Brighton Half Marathon
Well, whilst everyone was seemingly at Snake Lane, I was rocking the Red Vest 275 miles further down south, me and the wife merged the Brighton half into our little staycation.
However, unlike everyone in Pocklington, we were the first ones to meet Storm Ellen hitting the British shores, 50mph winds fresh off the channel & heavy rains – of which made it the most eventful race of my life.
We stayed just outside of town in Worthing, a seemingly short train journey across, but the storm caused a landslide on the track, causing a delay to our arrival to the race by almost an hour due to replacement buses.
The storm then proceeded to blow over several sections of temporary fencing and the baggage & massage tents near the most congested park on the athletes village, with thousands of runners & spectators struggling to get past each other in the chaos. The baggage drop was right at the back and despite us getting there nearly 50 minutes early, by the time we got to the bag drop the race had started!
Crap?!! What are we gonna do?!!! We haven’t warmed up and we’ll be starting literally at the back of a field of thousands of runners?!
That’s not even thinking about the 10k middle section of pure angry headwind that was to come.
Head was completely gone. Gutted, I’ve trained ace and everything has gone against me. Zero chance of a PB or a good time now.
But away we both went, said our goodbyes, and off we go. Mile one should and would have been a lightening fast mile with the wind up behind us, it was my slowest by almost a minute due to the crowding of the back field runners.
At this point I just got angry, weaving in and out, running on grass verges, wide lines so far off a racing line it was unreal, fighting for some space in the heavily congested field. It felt like an interval session, not a race, stop start, stop start.
At this point I thought, shall I just give up and just stroll around? What’s the point? Someone has made a voodoo doll of me here.
But I managed to tick out some decent miles and the form and fitness felt bang on. Then we turned into the wind, Jesus wept, it stopped you dead at some points with the gusts, but I had derrick ricketts in my head talking about keeping your form & technique and I did, despite my head been everywhere.
As I battled on, I became more and more enthused, soaking in some fantastic crowd support – “bloody hell you’ve travelled along way east hull” – tell me about it!
I wasn’t gonna let this beat me now, not a chance, Roy Orbison “Penny Arcade” playing in my head, I was gonna use this wind behind me and hammer the last 5k home, and that’s what I did – 6.19, 6.11, 6.09 step up and play……. but where’s the effing finish line?!! Well because of all the wide lines and overtaking, I overtook 6905 people during the race and started 11 minutes after the start!I clocked 13.29 miles…..
But still managed 1.29.30.
Everything said give it up, spit your dummy out, live to fight another day, but I didn’t. Mentally that was by far my best race in the circumstances, and I would have smashed my PB of 1.26.58 if I had a fair roll of the dice. I’ll just keep grafting and wait for my day, what else can I do!