Runners stay strong at Brighton Half
It was wet, windy and wild at the 30th Grand Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday morning (23 February) but that did not deter 8,000 strong and brave competitors from raising funds for host charity The Sussex Beacon while finishing with a smile on Madeira Drive.
In complete contrast to last year's race, when a distressed runner was helped across the line in unseasonally warm weather – read our moving 2019 story here – runners were battered by 40-50mph gusts and squally showers. There was even a safety warning issued regarding high tides and waves, advising visitors to stay off the beach!
Race director, Martin Harrigan was delighted with the efforts of the runners and the 450-strong volunteer army. He said: This started as a small, really local, community running event with 200 runners in the Marina all those years ago. Fast forward 30 years and 8,000 runners, sponsors – it's like a different world, really. Yes, we're really proud of how the race has developed and how we hope it will continue to develop”.
Reporting live from Brighton Promenade for BBC South East, Leanne Lawless said: “Honestly, I can tell you, just trying to walk against the wind here on the seafront is really difficult. You have to catch your breath, let alone trying to run against the wind for 13 miles. Both the organisers and the runners say they're looking forward to the event continuing for decades to come, no matter what the weather”. The news programme then cut to the weather forecast!
Despite the conditions there were some decent times recorded. Six men went under 70 minutes, led by Irishman Kevin Moore (Brighton & Hove, 1:09:05), Neil Boniface (M40 Crawley, 1:09:17) and Paul Martelletti (M40 Victoria Park, 1:09:40).
Top three women were Phillipa Williams (Sheffield, 1:17:55), Ireland's W35 Heather Noone (Woodbridge, 1:19:56) and Maisie Trafford (Arena 80, 1:21:10 PB) – more than five minutes below her previous best at Goodwood last year! There were 7,619 tough finishers in 4:37:38.
The Sussex Beacon Team Relay was won by Team Focus (1:32:58) from Physique45 (1:48:43) and TC Sussex (1:53:11) but the best fun name was eighth-placed Chafing the Dream!
Full results available at runABC South race listing here
Images courtesy The Grand Brighton Half Marathon on Twitter