Race Recap – Brighton Half Marathon 2017

It’s been a long time since I have toed the start line of a race. I have had so many DNS of late, and again I can’t say that I had fully trained for this race (stupid work gets in the way of training FAR too much)! But I LOVE the Brighton Half Marathon, and having run it for the last three years, so there was no chance of a DNS for this race!

Date: Sunday 26th February 2017

Time: 9am

Weather: Storm Doris had been calling the shots all across England in the week prior to the race, and when I woke on Sunday morning, the wind was still strong! Luckily, as the morning progressed it did calm down a little, but gust were strong, there was fine rain and it was cold! The silver lining was that the sun poked through the clouds just as I was approaching the finish line 🙂

Course: The course runs along the sea front, and is out and back in one direction, and then the same again towards Hove. As I’ve said MANY times before, I love this type of race, as I spend most of my time watching the speedies on the other side of the road. In previous years, I found the hills between miles 2 to 4 tough, but I must be getting stronger now (or paced better) as I didn’t find them too taxing this year.

My race: I had originally targeted this race, as my race to finally train and attempt to gain a sub 2 hour half marathon PB. I was given a great training plan from one of the coaches at my run club, and I knew that if I worked hard and followed the plan it was doable. Due to changing jobs at Christmas, I soon realised that following the plan was going to be too difficult, so I had to be realistic and train when I could, respect the distance, but also not beat myself up when I couldn’t follow the plan completely.

I had been saying to everyone, that I had to go and just enjoy the race, as if I pushed mile 13 was going to hurt ALOT! I moved myself back a pen, so that I started with the 2-2:15 runners and started the race very aware that in previous races, I have always started too fast.

It was very congested at the start, and very hard to get in any kind of rhythm. I was very happy when I clocked the first mile in 9:54. Just after mile 1, I started chatting to a lady for the Run Mummy Run community and we ran along chatting, and it felt very comfortable. The miles ticked by at 9:26, 9:23 and 9:15 – I think this one increased slightly as you can see the turn around point that naturally makes you want to speed up, as when you have turned you know that you are heading down hill!

The downhill wasn’t as pleasant as I had anticipated, as the strong side wind really kicked in at this point. Around mile 6, I was feeling comfortable and my competitiveness was eating away at me. I could keep running comfortably, and finish around 2:10 or I could work hard now, and see how close I would get to the 2 hour mark. I knew that if I took the second option, mile 13 was going to hurt, but I went anyway. For mile 7 I clocked a 9:08 mile, which was probably a little too fast, but I still felt ok. The course was quite congested in parts, but I kept telling myself that was good as it was keeping me from pushing too hard too soon.

Mile 10 is the turning point and you are heading along the sea front back to the finish. I repeated continually that it was only a park run, and had hoped to be pushing a little harder. I was starting feel it around mile 12, and I definitely slowed for this mile, but I justified this, by setting myself a target that my last mile had to be my fastest. I had hoped that it would start 8:xx for mile 13. This made me dig deep! It hurt and I couldn’t wait for it to be over, but I was so glad I had pushed on. I crossed the line in 2:02:42, which is only 30 seconds slower than last year! It was much better than I had expected and I was very happy with that. (My last mile was my fastest, but frustratingly, it was a 9:00 minute mile!)

Lesson learned: I still love the big races, and I definitely want to be on the start line of Brighton Half in 2018!

Pros

  • High profile race with great organisation.
  • Crowd support is always amazing.
  • My finish time gives me the confidence that if I put in the training and hard work, I can PB at this distance soon!

Cons

  • The accommodation can be expensive in Brighton, especially if you are a muppet like me and leave it to the last minute (again)! Although, I must add here, that I stayed at the Jury’s Inn, Waterfront hotel, and they were amazing. They put on an early breakfast for the runners, and even gave me a bin bag to use for the start of the race.
  • The course was quite narrow in parts (I think it may have been due to road works)
  • There was no race T-Shirt! I’m sure last year we were given a Brooks finishers technical t-shirt!?
  • According to my Garmin, the course came up short! I only clocked 13.06 miles!!!

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Anyone else run Brighton Half? Add your race report links below, I would love to read them.

 

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