I hope there were none among the runners who fell by the wayside during Brighton's second marathon who suffered Pheidippides' fate. In the heat, the first-aiders did seem to have plenty to keep them busy. Nevertheless, fuelled by the water and energy drink stations, and many jelly babies offered by spectators, I finished my eleventh marathon in 4:46:52 by the chip. At the moment, I can't report the times of my other Seaford Striders, as the results don't yet allow one to search by anything other than name or number. I can say however that among assorted internet running comrades, MarathonDan, who ran as a 9 foot tall stick of rock, finished in 4:43:17, and Fit Artist managed 4:50:28.
It was a splendid day; the support from the crowds was tremendous, and made up for some of the harder stretches.
Miles 1-5, from Preston Park to Kemp Town: I was running too fast here; each time I checked my pace I realised, and tried to rein it in, but it crept back up. Looking at my mile splits, I was doing 9-minute miles up to mile 8.
Miles 6-10: Kemp Town to Rottingdean: harder work, as the heat increased. This stretch includes the only hills on the course, which are not substantial. Ovingdean village laid on a brass band, a pleasant change from the samba bands that made up most of the musical accompaniment on the route. Here my pace was as it should be.
Miles 11-15: still on target as far as pace was concerned, and this stretch brought us back along the sea front past the finish. Here the pavements were dense with spectators. I remember in particular a steward with a megaphone who had become quite unintelligible with excitement, and Sweder of Running Commentary, whose voice rang out above the fray as Ajax's in the melée outside the gates of Troy.
Miles 16-20: here it became difficult. There was a long drag out and back through Hove, well-supported but the slog to the turn seemed to last forever. I stuck it out, but at the end of the return trip, as we turned towards the front and Shoreham, at eighteen and a half miles, I had to stop running and walk. I had had pain in the toes of my left foot for more or less all the race, and now this was joined by knee and shoulder pain. For the next four miles or so I walked and ran, walked and ran.
Miles 21-26: when I reached mile 22 I forced myself to start running, and though I was often tempted to stop and walk again, the shame of doing so in front of so many supporters kept me going. Looking at my splits, I see that I was back on target pace for the final mile, which pleases me.
Will I run a marathon again? I'm uncertain. I trained as well and assiduously as I could, certainly as well as for the Isle of Wight in 2006, when I recorded a personal best for the distance of 04:10:40, and yet I ended up walking part of the course. In 2006 I was a callow youth aged 51. Now I am a knackered has-been of 56; perhaps I should grow old gracefully. After London in 2009 I said never again; I wouldn't rule out another marathon, but perhaps not for a while.
On a happier note, thanks to everyone who supported me, on the course, on Twitter, and by sponsoring me for the Moorfields Eye Hospital Development Fund, and if you haven't, perhaps because you didn't believe I'd finish, now's your chance.
Post scriptum: the full results are now up on the Sport Systems site. Seaford Striders chip times were as follows:
Names and chip times:
Adrian Campbell: 3:22:53
Ryan Stewart: 3:26:41
Clifford Evans: 3:30:17
Jason Harris: 3:57:00
Robert Ward: 4:34:55
Tom Roper: 4:54:09
David Holden: 5:22:56