The South Coast of England is a beautiful place; with the rolling hills of the Downs and the brilliant white cliffs overlooking the sea - it's a runner's paradise.
Living in Brighton I get to run along the seafront and over the Downs whenever I want. My favourite route is along the city's undercliff path to Rottingdean and back over the cliffs down to Brighton again.
The first time I discovered the undercliff path I took so many photos I had trouble actually calling it a run at all.
But the undercliff path's got nothing on the Longman10 route. Nothing at all.
Running along the tops of the cliffs in Eastbourne for the Longman10 was an experience I'll never forget.
I know that sounds stupid - it's just a race, it's not exactly gonna change my life, and I live down here, I've been to Beachy Head plenty of times before.
But mix a beautiful view with a (really) tough run that you have to work for in order to be rewarded with it - that's magic, that is.
It's the kind of run where you're gasping for breath, and your legs are burning, and you try to run but you just have to walk some of the steep, rolling hills because it's like someone's picked up a carpet of grass and shaken it out like a duvet.
The kind of run where it's OK to stop and take photos just so you can catch your breath, and you question your sanity but know in your heart why you entered - if it's not a challenge, what's the point?
The kind of run where you're praying for it to stop but hanging back on the flat to reserve energy for the next relentless climb; watching in awe at those who plough on past you; laughing and joking with those alongside you.
It's bloody good to be alive, guys. This is why we run.
Just another race report
I underestimated just how hard this race was gonna be. I'd done lots of hilly long runs up the Downs with RunBrighton - in the wind, rain and driving hail, with screaming hamstrings and chattering teeth. I've climbed Ben Nevis, albeit with a very painful descent.
So 10 miles of hilly trails? Bring it.
Then I saw the first hill...
|The first hill to get to the cliffs!!|
I didn't know what I was gonna write when I sat down to do this 'race report'. I never really know what I'm gonna write until I start to type, and it takes me bloody hours to hit publish sometimes - but this was easy.
I'm not gonna tell you about how seamless registration was (it really was), or how annoying the late start was (we didn't know at the time the reason was it was too foggy on the cliffs so they had to reposition marshals so we didn't run off the cliffs!).
I'm not gonna tell you about the great atmosphere, perfect weather, and brilliant medal with a free Longman10 tote bag and technical t shirt with a hot chocolate protein drink to finish.
I'm not gonna tell you about the epic support of a good friend and run buddy who got me to that finish line even though I kept saying I didn't have it in me.
|What a way to break in the 2015 race calendar :)|
I'm just gonna go back through my photos and hover over the Beachy Head Marathon entry page instead...
What makes a great run or race for you? If you could give one reason why you run, what would it be?
Longman run a series of challenging (and beautiful!) trail runs across the South Downs - find out more and enter here.