Brighton Half Marathon 16th February 2014

I love race weekends. I love the build up. I love putting my number on my vest and I love seeing friends posting their pre-race thoughts on social media.

I’m not even sure that I used to get this type of buzz before a game of football. Maybe I just didn’t appreciate it when I was younger and I guess I probably played a lot of games without really preparing.

I must admit that I’m losing interest in the big road events. They’re really expensive, especially as both Nick and I are taking part. However, today was amazing.

We had to get up at 5.30am for food, as the trains were not running properly.  We were due to be down in Brighton really early.

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20140216_081057_Richtone(HDR)The weather has been horrendous. It’s been so windy there were 2 trees down at parkrun yesterday. Today could not have been more different.  Sunny and calm. I was totally over dressed for the weather, although, to be fair, I did dress for sub-zero temperatures.

I’d been wanting to go below 1 hour 50 minutes for ages.  I have only done it once before and that was years ago. I couldn’t help thinking that I should be able to, but my training was geared towards the longer events, so the plan was to give it a good go. Set off at 5.12 / km pace and keep it going for as long as possible.

Obviously, I soon went miles ahead of schedule. I was on for a PB at 10 miles. The wheels duly fell off as I headed back towards Brighton after the turn at Hove Lagoon. Not badly though. In the past, things would have gone seriously wrong.  I’m mentally stronger now and I knew I’d still go under 1.50 and that was what I did.

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1623608_10152015141858763_989772401_n 20140216_122554_Richtone(HDR)It was walking back to the pub for a quick blackcurrant and soda that one of the true meanings of these big road races really sunk home.

There were still lots of people making their way to the finish line. Some of them with times pushing up towards 3 hours and over. For them this is their Everest. In the same way that my goal was to go under 1.50, their goal was to finish. I can’t help but think that their achievements today were so much greater than mine. Most of them are completing the event for charity, probably for a deeply personal reason. Respect to every single one of them.

While walking back along the seafront, Nick and I talked about the last time we were down there for a race, the Brighton 10k last year, when I didn’t run, but took photos for the club. As we were heading home, the guy in the photo below ran past us.

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This must have took an amazing amount of strength and the day must have been so emotional for him and his brother who was running with him. Everyone stopped and cheered him. I wonder what happened to him. Whatever it was, I think that he made a real impression on a lot of people that day.

Back to today. Burgess Hill Runners showed their true colours.  Over 60 of us ran. There were blue shirts everywhere. A massive range of times from 76 minutes to 2 and a half hours and above I think.  Again it was some of the performances further down the field that caught the eye with numerous PB’s.  Caz completed her first half and went under 2 hours 30 minutes.  Her very short running journey should be an inspiration to anyone who wants to start running and thinks they can’t.

neilandcazWhen we met after the race she was in tears and I thought it’d all gone wrong.  It turns out that she was just so happy.  Fantastic.

Nick went under 2 hours.  Woo hoo.  She just missed out at Bexhill last year and given the fact that she’s been under the weather and had a bit of a crisis of confidence, this was a great performance.

So there we go, another fantastic inspirational day. The type of day that makes me happy.

Two weeks until the Steyning Stinger Marathon.  Bring it on.

For more info see – http://www.brightonhalfmarathon.com

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