The Vitality Brighton Half Marathon 2017 took place on Sunday 26 February and a 9am start. In aid of the Sussex Beacon charity.

The Brighton half marathon run by the vitality group is a new race that I had never thought about running before but again like my last I was lucky with it and someone couldn’t make their race, I hadn’t heard much about it before but I heard it was a big one!

I knew this was also going to be a 16 mile day and I thought it would be a good idea to do my mileage before the race as I knew I had a 1 hour drive back to my house and there was no way my legs would be willing to do 3 miles once I got back. Due to the race being 1 hour away it meant I needed to get up at 4:15am to go for my 3 miles (a very slow 3 miles as I didn’t want to push it), get back and ready with food/fuel and change of clothes before we left at 6 to get to Brighton before all the roads closed.

The course

The start and finish of the race are on Madeira Drive, a very long funnel up to the start and for when you finished quite a bit of a walk!

Although I had read up the route before it was much different from what I had thought, I had heard that there was a hill during the race but I had never been to Brighton so I wasn’t too sure.

1-2.5 miles was a nice flat route around the streets of Brighton.

3-5 miles were up a slow and gradual hill – it didn’t look so bad but definitely felt it when you were running up the hill against the rain!

5-7 miles were the downhill but unfortunately this was against the wind, so on the bit you usually go faster it was harder because you were getting pushed back by all of the wind!

8-10 miles were fairly pleasant, it was this is the usual part where you start struggling as you’re just trying to get it over and done with!

11-13 was the best part, it felt like it was downhill and you were running along the beach head to get to the pier. It was also the part with the best view.

Parts of it I did find funny when there were traffic lights, the roads were closed off for the race but some people/pedestrians/bikers seem to think that when the traffic lights on the route turned red that they could come straight into the line of the runners. A few cyclists were quite angry as I think they expected us to stop running so they could get through!

With this said, the whole course was filled with spectators which was lovely, previous races I have done there are parts where you’re running by yourself but with the Brighton there was a constant mass of spectators which was lovely because you were always getting cheered on.

Dotted around the route as well there were drum bands which I loved, they were so happy to be out there and playing even with the rain! I managed to get a few videos as it was really nice way to keep you running.

Towards the end of the race you start picking up pace as you run past the iconic blue railings on Marine Parade, you will run past Brighton Pier (which was also quite cruel because the brighton pier never seemed to get closer!) and just past the pier you come back into Madeira drive and the finishing straight. The last 3 miles were definitely the longer, faster part of the route as you come into the slight downhill part and with all the spectators cheering you on it was actually a great finishing line.

Race day

Race day was very well run, it clearly was a big event and had being planned out to the t. I tried to get to my section but there was so many people in the section, I ended up in the section down from it (which was good for me because I was not as fast as the group I was supposed to be in)

The area was full of runners queuing for the loo, massage’s and other parts as well as being cram packed with people on bicycles, supporters and spectators, children and other sorts of obstacles.

The race also had pre-race massages and rock tape, this was really cool and I wish I had taken up the opportunity, unfortunately the queues were too big and there was no way I would be able to get into the tents but it was nice that this was offered before and after the event.

The starting pens were packed as well, although the music to pump you up was awesome, Fat Boy Slim opened the event and they headed on their way to start running. The race started dead on 9 but by the time I got over the start it was about 9:09 because it was so packed with people. They had smoke cannons and cheering as you went over the start which really brought you in to the atmosphere.

The downside to the race day was that it was miserable, it was wet, cold and windy but the event had prepared, there were tents dotted up the side and when you finished there were plenty of people giving out silver blankets in order to warm you up, plus there was enough people for when you started that it was almost like the penguin effect for the start.

They had drinks stations in miles 2, 6 and 9 and also had Lucozade Sport will be available at miles 6 and 9 and the finish line – this was something I loved! I have always loved lucozade it’s definitely one of my favourite drinks and they were literally just giving away bottles to each runner at each station. It honestly made me sad how much lucozade was being wasted because people were chucking them on the floor after just one sip, if I could have I would have gone and picked all of the bottles up and taken them home. I love it so much even if that is disgusting haha!! I was a lovely treat though, especially at the end they were giving away so many bottles of different flavours. I honestly wish I had gone back to get more!

The finish

This was definitely one of the best finishes in terms of goodies you get! I’ve never been given so many things at a finish, you got lucozade, fruit bars, nuts, yogurt and raisins and a few more, if I am being honest you could have got a few more things if you had asked and I wish I had but I’ll have to save that for the Bath. It was a long walk though once you had finished, you walked up the finishing funnel but couldn’t get out on the side, I can’t say for sure how long it was but maybe about half a mile before you could get out.

You do get a medal for finishing the day and if you want a t-shirt it was £15 for a shirt in blue or black and £25 for a hoody on the day.

My day

For my run itself, I came in 1 minute after my PB which I’m not too upset about, from around 3 miles my knee was really hurting and continued to hurt throughout the race but I pushed through. I really enjoyed 11-13 miles, I felt like this was my fastest but according to strava they weren’t my fastest splits.

I was happy with my run and I’m glad that I’ve managed to complete my 3rd half marathon and I really enjoy this distance and would be happy to keep running half marathons.

I would happily run the Brighton Half again, it was a great event and knowing the route I would know how to deal with the hill. I would really enjoy doing it again if the weather was better. It was well run, great fun and if I’m down south it would be on my list.