The 2018 Brighton half marathon was, I see, my fifth race here, though the route changes often. Seek not to understand the mind of the race planner, mortals. For this year, they sent us out to Ovingdean for the first leg, then back to the Palace Pier, out to St Peter’s Church and back to the pier, and then a long westwards drag to Hove Lagoon and back.
It was cold; though we have not yet had the worst of the polar vortex, the wait for the start, though enlivened by having my photograph taken with other BSUH Charity runners, was chilly. When we set off, I must have fumbled my watch, for I found, as we approached the two mile point, that it had recorded no distance whatsoever. For this section, and as far as mile 7 or 8, I was reasonably speedy. But after that, I found it hard going. The trudge out to Hove Lagoon seemed interminable, and the return trip equally long and hard. Yet the crowd support, as it always is at any Brighton running event, was superb, and I was cheered by some spectators from my running club, Seaford Striders, including Kristy Sherry who took this splendid photograph below, and the BSUH Charity, led by Jess, with some very amusing placards.
It was hard to summon up any speed at the finish, though I managed a sprint through the walking wounded. I staggered through the lines, and, to my great delight, was presented with my medal by Amanda Feast of Seaford Striders, a frequent Director of Peacehaven parkrun. I was disappointed to be slower than last year, but under the circumstances, I don’t think I should be too disappointed. There is some work to do, though, before the Beachy Head Marathon in the autumn.
Whatever one’s own performance, other runners are always a source of inspiration. There were 23 Seaford Striders at the half, and 10 of them had passed through the club’s Couch to 5k groups; nearly all of the latter group were running their first half-marathons, and did outstandingly well.
Thanks everyone who’s sponsored me, and to the marshals who stood and shivered as we ran past; and if this achievement impresses you and you haven’t donated yet, there’s still time. Go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/toms2018brightonhalf