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Brighton Marathon

by Alex Kent

Brighton Marathon

Alex Kent blogs on his progress to the start line of the very first Brighton Marathon on Sunday, 18th April 2010. Update: I'm super pleased to have completed the first Brighton Marathon in 6 hours and 28 minutes - hurah!


This is my Brighton Marathon training diary. I started training round about August 2009, but one thing lead to another and by about October I had stopped running completely. I always intended to start running again by the New Year of 2010, but on my return from Thailand in the middle of January, I had a problem with my right foot swelling up from too much engagement ring shopping.

So it wasn't until Feburary that I started doing a couple of miles round Preston Park and even Claire Kenyon had to remind me I was training for a Marathon to keep me motivated.

My Brighton Marathon training diary now begins at the beginning of March 2010...

Alex Kent's Marathon Training Diary

Saturday, 6th March 2010

Went for longest run yet – 6 laps of Preston Park which is about 7 miles. Amazing.

Only problem – as soon as I got back, I started to develop a limp – in both feet!

Never had pain quite like it, the bottom of my feet hurts to walk on.

Think my Nikes aren't up-to-scratch and I'll need to invest in proper running shoes.

Met up (painfully slow walk) with my friend Kalie, who suggested that my interval training might be more energy consuming compared to just keeping on jogging. Will have to give that a go, but not for a while because my feet hurt so much that I have to crawl around the flat.

Saturday, 20th March 2010

My beautiful fiancé Claire Kenyon bought me an amazing pair of Asucs Kayano Gel 16 trainers, as recommended on The Gadget Show (5 out of 5 gadget show Gs). Couldn't wait to try them out, so went for a nice jog but only got a couple of miles down the road just past the firestation on London Road.

Slightly depressing, took forever to hobble back home.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2010

With nice trainers, I decided to go for a little jog round Preston Park – just one lap to see how feet hold up. Still a bit of pain, but I think my trainers are teaching me to run on different parts of my feet.

Wednesday, 24th March 2010

Went for another evening jog round the park and feet are working fine, though only attempted a couple of laps because didn't want to push it.

Saturday, 27th March 2010

Went for a nice long run and for the first time I decided to just keep running instead of endlessly going round Preston Park. Felt really accomplished being able to run past the spot where my foot started hurting just a couple of weeks ago. Then onwards, kept on running till I got to the sea front. Then ran all the way to hove without stopping till I got to the council offices.

Thankfully, my foot wasn't the cause of problems, but my legs were seizing up a bit, so walked up the hill to Tesco's express on dyke road. By the time I got there it was becoming apparent that both my feet were hurting, just masked by other pain.

Still felt really accomplished – to see that much of brighton and know that I ran there was an amazing feeling.

Only a 6 mile outing though – quite depressing when I thought that I'd have to do that four times on the day itself.

Saturday, 3rd April 2010

Foot has been holding up all week, so decided to go on another long run. I ran past the firestation, past the level, past the pavilion then got to Brighton Pier. It was a really hot day, so felt really dehydrated whilst running along and it was a bit of slog.

Ran to Kemptown and then back along Madera Drive, but got back to the pier and could feel my foot starting to hurt again so I called it a day and hobbled back home again.

I reckon I'd be fine at the marathon, if only my foot wasn't buggered after a few miles.

Saturday, 10th April 2010

With left foot still hurting, I decided to go visit the Brighton Jog shop today to see if they can offer a product with 'Arch Support'. Turns out, they sold a replacement insole for my trainers which seems to be quite good, called Powerstep Pinnacle.

The foot problem I think I've got is called Plantar Fasciitis.

Also met a Marathon Trainer, who gave some advice such as over-loading with water, carbs and cream cakes in the coming week. He also asked what kind of 'gels' I've been using, because they apparently give energy when your exercising.

They sounded like a good idea, so have purchased three packets.

Went for a test run, boshing one energy gel and replacing my insoles. Did two laps of Preston Park and I did have a lot more energy running up the hill. Didn't even come close to passing out as normal.

Foot started hurting so called it a day and ran home.

If my foot isn't repaired by next Sunday then I won't stand much of a chance.

