2013 Brighton Marathon Race Day Review by RunBrighton Pacer –
The Brighton Marathon was in its fourth year and this was my fourth Brighton Marathon. Having already accumulated 66 previous marathons under my belt; I was asked to be the Official 5:00 Pacer in the 2013 event.
We attended the expo on Saturday and met up with hundreds of our fellow athletes and spent the day discussing all things to do with long distance running and we started forming our own little groups of followers.
I was introduced to many newbies who just wanted to get round in one piece as well as some die-hards who wanted to run an even paced 5:00 marathon. I also met some runners who were going to stay with the faster Pacers and then try to keep me in their ‘rear view mirror’ for the rest of the race; there really are so many different ways to run a marathon.
Dressed in a bright orange shirt and some orange balloons, we left Preston Park and I arrived (balloonless!) at Brighton Pier’s fantastic Finish Line 4:58:27 later having shared an incredible journey with some inspiring and amazing people. Some were acquiring new Personal Bests and some were running their very first event.
It was a pleasure to have been a part of the Brighton Marathon Pacer Team and I hope they ask me back next year (and the next, and the next….) as I found the whole experience a very emotional and uplifting experience.
Long live the Brighton Marathon!
- Davey has also written a book about his marathon experiences so far ’10 Marathons in 10 Days’, see below. Find out his adventures and more.
Meet RunBrighton’s new Nutritional expert, Nick Morgan from A Word On Nutrition, he will providing us with monthly tips to boost your health, well-being and ultimately your running performance, read and bring it on!
- Why A Word on Nutrition? What inspired you?
I have been fortunate enough to work with individuals of all levels (elite to beginner) for quite a few years now, and whilst we can certainly talk about how nutrition has evolved in terms of science, knowledge and products, I believe overall levels of education across the population are poor. Ultimately, nutrition is a polarising topic, and is surrounded by myths, fads and poor information. I’m not convinced people know exactly who to trust, or where to turn, which if you look at the importance of nutrition to everyday life, health, well-being and physical output, this is quite a staggering thought.
I would also argue that much of the information provided isn’t good enough at getting to the heart of the problem, which for many is habit and behaviours! The education is quite scientific and not hugely practical so people don’t actually know what to go and cook that evening, or buy in Tesco. I have been guilty of it as younger practitioner – to tell people what I think they need to know, not what they actually want to hear. It sounds quite simple, but look at how many people don’t even get breakfast right!
So “A Word on Nutrition”… Well, if you combine the two points above, I think that would just about summarise the “why” – I want to help, make a difference and ensure people know what to do on a daily basis to stay healthy, and when they exercise or take on various exercise goals, they can do so knowing nutrition can be relatively easy, and hopefully fun!
-Your running and nutrition background?
I actually come from a tennis background, playing to a reasonable standard as a junior and then into University. It probably wasn’t until my mid to late 20s that I set myself the challenge of running. In 2007 I ran my first half marathon, and then debuted at the London Marathon in 2009. I’ve since run London twice, Edinburgh and Loch Ness… I’d also add in a fifth marathon, in Nice, but that was part of a longer event – the 2010 Nice Ironman. Since then I’ve been pottering around with smaller events, but have 2013 mind for bigger things including the Brighton Marathon.
From a nutrition point of view I have been working with athletes principally since 2002. This includes professional football, rugby, tennis, speed skating, football referees and a number of other sports. It is something I love, and feel very passionate about. I think many assume the elite world is glamorous, but I can honestly say it is as rewarding to work with beginners or amateur athletes as they are desperate to learn and change. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with London Marathon for a number of years, including presenting at their pasta party on pre-race nutrition- a hot topic I look forward to tackling in Brighton!
-Golden nugget to pass onto runners?
Keep it simple… people want to jump to “performance” nutrition as quickly as possible, and sometimes become quite anxious quite quickly. To run well, and with enjoyment requires a simple nutritional intake that is based on 3 main meals and perhaps a few snacks during the day. This is the same for those looking to lose weight, and the rationale is simple – if you have a good platform of food intake it is very easy to increase or decrease total food intake and/or change food types according to goals. Sporadic, random patterns with missing meals makes it very hard for anyone to match their goals. If we can those basics rights, finding a running strategy becomes really easy!
-Your next goal?
I have Brighton Marathon in the diary, and I’m also looking at an Ironman in 2013 with my brother-in-law. I have yet to comitt yet, but I’d imagine it is only a matter of time
-Finally, the song that gets you on the dance floor?
