My Brighton Marathon

Posted by / Wednesday 20 April 2016 /
Ed
Walking from my seafront hotel to the start of Brighton Marathon early on Sunday morning, there were countless volunteers already beetling about the sunny city in a massive operation shutting roads and barricading off the course and transforming the streets into a giant running track for the day.
 
Elite athletes sprint round the 26.2 mile course in just over two hours, others hope to beat the four hour mark and some, dressed up as post boxes, telephones and rhinos, stagger over the line in about seven or eight.
 
I’d never have reached the start at all without the fantastic support, advice, gentle nudging and Christmas and good luck cards from Ruth Dean in our brilliant fundraising team who helped get me across the start and, eventually, to the finish.
Ed's Family
The run itself is a blur of sensations and snapshots - the surreal sight of looking down a hillside at thousands of lycra-clad athletes taking part in a synchronised early morning warm-up; losing myself in a crowd of runners at our starting area in Preston Park, my teeth chattering because of adrenaline, nerves and the cold; waiting to set off as the elite men glided past having run from a nearby stadium; the muddy field we tramped and slid across to the start line; the beep of watches as we crossed the start; the first crowds of supporters we met after just a few seconds’ running; shopping streets packed with spectators; sound systems blaring from houses and flats; the panda I followed for the first half of the race; overtaking a team of giant hearts; being in the midst of thousands of runners pushing themselves to the limit for hundreds of good causes; losing count of the messages on the back of runners' t-shirts saying 'for mum' or 'for dad'; the river of runners as far as the eye could see on the vast turn around Roedean School; gazing down on shimmering seas from the hilltops; seeing my family at the Action for Children cheerpoint; spectators picking out my name and willing me on - “Come on Ed, you can do it – it’s in the bag!”
 
"Every marathon runner I spoke to before the race said things really start to get tough at mile 20. And they’re right."

Ed
The last four or five miles were when the race kicked in and, as I chugged onwards towards the finish at the pier, I overtook some runners jogging, some walking, and was overtaken myself by others sprinting for the line.
 
Dehydrated and with a sickly-sweet taste in my mouth after eating nothing but energy gels for four hours, I ran on, my legs mashing up and down. But every time I looked up the pier didn’t seem to be getting any closer.
 
I looked at my watch as the pain ratcheted up and mile 24, then mile 25, inched by. Then I spotted my family cheering for me and realised the finish was just minutes away.
 
Then I hit mile 26 and was counting down the yards to finishing my first, but, I promised myself at that moment, not last, marathon.
 
 
Things I learnt running the Brighton Marathon:
 
  • Adrenaline rushes don’t come bigger or crazier than when you’re part of an army of runners crossing the start line of a mass participation event.
  • Four hours of goodwill, support, high-fives and handouts of jelly babies can help you achieve anything.
  • Feelings of relief don’t come much bigger than when wobbling legs take you over the finish line after you’ve run 26.2 miles.
  • The human body was never really designed to run that far that fast.
 
 
I've so far raised £800 for Action for Children. If you're feeling generous today, please sponsor me at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EdReedRuns 

Thank you Ed for your marathon efforts fundraising for us, you're brilliant!

Inspired by Ed to challenge yourself, sign up to one of our upcoming runs here

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