We had a great day in Brighton last year when I ran the 2013 Brighton Half and The Son downed hot chocolate with whipped cream from the nearby coffee shop before taking a ride on the Brighton Wheel. I reaped the benefits of uninterrupted marathon training to go sub 1:45 for the first time and set a 11 minute half marathon PB. The last section of the 2013 run saw me nearly set a 10km PB. My training, fitness, and general healthy well-being would take me on to 1:38:58 PB one month later in Reading.
This year I was riding the marathon training high again and The Son returned but this time I registered him for the youth race. The number of Eagles running had decreased (last year they rented a house for the weekend) but there was still a healthy contingent to chat to before the race and celebrate afterwards.
An early started with stops around Ealing to collect passengers before driving down to the south coast. I had checked online to find a car park along the sea front where I could leave the car for the day and we walked in the sunshine to the race start.
I dropped my bag off before doing the same for The Son and making sure that he was all kitted out and ready for his race. The Brighton Half provide coloured t-shirts specific to each kids race so I walked The Son to watch some of the youth races start and made sure that he joined the yellow t-shirt crowd. There wasn’t much time so I had to leave him to run his race while I slipped into the starting pen for the half.
There’s something about the Brighton Half that means it has to be sunny, even if the weather has been atrocious all through the week with a dreary winter coming to an end. I only have a sample of two years to call on but both times it’s fallen on a sudden warm day when everyone has been used to the cold and wet winter. This usually means that there are runners on the start line wearing long-sleeved tops, jackets, gloves, and running tights… then there are runners discarding layers through the first few miles as they realise it’s going to be a warm day.
I wasn’t sure what condition I was in. I had no pacing plan. I wondered if I could challenge the 1:43 from last year. I got into my running groove and found a small pack of runners going at what I felt was a comfortable pace. Pushing enough to get a decent time but not racing flat out to make myself fall apart near the end. As we turned back on the sea front there was a noticeable breeze so I did the cheeky thing of tucking in behind a couple of guys and used them as shelter.
I started to feel guilty about using runners around my as a personal wind shield so I picked up the pace and started to play ‘pick a runner and take them down’. I knew that I had gas in the tank and now was the time to put the foot down and use the reserves I had saved through the first part of the race. I also started to glance at my watch, something I hadn’t bothered with up to this point, to try and guess what finish time was on the cards. A sub 1:45 was there for the taking, the conditions were good, the views spectacular across the sun-kissed sea, and I visualised a lovely cool drink waiting for me after the finish.
An Eagles cheer squad was nicely positioned before the pier, with the finishing funnel in sight. I milked the applause, took the high fives, and started to ramp up the pace. I had stopped looking at my watch and continued to select runners who I could target, overtaking the last few before crossing the finish and stopping my watch. Well under 1:45 and a Running Dan course record, improving on last year by over a minute.
The Son was waiting nearby. He had enjoyed his youth race, even with a start that saw lots of jostling for position. I have no idea on his time or placing and he wasn’t bothered by the result. After his race he grabbed a hot chocolate from a coffee shop then watched the half runners from the Wheel.
All the Eagles enjoyed their run and we had a table booked at a nearby pub where roast lunches were eaten and race stories exchanged.
- Position: 1312 / 6925
- Gender position: 1120 / 3900
- Category: M40
- Category position: 331 / 1307
- Finish time (gun): 1:43:48
- Finish time (chip): 1:42:15
- Finish Time (Garmin): 1:42:15