Brighton half 2021 and enjoying a weekend away

In times past, I would be in Brighton for the weekend several times a year- for the half marathon (usually in February) and the 10k (November time) but also maybe a last-weekend-of-the-summer-holidays trip, or a weekend in May for my birthday, or a long weekend over Easter…. this weekend we realised that we had not been down to Brighton for over a year.

We drove down on the Friday night- we did look at trains but there were the dreaded rail replacement buses on the Sunday- we got a Just Park driveway which was super easy.

Finish token, Brighton in the sunshine and acai bowl breakfast

Of course I could not resist going to parkrun. Hove Prom was the closest to our hotel (but only just)- it was heaving with people! Joe Wilkinson was marshalling and I spent a lot of the first lap wondering if I said something like “hey, you were really funny on The Last Leg” if he would then wonder if I didn’t think he was funny on Cats does Countdown…. so I just said “thank you marshal” as usual…

Andy picked us up some acai bowls for breakfast ready for when I got back, and then we went on a nice long walk to Hove and back. It was such a gorgeous day and so warm. I’d only packed thermal long sleeved tops (one for each day) and a sweatshirt, so I was boiling! That will teach me to pack lightly! In the end I changed into the t-shirt that I was going to wear for the race on the Sunday.

Of course we went to Bird & Blend- their strawberry lemonade iced tea is perfect on a warm day.

After a bit of a rest in the afternoon we went out for an evening walk (and came across a bakery piled high with vegan cinnamon buns, so of course had to buy one), and then we got a takeaway pizza from Purezza (100% vegan pizzeria and very delicious).

The race started at 9am, and they were asking people to turn up close to the start time (because of covid) which suited me fine. I was on time and then realised I’d forgotten my sunglasses (they are more comfy to run in than my normal glasses, and on the Saturday the glare from the sea made my eyes quite sore), so Andy kindly ran back to the hotel for me. This slight panic was not ideal but I was still in the pen 10 minutes before the start time (right behind Joe Wilkinson it turned out, although as soon as we started running he was off). It was a lot more spread out than usual, and I think I’d read that the capacity was about half the usual capacity to allow for more distancing. It was prompt to begin, and soon my wave were off. They did announce that everyone in my wave (2-2.15) was aiming to keep up with the 2 hour pacer, but I was definitely not one of those this year! My aim was to enjoy it, which I did.

There is always good crowd support in Brighton, but there were less people out on the course. There was one band (near to Hove) which moved from the road to the lawns so I heard them twice. I only saw the 4, 9, 10 and 11 mile markers, but I imagine that they were at every mile, and I didn’t look at my watch as I wanted to run on how I felt.  It was the traditional route of going east to Roedean, back to the centre, a loop of the centre (which I am sure is now bigger as you go further beyond the pavillion) and then west to Hove, before turning and coming back along the seafront. I decided I would try to keep the 2.15 pacer behind me, and managed to finish in 2:08:something so I was pleased with that.

The 9am start meant I had enough time to head back to the hotel for a shower before the midday checkout, and then we were off to get lunch from Leon. We actually sat inside – we chose a table right by the doors and not near any other tables, and it felt OK.

On our walk back to the car I got a pumpkin spiced latte from Bird &  Blend, and then we also passed a vegan doughnut shop so bought a couple to share once home (my first half with tea and Taskmaster- good recovery).

All in all so good to have a more normal feeling weekend.

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