The Black Eyed Peas – I gotta feeling.
www.awordonnutrition.com / Twitter: @Nick_AWON
Exclusive RunBrighton interview with parkrun’s mastermind Paul Sinton-Hewitt
Why parkrun, what inspired you?
I started parkrun because I wanted to stay involved with the running community after a big running injury. I felt that I wanted to give something back to running and to my community as I have been the grateful recipient of many kind and generous folks who came out over the years to marshal at the events I participated in.
At the time I only focused on my little community of Richmond & Twickenham. I had no intentions for parkrun to become what it is today. However, after the first year of Bushy parkrun, the feedback from the community was that this event was exactly what normal folks were looking for. When asked what my goals for parkrun were at that time I said “there should be a parkrun in every town or village that wants one”. Looking back, my goal was a good one but it was not a business plan! I wanted every town or village to have a “weekly, free, 5k, timed run” but I didn’t intend to be the force behind this.
My friend, Jim Desmond, was the inspiration for our second parkrun. Jim, Duncan Gaskell and I met almost every month to discuss the workings of parkrun in those early days. This is where the principles of parkrun were formed. Jim suggested that a second parkrun in Wimbledon would be a good testing ground for the possibility of growing the movement. Some 6 weeks later Wimbledon parkrun was borne. We haven’t looked back since.
Did you ever imagine it would get this big?
parkrun has astounded everyone associated with its development. I never imagined that something so simple could gain such acceptance and become the catalyst for building new communities across the nation. Indeed, across the world now. The most striking thing about parkruns success has been the willingness of people to volunteer. The volunteers are the backbone of parkrun and without their contribution there would be no parkrun. We value and respect this investment in the local communities by the volunteers which could only happen as a result of the trust between the people running the organisation and the communities. This is borne out of the fact that parkrun is a not-for-profit movement. No one owns parkrun and the organisation is protected through the legal structure created for that purpose.
What’s next for parkrun?
We will continue to do what we do best – deliver weekly, free, 5k timed runs around the world. We will not enter the world of paid events or longer events. Our purpose is to make it simple for folks to enjoy running and we are delighted that by doing this we help build up a groundswell of grassroots runners which then fills the pyramid that is the domain of governing bodies, clubs and professional race organisers.
Your running background?
At my best I was a decent club runner. I ran at school up to the age of 17 and then just like most other teenagers didn’t run again until I was 24. I remember the day that I ran at an average of less than 4 minutes a kilometer like it was yesterday. This was the day that running went from something I did to keep fit to something I felt I could compete at. It was because of that moment that I met my closest running buddies who went onto inspire me to bigger and better things in the sport.
My proudest running achievement is probably being selected to represent my running club at the Stellenbosch Marathon, South Africa at the age of 28 where I completed the course in 28th position in a time of 2:36. Looking back I believe that I was still a novice runner.
Golden nugget to pass onto runners?
Every person on the planet can run. It matters not what your speed is. It’s the fact that you try that makes all the difference and by putting on your trainers, you are striding towards finding out just what you are capable of. Running is always better than not running.
Your next goal?
As a runner I hope to be running until I drop. I have no specific goals related to times or distances as I believe those days are now past. However, using the age grading indicators I hope to bubble along as close to 80% as possible for as long as possible.
Your greatest running achievement?
2:36 at the Stellenbosch marathon in 1988. I didn’t have a clue how well I was running until years later.
Finally, the song that gets you on the dance floor?
I’m afraid it’s not a song anymore. It’s my wife Joanne! I’ll dance if she wants me to otherwise I’m happy to sit back, listen to the music and relax.
Meet Olie Arnold - Ex Men’s Health Style Editor and RunBrighton’s Guest Blogger:
The Long Warm Down
So it’s over a month now since we crossed the finish line and hopefully everyone’s legs are fully recovered and the miles are still being clocked up.
I’m not sure about you guys, but I found the day so rewarding but also super tough. With so much else going on outside of training, my game plan for the race had been pretty simple, maybe a little too simple.
I started off well and got into my stride pretty quickly and was feeling comfortable for the first 10 miles. I was aiming for a sub 4-hour time, but secretly harbored a pre 3:45 finish, so when I caught up with that pacer I decided to stick close. I did this for a few miles but didn’t feel like I was pushing myself and that I had more in the tank, so I decided to go it alone. Lots started going through my mind, could I really keep this pace? Am I really on for a 3:30 finish?? Those experienced runners reading this will probably be shaking their head right about now as sure enough, come 21 miles, the pacers came bolting past me. I say bolting past me, they were probably only running a fraction quicker than they had been at mile 6, but too me it felt like Usain Bolt had just broken a new 100m world record.
