Friday, 11 April 2014

Brighton Marathon - A Spectator's View

The weekend just gone was a weekend of many-a-marathon. Paris, Manchester, Brighton… I’ve read dozens of race reports and seen hundreds of post-race photos. There are a lot of happy, achy people in the running community right now. Amongst them is my friend Alex. She ran Brighton marathon last year and signed up to run this year at the expo before she’d even set foot on the course!

At one time she’d asked me if I’d enter as well but by that time the only places were charity places and I was adamant I wouldn’t run another marathon on a charity place, especially not so soon. But I did get involved. It’s her 30th birthday next week so as part of a double celebration OH and I headed down to a thankfully dry Brighton on Sunday morning to cheer her on and join 16 members of her family for a dinner in the evening.

Inventive signs along the route. My fave was "It probably seemed like a good idea 4 months ago"
Delayed trains put pay to us seeing her at mile 5 so we headed straight to the hotel where her family were staying at mile 13, dropped off a bag and made sure we were established at mile 14 for cheering duties. We enjoyed watching everyone else going past, picking out our favourite characters including a couple of Farnham Runners (old allegiances die hard). The event app was invaluable in estimating when she’d hit each marker. I did go a bit mad when I saw her, looking on good form. The course is rather long and thin which isn’t very spectator friendly and as such most of her family stayed at the hotel but we made it to mile 18, where she was in need of encouragement and chose to meet her at the end of the finishers funnel rather than watch her cross the line. The finish village was so crowded that we wouldn’t have had time to do both. Getting to the finish involved walking the last 2 miles of the course so we were able to cheer on our favourite characters again including a Farnham Runner, Tree, Juggling Kev, Shoe, Rhino and Toilet.
Spectators require sustenance. Mega £1 flapjack from a stall outside a hotel.
It was an absolute joy to see her at the end. She’d managed a PB and looked great! We opted to head back to the hotel along the top road, rather than fight our way through the village, but by doing so we’d inadvertently kidnapped her away from half a dozen family members, including her dad, who had come to meet her. Ooops! Thankfully we found them without too much bother.

A bottle of wine, shower and change of clothes later and Alex was bundled into a cab and delivered to a lovely tapas place half a mile up the road where we all proceeded to have a fantastic meal. I made her open her birthday present from me… a circus skills workshop this coming weekend… I hope she’s recovered enough!

Happy Alex with a well deserved glass of wine.
I think it was the first time I’d been to an event purely to cheer someone on. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and experiencing the race from a different point of view. It all seemed pretty well organised and a lot of fun. As we sat in the bar after the race, recounting the experience, I was overcome with a feeling of inspired euphoria and I asked her if she was considering signing up for next year as I would definitely run with her. The answer was a resounding NO. I’m mildly disappointed. And trying to fight the urge to enter for 2015…

No comments:

Post a Comment