Brighton Marathon: 3:53:27 NEW PB
Plan executed to perfection! The goal was to try and run my first sub-4hr marathon, hold 9min per mile pace for as long as possible and stagger over the line just inside the magic threshold. Why does that matter? There's just something special about breaking certain boundaries in running, and sub4 is one of them. "Machismo" perhaps, but...
...I did it! 3:53:27, a new PB taking 17minutes off the time I ran in Osaka and 40mins off my first Marathon in Brighton last year. The Little Man meanwhile clocked 6:49 for his U11 mile race finishing 18th in a field of 171, including children up to 2yrs older, so our combined time for the day was 4:00:16 for the sweepstake.
Day started with stunning blue skies and the faintest promise of a breeze in Preston Park, thousands of people waited in snaking lines for the portaloos rubbing vaseline into various orifices and psyching themselves up for the 26.2 miles that lay ahead.
Saw some friends from DailyMile in the park as well as some people from running club, the countdown started the klaxon did whatever klaxons do, a great roar went up from the runners then nothing! 5minutes of shuffling later we finally crossed the start line and the game was on with an opening circuit of Preston Park and the "Only 26 more miles to go" banner after a measly 0.2miles.
Opening 5miles were a snaking circuit through the streets of central Brighton and cheering crowds, atmosphere was great and before I knew it I was heading out onto the seafront road approaching the 6mile marker thinking "that was easy".
I thought the same thing last year, but 7miles later the wheels were starting to come off and the descent into hell was upon me, this time the run out to Rottingdean and back to town was nice and controlled, keeping a comfortable pace inside 9mins over the hilly part of the course. Men's race winner Peter Some, who broke the course record in 2:12:01 said:
“I was very happy with the course,” said the 21 year old men’s winner. “But I found it very hilly, there were a lot of undulations. It is my fourth marathon and second hardest course. The weather was very good, but the wind was too strong. I would like to come back to Brighton next year. My goal today was to break the course record.”
Nice to know an elite athlete thinks its a tough hilly course and conditions not optimal, makes you feel even more happy with the end result across those undulations and wind:
Saw the family, which gave me a burst of energy, as I cruised back into town past the pier and back into the crowded streets of Brighton. Went through halfway in 1:57:07 feeling very comfortable and focused on just getting through the streets and back to the seafront at 18miles when I could really take stock of how the race was going and plan the final crucial few miles.
Knocked off the miles still nicely within my pace target, headed out towards 20miles where its often said the Marathon really starts, pace was still good as I headed into no-mans land towards the power station, plan was to just get through this bit at the same pace hit the seafront again at mile23 and then push for home.
The last 3miles along the seafront were teaming with people, pace was good, legs felt great and I could see sub-4 within my grasp so long as I didn't do anything stupid. Knocked off mile23 in a quicker 8:47 then with 2 and a bit to go upped the pace knocking off 8:18 then a lovely 7:57 for mile 26 before taking down the final few yards at a 7:11 average. Last year I staggered through the final few miles in a daze, mentally and physically spent, this year picking up pace and going past runners was a wonderful feeling. Went past my DailyMile friend Simon with a few hundred yards to go, he ran a new PB having also run 21miles the day before - heroic!
Running a marathon in complete "control" with a negative split and picking up pace at the end was a wonderful feeling. At the finish...just felt very calm. None of the emotion of the last 2 marathons, just a calmness at having reached the goal.
No need for this year for this mantra:
Stage 1 of the "100 Mile Sweepstake" is at an end with a prize of nearly £20 and a pair of TOETOE running socks (ran the marathon in them and they are so comfortable) going to the winner, now its time for Stage 2: http://login.guess2give.com/event/stephen_whitehurst/638 where we can hopefully raise more money to help children like Amos:
Splits: 1:57:07 / 1:56:20
Position: 2205 (8878 total)
1-6 53:33 @8:55 - 9:08, 8:49, 8:52, 8:50, 9:02, 8:59
7-13 1:02:33 @8:56 - 8:58, 8:58, 9:02, 8:57, 8:56, 8:51, 8:53
14 - 20 1:02:38 @8:56 - 8:59, 8:57, 9:00, 8:53, 8:54, 8:52, 8:58
21 - finish 54:53 @8:35 - 8:56, 9:00, 8:54, 8:47, 8:18, 7:57, 2:51(7:11)
Course video from 2011: