Today was the big day. The day that I have been training for, through wind and rain and the occasional spot of sunshine. Today was Brighton Marathon Day and, most importantly for me, the day of the inaugural BM10K.
It was to be an early start for the 10K runners, heading off at 8:30 am, 45 minutes ahead of the Brighton Marathon itself. As usual, the organisers recommended that we arrive an hour before the race to give enough time to drop our bags off at the baggage truck and make use of the porta loos.
The start line was in Preston Park, about a 30 minute walk from where I live, so I had to make sure I was up and out by 7:00 am to give myself enough time. I had packed my kit bag the night before, including a waterproof jacket as we were forecast for rain.
When I left the house, I was happy that the rain seemed to have stopped for the most part – there was a little bit of drizzle, but nothing to worry about.
Everything went pretty smoothly at the park. After finding the correct baggage truck for the 10K, I had plenty of time to wander around and have a good stretch before heading to the start line.
There were about 1,500 of us doing the 10K, which was nice as it meant that no one had to start too far back, and the atmosphere was pretty friendly. People were chatting to complete strangers as if they had known them all their lives.
After a few minutes of hanging around the start line, we were introduced to our official starter, none other than Paula Radcliffe herself, who wished as well and clapped and waved as she sent us on our way.
As I expected, my plan to run the first 5K at a 6:45 minute per kilometre pace went completely to pot. I set off much faster than I should have and, despite the fact that it was pretty crowded for the first couple of kilometres, struggled to keep my pace down.
That being said, the quicker pace felt ok. I was pretty relaxed and really just enjoying being able to run through the streets of Brighton without having to worry about the traffic.
There was, however, somewhere between 4 and 5 kilometres, as real bastard of a seagull who seemed intent on bombing us. Luckily though, we were all a bit to quick for him and managed to reach the 5K mark completely unscathed.
At 5K, I checked my time and saw that my pace, although a still a little quicker than I had planned, had eased off a bit. This was a good thing as I wanted to preserve some energy for the second half and try to pick things up for a strong finish.
At this point, the rain started, which was perfect timing as far as I was concerned. It didn’t last too long though. Just enough to cool me down a bit as I picked up the pace a notch or two.
Although I was quite near the back of the pack, I noticed that I was starting to overtake some of the runners in front of me. I didn’t want to push it too hard, but just allowed my pace to creep up enough to pass them and keep going.
The crowd support on this final stretch along the seafront also really helped. Even though most people were probably out to see the marathon itself, their clapping, cheering and shouts of encouragement gave me a much needed lift as I ignored the pains in my legs and ploughed on.
With only 1 kilometre to go, I was starting to feel pretty tired. I knew the finish line was close, but I still couldn’t see it. Part of me wanted to start kicking, but the other part of me wasn’t sure. I didn’t have much left in me and I wanted a strong finish, so I tried to keep it steady until the clock appeared around the corner. And then I went for it!
I didn’t exactly sprint to the finish line, but allowed my legs to just go steadily faster and faster until I crossed the line.
I checked the time on my Garmin and it looked like a new PB, but I wanted to wait until I got home to check my chip time. And, sure enough it was. 1:06:10 on the clock and 1:05:20 on the chip. Either way, it beats my old PB hands down! And, to celebrate, I get this lovely shiny new medal and a BM10K finisher’s t-shirt!
Although my race experience is very limited, I have to say that the finisher’s area was absolutely brilliant. As well as getting our medals and t-shirts, we were also given water, a pack of Belvita Breakfast biccies, a banana and a bottle of Gatorade to help rejuvenate us after the race.
So, would I recommend this race? Absolutely! Will I do it again next year? Well, that depends. If I’m not doing the marathon, then yes. Either way, I’ll definitely be running a race in Brighton this time next year!