RACE REPORT | Brighton Half Marathon 2017

OK so it’s a bit late and no one cares any more but we’re writing this anyway. Me and Chris haven’t blogged together for a while so we thought we’d share how last Sunday’s Brighton Half went for both of us. The Brighton Half is basically my fave. It’s all the best bits of the marathon without any of the pain. 

Catch up on previous years’ blogs:

Brighton Half 2013

Brighton Half 2014

Brighton Half 2015

Brighton Half 2016

This year was a bit different as for the first time ever I chose to run it at marathon pace instead of going for a PB, and also Chris has the bigger picture to think about this time as he’s popping his marathon cherry at Brighton in five weeks. 

SHE SAID – Tess’ 13.1

For me, the half was a lot more fun than I thought it was gonna be. My marathon training hasn’t exactly gone to plan this time round, I’ve been mega busy in work and in life and my changing schedule with travel has messed with my routine. 

The week before we both had a really difficult long run, 14miles for me, 17 for Chris, on flat, seafront tarmac in Worthing. In theory, it sounds great, and is actually not too different from Brighton Half in terms of terrain, but in practice it was hell, marred with painful feet for Chris and angry, cramping legs and blisters for me. 

I never get blisters, but this season they’re everywhere dammit! Behold my blister solution:

Half Marathon survival pack from Wiggle 🙂 

I hadn’t ran all week of the week leading up to the half due to my legs not being ready til Wednesday. That’s my fault for not being consistent with my strength training and recovery. 

Then my work schedule changing my planned runs again, so instead of the usual PB effort (sub2 will have to wait), I went into the race planning to run 10:20 marathon pace to make sure it was comfortable. 

The way my knees have been recently made me nervous – I wasn’t sure if I could even run marathon pace comfortably but I taped the fuck out of them and put my positive pants on to give it a good go.  

Our mate Norman 🙂  (who smashed his PB) 

As we arrived the grey clouds and 18mph winds did their worst but couldn’t dampen the already buzzing atmosphere. We dropped our bags in the press tent, met the lovely Sarah from Goldilocks Running got a little too excited about the VIP loo and post-run pastries/bacon sarnies before making our way to the start. 
As we stood in the pens waiting to go, Fatboy Slim Right Here, Right Now blaring out nice and loud, I forgot all my worries about my training and knew it would be ace. 

I had people calling my name, getting high fives from kids around the course, and full on entertainment, chats and giggles from RunBrighton Ambassador-come-2hr15-pacer Daz and the crew. It was like another RunBrighton long run, only with a few thousand other people to run with and cheer on. 

Daz and the awesome RunBrighton pace crew

It was the first time I didn’t wear my earphones, and I feel like I soaked up so much more from the day. I usually have one earphone in to keep me going and still hear the crowd, but my amazing JABRA earphones are too fat and snug to have just one in. 

I’m now deliberating whether to go ‘naked’ for the full marathon too – but I guess that’ll depend on who’s around for a chat… 

Miles 1-3 were spent waiting for the knees to warm up and legs to get into their rhythm. We were bang on pace and sailed up the ‘hill’ to Ovingdean. I love how all the mental hills we run make these little inclines feel so easy. 

I looked out for Chris and cheered him and others I knew on before the turnpoint at mile 4. The knees warmed up and I felt great, kept pushing ahead and had to slow myself to get back with Daz and the 2:15 crew. 

Marathon pace. Must run at marathon pace. 

I sailed back into Brighton towards the pier and what would be Panda Bridge for the full marathon (one of my favourite parts of the race), enjoying every step, chatting, chilling, nice and comfy, maybe actually a bit faster than marathon pace until about mile 9 when I slowed but only to just over. 

At the 10mile turnpoint I reeeeally wanted to just push on for a strong finish so with the blessing of my RunBrighton buddies stormed off for three glorious negative split miles, coming into finish at nearly threshold pace. 

I felt like superwoman overtaking everyone, like there was a rocket on my back. My legs were feeling it but I just ploughed on, feeling strong, finishing in 2:11:11. It was just the confidence-boosting race I needed. 

It’s such an amazing feeling to finish a race like this. There’s a lot to be said for really holding back in the early miles to turn the gas on for the final push. 

