Time to believe – Brighton Marathon 2017

Shit the bed, it’s tomorrow morning. When did that creep up so quick?! One minute we’re dusting off our winter kit ready for a wet and windy season, and the next it’s a balmy 20 degrees with blue skies and sunshine.

No time to faff about feeling unprepared though, not us Agnews.

Me and Chris have got this NAILED.


Last minute running around today all done including volunteering at parkrun and getting a sneaky peek at the start line.

Race numbers picked up, dirty portion of Loaded Fries inaled and factor 30 and Vaseline / Body Glide purchased ready to be applied.

New visor bought (where the feck is my old one?!)

Quick (but brilliant, actually), £20 sports massage down at the expo done for each of us. I did have a massage with Tom on Thursday too but what can I say, I like to be thorough.

I even snuck in a lunchtime yoga class to chill me out and get me all zenned up. Except it wasn’t the meditative, restorative chill fest I thought it’d be and was actually quite a workout, with strong poses and lots of twists and downward dogs.

Now though, now it’s all done. Only thing left on our Brighton Marathon To Do list is to find Chris’ flip flops, charge the tech, lay out the kit, eat and go to bed.

So, boys and girls, here’s the penultimate She Said, He Said marathon write up from me and hubs as we head into the big 26.2 tomorrow. The last one will obvs be the race write up so stay tuned for that.

She Said: giving zero fucks

I’ve been telling everyone how undertrained, fat and unfit I’ve been this season due to life taking over and work schedules messing with my morning runs but tbh I’ve got a bit bored of my negativity so have decided to give zero fucks and run it with a smile on my face regardless.

The weather is spectacular right now in Brighton, and the whole city has been buzzing since the sun showed up a few days ago. 14-17 degrees forecast may be hard for us runners who are used to free exfoliation sessions in the driving icy wind and rain, but it’ll definitely bring out the crowds, and make the post-marathon beach-fest even more of an attractive offer.

Free ice bath in the sea, anyone?

Setting goals

As ever, I have three goals for this year, so I don’t get pissed off with myself for ‘failing’. The last thing anyone wants is to drag themselves to the finish line having been dropped by the pacer on their top time goal, so I’m breaking it down into three outcomes I’d be happy with:

They are, in ‘ideal scenario’ reverse order:

1) 4hrs30 – I’ve been training in the 4hrs30 RunBrighton group all season, so in theory the race pace of 10:20 per mile should be comfortable. It definitely was for the half, but we all know the marathon doesn’t really start for another seven miles after that, so we’ll see. Realistically I think it’ll be too fast for the full distance.


2) 4:45 – 4:55 (PB) – If I can bosh out a PB whilst being a few kilos heavier and a bit undertrained than I was in 2015 I’ll be well chuffed.

3) Get round without any tantrums / crying / hissy fits – if it does all go tits up time-wise I’ll put my watch in my Fleetfoot 3 and sit back for the ride, however long it takes. No tantrums allowed. Five hours is a long time to be pissed off with yourself, especially when 150,000 spectators are cheering your name.

I’m gonna GoPro it to make up a vlog so stay tuned for a video with the write up!

He Said: going in for the experience

I’ve been surprisingly relaxed about the whole experience until today, even though I’ve had to miss a lot of the training and adjust my goals. 

It’s only four hours or so of my life. I’ve been through a lot worse. 

I’ve done a lot of endurance feats in my life not relating to sport. I’ve worked 12hour railway possession night shifts without sleep the previous night, climbing trees and using heavy chainsaws, where you just have to carry on for one mammoth strength session. 

You’re there for 12hours, you can’t stop. You can’t go home, regardless of the conditions or how tired you are. You have to make it to the finish. 

This is how I’ll get through tomorrow, even though my foot will probably still hurt and the wheels have definitely come off my training over the past five weeks. That and the support along the course from running friends in the race and family and colleagues cheering on the sidelines. 

Lessons learned:

  1. Buy new trainers at the start of training, and probably again half way through. 
  2. Get used to the weekly sessions BEFORE the training plan kicks in – this was a shock to the system early on. 
  3. Listen to my wife (Tess edit: I didn’t make him say this, it came out of his own mouth!) 
  4. Listen to my body and don’t push on when injured in training. 
  5. Don’t set too high a goal in the early stages. 

I’ve always said start slowly, in every single race, you always feel better for it. So that’s why I’m adjusting my goals and starting with the 4-hour pacer, to hopefully pick it up if I feel I can from 20 miles. 

Yes I could have music to help me through, I love running to music, I get really involved with it. But that’s not what I want from this run. I want a marathon experience in all its painful but magnificent glory. 

It will get done, it just might not be as strong a performance as I originally wanted it to be. 

And as for ‘never doing another one’, Beachy Head, anyone??  

** Here’s Chris’ JustGiving page if you want to find out why running a marathon is so important to him 🙂 


How do you make yourself believe you can do it when the doubts creep in?