I always love racing in Brighton: along the streets I know and love, cheered on by friends and on a route that is flat and fast. What’s not to love?
When my friend and pacer extraordinaire, Kev, offered to drag me round the half in a PB time, I couldn’t say no… and so found myself lining up at the front of the speediest pen ready to trust him to pull me over the line 90 minutes later.
The first few miles felt really hard. The route takes you out of the city centre and towards the Marina, along what really felt like mountains on the way. The wind was unrelenting too, and I really wondered how I was ever going to keep any kind of pace. Happily, the turn-around point came along pretty quickly, at about 4 miles, and it felt brilliant to head back toward the pier, with the wind suddenly a help, rather than a hindrance. I began to find it easier to keep by Kev’s side, and he reassured me that we were clipping along at a decent tempo. I had to concentrate so hard to keep running how I wanted, that I barely took in the crowds – they became just a hum of cheering for most of the run. As we ran out of Brighton again and along towards Hove, the pace start to come more easily and we were passing people, which was a boost.
“The next 5K are going to be tough, Drew”
We headed along the top of Hove Lagoon and down onto the seafront again and there, right on cue, was the wind. I started to fall right behind Kev again, and at one point told him to just run on without me (of course he didn’t). I ran between him and the crowd lining the prom, trying to get some kind of shelter. I really tried to keep pace, but it felt like I was just running backwards. Stronger runners kept passing me and I willed the 12 mile marker to come into view. Finally, we hit the road again and it was suddenly easier, and I gave it everything to push through to the finish, Kev willing me on all the time.
Eventually I could see the finish, and it was 600m, 400m… I could see the clock and it was just ticking over into 1 hour 31 minutes… I could make it to the finish in under 30 seconds if I really wanted to… DONE.
Not the sub 90 that we’d gone for, but a huge PB for me and I couldn’t have tried any harder.
I was on cloud 9 as other runners around us thanked us for pulling them along too. I gave Kev a massive hug, collected my chunky medal and headed back to the tent to get warm. I’m so chuffed with my time, I really am – I’ve worked so hard training for Manchester since November, and am delighted it all seems *touch wood* to be coming together.
Fingers crossed for a final smashing 7 weeks’ training and a big PB in 26.2 too!
I’m running for Mind this year, in memory of my friend Suzy, who took her own life in October. If you’d like to sponsor me, you can here.
I was given a place at the race in return for a review on my blog and on the Lazy Girl Running podcast. Thank you, Brighton half!