I did this for the last time I ran an epic, awesome Brighton Marathon in 2015 – held back (maybe a bit too much actually), and had loads left in the tank for the final three miles. 

This is how I want to run it this April but I’m not sure I’ve done enough consistent training so we’ll see!

Things learnt: 
1. 10:20 marathon pace is definitely comfy (for 13 miles, anyway) 🙂 
2. I don’t *have* to have my earphones to hand for every race
3. Holding back to smash the last few miles is a WINNER
4. Fatboy Slim is a dude 🙂 
5. Best bit of Brighton Half this year: having Chris cheer me in over the line from outside the press tent 🙂 

**Massive big ups to Sarah for smashing her PB whilst ironman training. LIKE A BOSS. Read her race recap here

HE SAID: Chris’ 13.1


Tess asked me one word to describe my half marathon, and this is it. Before we go into why, I need to explain my training for the past couple of weeks as it’s been a while since we’ve blogged. 

I am a marathon runner. I must run. 

I’ve had a shit few weeks due to dislocating my shoulder and missing three weeks of training. I went back into training for a 2.5hour long run on tarmac at 8:20min/mi. My group went out a bit too fast and I spent the remaining hour and a half fighting to keep up with the 8:20 pace, eventually giving up with a pain in my left foot, which was a real blow to my confidence. 

Not impressed after our painful long run

I put this down to my ridiculously old trainers which Tess has been telling me to replace for ages but I haven’t got round to yet. When two other RunBrighton ambassadors took one look at my shoes and told me to throw them away and go shopping that day I finally started looking. 

So fast forward to Sunday’s race – there I am on the start line, brand new trainers, having never worn them before, nor ran in this brand previously (Adidas Boosts, for the record) – what could possibly go wrong? 

Before the race when we were planning our paces, we realised that my planned marathon pace in the group I’m training in, is actually my half marathon PB… so yeah, I’m probably in the wrong training group. 

The stage awaits…

But, I am a marathon runner. I must run. 

All these negative thoughts were with me on the start line, and I knew from the get-go that I couldn’t keep up the pace so went out slower, not getting caught up with the other stress heads getting stuck behind slower runners in front. 

It all works itself out – you can always make your time back at the end. A slower start is always better – you’re more likely to finish stronger, and there’s no point in weaving, so I chilled out until we got to mile 3 and caught up with a guy in my RunBrighton group feeling great as we chatted along. 

Eventually I kicked off away from him into the wind which wasn’t really that bad (we’ve trained in horrendous seafront conditions before so this was pretty mild in comparison) and started getting into my stride. 

At miles 4 and 5 I was bang on marathon pace so continued on until mile 6 when my foot started to hurt. At first it was the same pain as last week which I knew I could handle so ran on, but then another pain started elsewhere in the same foot and it all went tits up. 

Stupidly, as stubborn as I am, still looking at my watch, I allowed myself a moment or two to have an easier pace, but stopping was not an option. 

I am a marathon runner. I must run. 

I carried on at 7:30 marathon pace knowing the remaining six miles were doable. 

At the turnaround I knew it was just a parkrun in it, and with the tailwind, I pushed on harder through the pain in my foot for negative splits to get back what I lost at the start. 

I was on a good parkrun pace, overtaking people all the way to the finish and was puffing, but able, although my foot still really hurt quite bad.

I am a marathon runner. I must run. 

The crowd were amazing and when I saw that the time on the finish line was a PB I sprinted even harder for a strong but painful finish – coming in at 1:36:33 

Things learnt:

  1. My foot still hurts. But not as much. 
  2. It’s not broken – just tissue damage. Time to cross train!
  3. Don’t buy new trainers of a brand you’ve never tried and then run a half. 
  4. I now know that I couldn’t continue my planned marathon pace for another 13 miles so… 
  5. I’m gonna have to adjust my goal from 3:15 to a comfy 3:30 marathon. 
  6. Despite knowing this, I’m not changing training groups as I’m stubborn and I like a chat with the lads 🙂 But I am gonna cross train for the next week. 
  7. I am a marathon runner. I must run. 

Find out more about Brighton Half Marathon and sign up for 2018.


Do you run races as training runs, 

and do you ever run through pain? 

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