A coastal marathon with a party atmosphere. A good race for Personal Bests, candy floss and lovers of piers.”
Where: Brighton, south England
Size: 12,000 runners
Completed 15 April 2012
Official race website here.
- Make sure your friends and supporters don’t get trapped in the ‘island’ in the centre of the starting loop in Preston Park – otherwise they have to wait for every single runner to have completed the loop before being able to move on
- Get out of Madeira Drive as quickly as possible after you’ve completed the run ideally head towards the Marina Head for higher ground!
- Drink every time you’re given something! There was water every two or so miles, and Powerade every four or so miles.
- Beware the hilly few miles at the start but at mile 11 you can assure yourself it’s flat thereafter
The Brighton Marathon has a great starting point in Preston Park. It’s well organised with lots of facilities for participants, as well as spectators and supporters, and lots of space to move around. The tannoy was used to full effect to herd specific groups of runners into the starting pens when necessary. This year was the first year that the route map wasn’t printed and sent to every runner – a conscious effort from the organisers to reduce waste and unnecessary printing – instead it was all online.
The course led runners from a loop of Preston Park down into a route through the centre of town. The start of the course is pretty much the highest point in the route, which is reassuring! From Brighton town centre the runners head east towards Rottingdean along the coast, taking in the Marina and cliffs, and then head north inland for a mile or so to Ovingdean. There are some gradual hills in the first half of the race, toward Rottingdean and Ovingdean, but after the 11 mile mark it is relatively flat on the return to Brighton. Heading west the course followed roads into Hove and Aldrington, then turned back on itself and entered Portslade and Shoreham Power Station. Shoreham Power Station was a bit of a low-point, unless you’re a massive fan of Series 2 of The Wire or the Containerisation process in general! The final stretch was nearly 5 miles straight east along the coast, finishing just past the Pier.
There are a HUGE number of supporters, especially in the centre of town and along the seafront. But that said, the suburbs of Hove and Portslade put up some pretty stiff competition celebrations-wise. Street party doesn’t do it justice. They are a huge contrast to the uninspiring surroundings of Shoreham Power Station – not exactly motivating compared to the rest of the course’s scenery! But the industrial estate made an effort – has to be said – there was a makeshift stage with a DJ blaring out U2 at 100 decibels! Not quite my power song – instead it gave me something to run away from…
Despite it having been my first full marathon I didn’t find the route too difficult – not too hilly – any steep climbs were tackled in the first third of the race, and the remainder was quite flat.
The finishing line is clear – no traffic jams of flailing runners to barge through. But getting up the stairs from Madeira Drive after a marathon is hard enough without the hundreds of tourists just standing on them messing about with Nikons. You don’t get a very good goodie bag post-race but you do get a bacofoil cape and more Powerade than you could ever want! Brighton has it all in terms of a weekend – beach, pier, The Lanes shopping, candy floss, crazy golf! Well worth a long weekend.
Tourist info for Brighton here.
My Race Diary – by MattCStokes (fun-runner of half marathons, marathons)
Marathon Number: 1
Place: Not first – not last: 3265 to be exact
Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Organised Run History: two 16-milers (Kingston Breakfast Run), 4 half marathons (Bristol once and Brighton thrice), and an 8-miler (Kingston Whole Foods Run)
A urination-free run would have got me in under 4 hours, but hey who wants kidney stones anyway!?