As my pace started slowing down even more, the 22-24 miles felt like they would never end. I remember my dads parting words to me as I set off on the London Marathon 2 years ago “keep it steady and smooth son and what ever you do, don’t stop”. Those words carried me through that race and no matter how much I kept saying them over and over in mind, my legs stopped running and I stared to walk. This was the biggest mistake I could have made because after 50 meters they then began to cramp up and before I knew it I found myself on my back yelping in pain as my whole left leg seized up.
I’ll never forget that poor volunteers face as I whimpered for her to grab my foot and stretch it out. Once it started to ease, I got up and knew I had to get back to running.
Coming in down the home straight along the coast was a fantastic feeling. My family had travelled across the country to support me and made the biggest cheer, as I got closer to the finish line. As I did a couple of years ago, I puffed my chest out, lifted my knees and dug deep for that last push crossing the line in just over 3:53 – a new PB!
As well as shaving five minutes off my old time and achieving a new Personal Best, I also raised nearly £700 for the Equilibrium Foundation that helps those with Bipolar Disorder, so thanks so much for all of those that supported me.
Since the race I have been back out running, but took a little time out to dedicate all my spare time to finishing my degree, which I did last week! So, I’ll be dusting them down again tomorrow and will be back out on the local coastal trails ASAP.
Until next year, keep on running!
Moments after the London Marathon in 2010. Smiling on the outside, but dying internally!
With only 3 weeks left until Race Day, my training has definitely stepped up a hefty notch or two. After a long, and sometimes bleak winter, the sunshine of late has been a welcome addition, as has my new running partner and good friend Debbie who is also training for Brighton. Another local to the village (although originally from Sussex), Debs knows all the good runs and has kindly introduced me to a couple of new (and long) routes along the country lanes of the St Agnes Parish.
On our 18 miler last Sunday, we set off early as the sun was just popping up over the horizon and straight into a cool, but consistent head wind. As mentioned, or moaned about in previous blogs, there are not that many flat sections around here and hills have become a regular challenge in my training. As much as I curse them at the time, I’m well aware that they will help me no end on the flat roads of Brighton and as a matter of fact, I’m almost starting to enjoy them! Running through the tiny hamlets, you really start to understand the appeal of these early morning runs as it’s the perfect opportunity to get to know your local area. As we run past farms and sprawling fields, some the local residents pop alongside the hedgerows to greet us. One particularly fetching red head even decided to join us for a time, trotting alongside us and snuffling up any little snacks as she went before deciding it was too much effort and returned to the comfort of her sty. It’s these little experiences that have kept me going through all of the difficult training and cold nights and will definitely ensure I keep it up after the big day.
With the marathon so close, it starts the mind racing about the enormity of the day. I remember the lead up to London in 2010 and how the mixture of emotions I experienced as I warmed up in Greenwich Park. Whilst I may have a clearer idea of what to expect during the race, I’m by no means underestimating the task ahead and if anything, I’m actually more nervous knowing my fate! My initial reason for entering was to ensure I kept up regular exercise during the final few months of my grueling degree. Having a reason to leave the studio and go for a run has been extremely cathartic and has been a welcome break. I wont lie and say that I was chomping at the bit for every run, but its certainly ensured I have the energy to focus on my work and make sure I get some proper sleep. It’s also a great excuse to not have that extra pint.
Now the run is here, I’ve switched my focus to doing some good and have begun raising some money for the Equilibrium Foundation that helps raise awareness and understanding to Bi-Polar disorder, something that a couple of my good friends have to live with every day. When I ran London, a very close friend had just beaten cancer so I raised money for the MacMillan Trust who had been incredibly supportive to him and his family. Knowing that friends and family have kindly donated to a cause that means a lot to you is one hell of a kick up the arse (especially around 22 miles), but in reality it’s the least we can do. I’m also a sucker for a medal and my cabinet is looking pretty bare right now!
Finally, good luck to everyone on the 15th April and I hope you have the most incredible day. If you see me dragging my heels along the way, please feel free to give me a motivational nudge!
If you would like to sponsor me and donate to the Equilibrium Foundation, please follow the link below.
Superman goes face to face with deadly chopper!
Today (Sunday) was big run day so after a lazy morning, I opened the blinds to see it was a cracking day and perfect for a long road run. After a light breakfast and a little boost from a Clif Chew, I set off on an 11 miler alongside a coastal road to the seaside town of Perranporth. This is the second time I’ve run this route and it’s as hilly as it is flat. Having driven the road on numerous occasions I can assure you that the views are spectacular. But with as many calf-burning ascents as knee nagging descents, I had little time to look anywhere else other than the tarmac. Still, I managed to keep my spirits high as I ran past a signpost to ‘Goon Bell’ and then through a little hamlet called ‘Barkla Shop’, wondering just how many ales those early settlers had had when coming up with such kooky names. As I reached half way, I recharged with another gel and attacked the gruelling hill back out of Perranporth on my way back to the village.
