just running a couple miles Friday and working, helping out with the Adidas Boost Bootcamp, on the Saturday. I also got in some carb loading in the form of #adidas26rs biscuits! 

I was a little more nervous about Reading due to the fact I knew I was capable of another sub 80 mins Half and it is flatter than North London so expected to PB again. It was great to bump into a friend of mine Chris (@InvisibleTrail) on the tube so again by chatting I became less nervous about the race. I had arranged to meet up with @the_fitadvisor aswell who I met at the Ashmei Ambassador day so we headed to the race village together. 

I had chosen to do Reading because I had really enjoyed it in 2014 and it was the home of my PB. The huge medal enticed me back aswell. 

  

I wasn’t quite sure how to pace the race and therefore just set out in the same way I took to North London. This worked well as I got into my stride and due to Reading being flatter I could hold onto a quicker pace for longer. I managed a time of 77:01. Bit annoying that 01 but overall happy with the run. I finished 199th and it means I am 172nd in the Run Britain Grand Prix rankings currently which is pretty cool. See below a pic of me and @the_fitadvisor with the awesome medals! She ran a great race and got a huge PB, well done! I’m sure sub 2 isn’t very far away. Chris also did really well achieving just over 1:26 which is awesome as he’s recovering from an injury. I also saw Michelle (former colleague at Sweatshop/London Marathon Store) and she PBd by almost 5 mins!! Awesome work and look forward to seeing you at Brighton! 

  

Overall a great Reading Half, special thanks has to go to Nick Pearson @NickPearsonRuns and the organisers for such a great race and again I will be back if it fits with the Race calendar in 2016. So far I have enjoyed the Vitality race series and am looking forward to Run Hackney half in May but first up I have Kingston half this Sunday to do at marathon pace (need to decide what that is!) and then Brighton Marathon in two and a bit weeks!

I hope everyone’s running is going well and if you did the North London and/or Reading Half had a great time!

Speak and see a lot of you soon!

Steve

Times in mind

Due to the fact I wasn’t running much the second half of last year I have found it hard to put goal times on the races I have coming up. I have recently done a few races so now I have rough times in mind but it obviously depends on how many miles I can get in between now and the events and how the tapering etc goes.

Last Sunday I ran the Old Deer Park Richmond Half Marathon. I signed up to it quite late in the day so wasn’t really tapering for the race or planning to go for a certain time. Also being my first half in 2015 and first half since Royal Parks in October I didn’t really know what I was capable of over that distance. I did the Royal Parks Half in just over 1:27.

The few days leading up to the run I was in Bath catching up with family so I got in some great carb loading! This included fish and chips, a massive Calzone and a cream tea. Turns out that all of this is good fuel as the run went well and I finished in a time of 1:21:21. Not far off my PB of 1:20:37 that I got at Reading last year. I was happy with that however it was a strange feeling to look at the watch in the last couple of miles and know the PB was slipping away although I wasn’t necessarily aiming for one.

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Today I ran the Nice Work Mornington Chasers Regents Park 10k. I have done a few 10ks so far this year including the Regents Park 10k in February. I managed a time of 36:42 today and am happy with that knocking 15 seconds off the last time I did the course. Another reason I’m happy is because I ran 21 miles on Thursday at 7:30 min/mile and therefore would have been carrying those miles in the legs.

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This week I am going to try and get quite a few miles in so that I’m in good shape for the North London Half in two weeks time. I am unsure how undulating the North London Half course will be so not sure what time I will be capable of but I will give it my all and hopefully get as close to 1:20 as possible.

The week after that I have Reading Half. They have changed the course to make it even flatter I believe so I’m hoping I may have a good chance to go sub 1:20 there fingers crossed. Then it will be about getting a few miles in before Brighton Marathon. The time I currently have in mind for Brighton is 3:27. That’s because I would really like to beat the time I did Manchester in last year. I would obviously like to go even quicker than that but we’ll see.

I hope everyone’s running has gone well this weekend. I love this time of year when there are so many races. Yesterday I was on cheer duty at Hilly Fields parkrun which was great fun. I wish I had done Bath half today, the bling looks great and I’ve seen loads of people have achieved great times!

Steve
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