The 2016 Brighton Marathon

Normally when I’m in Brighton on a Sunday I spent most of the day in my office in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex trying to keep the backlog of work under control. However, this morning buses to and from Falmer were disrupted by the 2016 Brighton Marathon so I decided to have a lie in, catch a bit of the action, and postpone coming up to campus until lunchtime.

I didn’t leave my flat until almost noon, and felt a bit guilty as I put a load of empty wine bottles into the communal recycling bin as runners laboured past on Marine Parade, the main road along the seafront on the eastern side of Brighton, where I live. Runners pass along Marine Parade at the end of my street twice, once at 6 miles heading East and then again at about 13 miles heading West. By the time I got there there were only people on the return part, and given the time these were mainly charity and fun runners:

Brighton Marathon_2

At thirteen miles the expression on quite a few faces was one of “Oh shit, I’m only halfway!”. Still, the weather was good for running: sunny but not too hot, and an occasional cooling breeze. I’d guess it never got hotter than about 10 degrees.

The marathon route is quite a strange one that doubles back on itself quite a few times:

marathon Course map 2016 AW 600

Anyway, proceeding in a westerly direction I found myself looking down from a point on Marine Parade near the finish line; the finish itself is at sea level. The elite race had finished by the time I got there but I saw quite a few runners chasing a sub-three hour time, some successfully and some not.

At bout three hours and fifteen minutes, when I took this picture, the frequency of arrivals had started to pick up and the crowd of spectators was increasing steadily.

Brighton Marathon

After about 3 hours and 30 minutes we were into the pack of less experienced runners, some of whom were definitely struggling at the end. I saw one chap whose legs had completely gone about 200 yards from the line. The crowd were giving as much vocal encouragement as they could, but he was out on his feet. Fortunately a steward realised he was in severe difficulty and helped him to the line. There was a huge cheer when he reached the finish, and medical assistance was promptly delivered.

I have run a few marathons in my life. I wish I could have carried on doing them, but my old knees won’t let me. There’s a great camaraderie amongst the runners and lots of support from the crowd, not to mention the huge amount of money raised for charity.

I’m writing this at 2.15pm, which is five hours from the start, and there’s probably quite a few still running. Congratulations to all those who finish. It’s a great experience running a marathon, but it feels even better when you stop!

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