This is when I had a brief reality check to the pitfalls of road running. After coming around yet another hair pin corner, I found myself face to face with a young Barry Sheen wannabe attempting to get his “knee down” on a motorbike. He saw me at the last minute and swerved, only just managing to keep his balance before proceeding to thank me for the gentle warning as I untangled myself from the hedge. At least I think they were thanks he shouted at me. Either way, I’m thankful to my high Vis windcheater that appears to work equally as well in the day as it does at night.
Getting to grips with my new “double life” is proving an interesting, but productive challenge when it comes to organising my running schedule. OK I’m not exactly Clark Kent, but spending a week a month in the city and the rest of the time by the coast is giving me a varied routine and one I’m hoping will pay dividends for the big day.
Last week I arrived in London and settled in before a hectic weeks work. Trying to schedule enough decent mid-week runs in on top of long days in the studio isn’t easy, but I managed two flat and fast (ish) 10k runs and to my relief, they felt comfortable. I’m not a great morning runner and as I’m currently spending half of my time in a studio learning to make clothes, I much prefer hitting the road after a long day and getting the day out of my system.
Getting the chance to mix my training up can only be a good thing. On my last marathon I did mainly flat, city runs with the occasional set of sprints on the treadmill for good measure. Now, thanks to the tough coastal runs I can already feel there’s more power in the engine when attacking the flat pavements of South London. I’m also doing weights with a 12 kg kettle bell (squats, thrusts etc) and more intense sprints outside on our steep road, which I’m hoping will build up the muscle around my knees, as they’re definitely not as reliable as they once were.
We’ll see if it all pays off in next month’s entry when I’m hoping to be closer to the big 20-mile mark. Until then, jog on!
This is my first entry for the RunBrighton Blog and I’m man enough to admit, it’s making the reality of April 15th very scary all of a sudden!
Brief introduction; I’m a 33 year old ex-magazine journalist who last year escaped the hubbub of the capital for much more tranquil climes of the north coast of Cornwall. Whilst I still spend a week a month consulting for brands in London, I happily traded the tube for country roads, overly stressed office workers for laid back students (yes, I’m also a “mature” student) and loud, trendy bars for good old-fashioned pubs. That part was not particularly difficult, swapping my friendly flat and fast park running for hilly, overly exposed coastal routes I wasn’t so ready for.
My last job, before I left the city, was on Men’s Health magazine where I worked as the Style Editor, a job that involved more than just vests and shorts you may be surprised to hear (well only just). Luckily enough for me, we also shared a floor with Runners World and a good friend was the then Deputy Editor so a rigorous schedule and an endless supply of gels meant I was as fit as I ever would be for the big day. Solo runs in the driving rain and no one for company other than the occasional seagull tells me that I’m not quite in the same boat this time. I realise this is not exactly the end of the world and I don’t expect violins (yet), but sitting here typing away and thinking about every inch of those 26.2 miles is enough to give me a stitch.
Brighton won’t be my first, I broke my duck at the 2010 London Marathon so I’m fully prepared for the mental and physical battering I’m about to let myself in for. Like some of you, I too swore that the first thing I would do when I got home that day was to bin my runners and never submit myself to that kind of torture ever again. But like most of you reading this, that feeling lasted approximately 30 minutes and a shandy later I was already planning my next race. A life changing move (both geographically and career-wise) and a wedding meant that last year was my unofficial “gap” year and that 2012 would be the year I would attempt my second, so here I am.
So how’s it going I hear you ask? Well honestly, so far, so bad. Having kept up some regular running days over the past year, I started planning my training programme just before Christmas and even took it fairly easy over the festive period, knocking out a few 5 milers here and there to get my legs back into shape. Enter the New Year and enter a nasty bout of flu that has seen me horizontal for over a week now. When I signed up for the race back in October, I had a romantic idea of smashing my previous time of 3:58 (yes, I just crept in under that 4hr barrier) and aim for a sub 3:30 time. Whilst I’m not completely discarding that dream, I do realise I have quite a long way to go if I’m going to even come close.
So less of the talking and more of the running is my first job. I’ll pop back over the next couple of weeks with an update of training, dieting and all things running – maybe even a few style tips for those interested