Monday, 19th April 2010

The water overloading isn't going well – it makes me feel really ill! Have a got lot on this week at work, so need to cut back on water-overloading.

Have started massaging my feet, with particular attention to the left one and can feel a lot of grissly tendons running at the bottom of the foot like knotted muscle.

Friday, 16th April 2010 – 2 days to go

Annoying – have woken up with a cold! Also, left foot still hasn't healed though is much better than it was a few days ago.

Was quite depressing earlier in the day when the illness had it's biggest grip on me as for the first time I thought I might not even make it the start line.

Downloaded the Brighton Marathon iPhone app – looks like fun, might have to take it round the course with me.

On the way to meet up with Claire at Sainsburys, noticed the organisers setting up Preston Park with an ITV television truck. Aaah, it's getting serious!

Race Day: Sunday, 18th April 2010

It was super convenient living a stones throw away from the start as I rocked out of bed at 6:30, had my bowl of poredge and then the two of us headed to Preston Park. Claire was very kind to give up her Sunday morning to see me off!

The warmup made my feet hurt, which wasn't a good sign of things to come! Also, we seemed to start 20-30 minutes late which was a hell of a lot of waiting around.

So I was off and I found the first few miles easy going, but I was definitely going to walk up St James street.

When we went past the Marina, I thought to myself that I had already beaten any of my previous distance running records! The road to Ovendean was a bit boring and the Sun was starting to really bake me.

I kept asking the St Johns Ambulance people for sun tan lotion, but all they had was vaseline.

At the 10 mile mark, I couldn't believe how far I had already come, so whilst walking up a hill, I gave Claire a quick call who said she was super impressed that I had made it that far.

Shortly after that, as I was coming past the Marina when I felt my left knee go. Funny that, I had spent so much time and effort worrying about my Plantar Fasciitis injury that I just didn't see that coming.

By the time I had got to the 13 mile half-way point I was probably walking instead of running about 50%, but the crowds by the pier were astonishing. It was truly over-whelming the number of people who were out, clapping cheering and helping me to run further.

The second half of the marathon was not as much fun, because on the 16th mile my knee gave out completely and I hobbled to the side of the road. I just couldn't put any pressure on it!

I stayed there for a couple of minutes, just trying to put a bit weight on it then wincing a bit. But then I had another go and to my happiness, it took a bit of weight. So I limped in the right direction and miraculously after a couple of hundred metres I was walking at full-steam. but a couple of test-runs confirmed my running was over.

So I proceeded to walk 10 miles, chatting with a few of the other participants but the last 4 miles was an absolute mission as we were on the prominade dodging pushchairs and kids darting about the place.

It was also really hot! I knew that I was sunburnt by the way the marshalls eyeballs were coming out their sockets when they passed me a bottle of water!

I saw Claire and her Sister Aimée a few hundred metres from the finish line and it was really good to see them. 200 metres to go, I don't know how I managed it, but I ran across the finish line in an amazing 6 hours and 28 minutes.

I feel amazing, and if it wasn't for my sunburn, I'd never take of this medal that I was given.

The t-shirt I received said that it was the 2,500 anniversary since the first Marathon, so I'm super pleased I have taken part in the first Brighton marathon ever!

Now all I need to do is damned lot of healing.


Alex Kent


It's now the next morning and even though I can't walk without being in massive amounts of pain, it still makes me all emotional everytime I think about the course and all the people that came out to support us idiots running 26.2 miles in the blistering heat. The support from the crowd was amazing and definitely kept me going.

The organisers are to be commended for getting everything so right on their first time. Turning a city into a 26.2 mile race track can not have been easy and I felt supported every step of the way. Likewise, the volunteers handing out water were also brilliant as where the St John's Ambulance Service. One thing though guys, next year please could we have more suncream and less vasoline...

And finally, I'd like to thank my wonderful fiancé Claire Kenyon for supporting me before, during and after this event, for meeting me at the finishing line, getting me home and then nursing the self-inflicted quivering and broken wreck on the couch. I love you!


Posted Apr 18, 2010 by Alex Kent
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