As most people know, I don’t do races, as I much prefer long trail events where the camaraderie and views are more important than time. However I have run the Brighton half marathon frequently and achieved one of my best times of 1.39 several years ago. Since then, I have gradually become slower, mainly due to the lack of motivation to put in the necessary training to run a good time.
This year has been particularly difficult for various reasons and I approached the start with even less confidence than usual – so much so that I didn’t even realise the race had started until I walked under the timing clock! It was a cold, bright day, ideal for running apart from the strong south easterly wind and, after having to jog the first couple of miles due to the number of runners on the course, I settled into quite a good – albeit fairly slow – rhythm.
In fact, I overtook quite few runners and actually recognised both Dani and Paul, who were doing a great marshalling job. I was almost starting to enjoy the experience until we turned for home at the western end of the course and started running into the wind. Those 3 miles seemed to go on forever – mainly because of my lack of training – but eventually we reached the pier, where I changed my mantra from ‘Easy boy’ to ‘Enjoy the pain’, as my quads were really complaining by now!
Unsurprisingly I was not pleased with my time, particularly when my great rival was 13 minutes faster – quite incredible, but I was not very far behind several of the Joggers and ahead of a few. It was also a comfort to see it was a 67% performance on the Age-related scale [I am usually happy with anything above 65%]. In any event, I have been inspired to enter at least 3 more marathons this year after the Stinger – the 3 Forts, the South Downs and Beachy Head, all across our incomparable South Downs.