Close to 8,000 runners turned out to run the 29th Grand Brighton Half Marathon yesterday, enjoying beautiful, sunny and unseasonably hot weather to run 13.1 miles around the city, taking in the sights along the way.
The organisation had encouraged runners to use the park and ride into the city, which worked well, and the runners gathered on the start on Madeira Drive on the sun-filled seafront.
The wheelchair race set off just before the runners, who set off at 9:30am, and the route stayed mostly along the seafront and passed famous landmarks such as the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Pier, West Pier and Brighton Marina, Hove’s colourful beach huts, and the British Airways i360 observation tower.
The organisation of the race was fantastic, from the race village, baggage area and cafes, to plenty of toilets, to Heart FM getting the runners fired up and ready to unleash their inner Rocky! RunBrighton also provided a team of pacers, from 1hr 30mins right up to 3 hours. The organisers also did their best to remain environmentally responsible, providing fully compostable cups for the first time at the three water stations around the route.
Runners were also taking part in the Sussex Beacon Relay, where teams of four runners each completed 5k.
Blue skies and temperatures into the high teens were a shock to the system and took their toll on some of the runners, but they were great for the supporting crowds. The route was very flat and fast, with panoramic sea views, super crowd support, sea air, and the first real sunshine of 2019!
Passing mile 7 all the runners got a huge boost, The Grand Brighton Hotel, who are headline sponsor, had a community stage filled with local talented singers. The route was great for supporters, with many chances to see family and friends taking part. There were plenty of crossing points and marshalls to help too.
Runners were provided with foil blankets, water, banana and a beautiful medal once crossing the finish line. Another great touch was that just minutes after crossing the finish line a text message was sent through giving you your official finish time.
The men’s elite race featured a podium of Pauls – Paul Navesey took first place, setting a new course record in a time of 64 minutes and 56 seconds; followed by last year’s winner and Irish Olympian Paul Pollock, in 66 minutes and 35 seconds; third place went to four times race winner Paul Martelletti in 67 minutes and 6 seconds.
The women’s race was incredibly tight, with Fiona de Mauny storming home in 80 minutes and 26 seconds, narrowly beating Emily Proto, who finished in 80 minutes and 46 seconds. Third place went to Rose Penfold, in a time of 81 minutes and 20 seconds.
The Sussex Beacon Wheelchair Race also returned, with six entrants from around the UK racing. Paralympian Tiaan Bosch smashed the course record with an incredible time of 53 minutes and 27 seconds. Jazz Turner, was the first female finisher, in 1 hour, 50 mins and 21 seconds.
The Youth Race found a new home this year on Hove Lawns, and was started by Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion. Over 300 children between the ages of 7-17 completed the one-mile course.
Race director Martin Harrigan commented:
“What an incredible race we had today – stunning weather and two amazing new course records set by Paul Navesey in the men’s race and Tiaan Bosch in the wheelchair race. But, the biggest shout out must go to all the amazing runners, families, spectators and volunteers who turn up every year and make The Grand Brighton Half Marathon such an incredible event! We couldn’t be more grateful to you all. I would also like to say a huge thank you to our headline sponsor, The Grand Brighton hotel and all of the other sponsors and charities who support this fantastic event.”
The race is organised by The Sussex Beacon, a Brighton-based charity which provides a range of services for men, women and families living with or affected by HIV across Sussex.
Find out more about the race at their website.
See the full results here.