Doing the Brighton 10k two weeks before the London Marathon was not really ever part of the training plan – however when I describe the circumstances through which I got my place you will see why I felt I could not miss out!
Earlier on this year I entered a competition on Instagram which required you to post a running related picture with a certain hashtag. The winner would receive two places to the Brighton Marathon or the Brighton 10k, free travel, free accommodation and two full sets of running gear and shoes from Saucony… so quite a haul! I entered, posting a picture of me and my friend doing the Color Run in Brighton last year, and as you have probably guessed, I won!
So this weekend saw me travel down to Brighton with my friend ready to tackle the 10k. We opted for this distance as I did not fancy trying two marathons in the space of three weeks, plus really wanted London to be my first marathon; and it was unrealistic for my friend to train for a marathon from the time we found out we had the places.
We arrived in Brighton on Saturday afternoon, collected our race packs from the marathon exhibition, checked into our lovely seafront hotel and sampled the pool and spa area. We then found an Italian restaurant which surprisingly did not have too long a wait for a table despite the hundreds of marathon runners seeking a pre-race pasta tea. The 10k race started at 8.30am on Sunday morning, and after four hours of travelling, we headed for an early night.
Sunday morning came and after neither of us slept that well, it definitely felt early. We left the hotel at 7.15am and despite the early morning sea air feeling especially fresh it was clear it was going to be a beautiful day. The 10k started away from the sea front, with the route winding its way down through the town and eventually finishing along by the beach. Standing at the start line I didn’t feel especially nervous. With the shin troubles I had been having all week I was just pleased to be able to run and had not really given my time much thought. I told myself not to push it, overdoing it this close to London would simply be unforgivable, and was really just hoping to be sub 50 minutes again - nothing spectacular but something I could mentally cope with!
The start of the race was crowded, there was no time based start areas, so I had to weave my way to get some clear running space. Once I achieved this the rest of the route and the run in general was wonderful. This was the first time I had ever completed a race outside of Lincoln (which wasn’t a ‘fun run’) and I enjoyed being surprised by the course. My legs felt a lot stronger than the Lincoln 10k and I maintained a good steady pace up until the 8km point, at which I got a little excited and thought I may just be able to record a 48 minute time. The last 2km though, when that power push was required, was when my legs failed me, reminding me that they are actually quite tired after nearly 16 weeks of longer marathon training runs. I crossed the line in 49.31 – twenty seconds faster than the Lincoln 10k, which meant in relative marathon training terms I was pleased!
The Brighton Marathon started shortly after the 10k, so after the race we headed back to our hotel, grabbed ourselves a window seat at breakfast (the bonus of the 10k starting so early meant it was only about 10am at this point!) and were able to watch the marathon runners go past the mid-way point. It was also scary that during the time we sat there we saw the elite men and women run past mile thirteen and then also go past again as they looped back towards the finish line – their pace almost unbelievable.
After checking out the hotel we headed back to the beach race village. By now it was a truly wonderful day and we planted ourselves on the beach, under the blue skies and sunshine, and in front of the giant screen that had been erected to watch the marathon coverage. We sat there for the next few hours, totally engrossed in the race. Watching the finishers filled me with so many emotions when thinking about my own marathon, excitement, fear, pride, nerves… all which reminded me exactly why I cannot wait to have the chance to complete one.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...