Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brighton Marathon Reconnaissance

I decided in my first taper week to do some reconnaissance of parts of the Brighton Marathon course after doing the local parkrun 5km. As you run most of the course in both directions I could see lots of the course with minimal running, for obvious reasons I did not run the official route on the road.

In addition to my run and photos taken, I am also using the official race video of the course and GPS data from last years route (I think very similar if not the same).

Brighton Marathon Recon

Miles 0 to 5
The start to mile 5 is in the town centre which I did not check. It starts with a loop around the park (preston park) where it starts at, there are some short inclines around here. The road looks narrow so may not get into your regular pace due to number of runners. It then heads to the city centre where it loops back on itself a few times for a couple of miles. There is likely to be a lot support here in the city centre.

Photo of taken from roundabout near the 13.2 and 26 miles opposite the pier looking across to about mile 5 before heading on road behind the building on the right but this side of the road on the way out and to the finish.
Brighton Marathon Recon

It then heads east out of the city on a road back from the seafront. The seafront road has a long steady incline (slog) so I suspect the way out road would be similar.

Miles 5 to 10
From about 5.7 miles you finally get to the seafront. There is runners in both directions from here on (apart from half a mile at about 8 miles), so there should be some extra support when you at least see other runners from the club(s) you are a member of. This section has some long steady inclines to the Brighton Marina (is visible landmark along the coastline) and for a mile or so beyond it.
At about 7.7 miles you turn left at roundabout (construction work on the junction as landmark)

Brighton Marathon Recon

Before running past St Dunstans which is set on a hillside.

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

You then run through Ovingdean which is a pleasant looking village until you reach the far end.

Brighton Marathon Recon

Where there is some nice short sharp inclines in some narrow stone walled lanes, very picturesque or you may think of some other phrase. It then heads through a school (possibly only grass/trail section on the route for short distance) before heading back on the road to the roundabout, this loop (roundabout back to same roundabout) is about 1.7 miles.

Brighton Marathon Recon

You then turn left to the go up what appears to be the longest/steepest hill on the course to the U turn point at 10 miles.

Brighton Marathon Recon

If you have time to notice the scenery there is a golf course with a big windmill to the left.
Brighton Marathon Recon

You head back west towards the city.
Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

Miles 10 to 15
On the way back you can spot the marina and the pier along the coastline as reference points. It is undulating but slightly easier on the way back which is on the same road as on the way out. At the half way point there is an arch which may give your a boost along with the section from 12.5 - 13.2 miles being a decline.

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

You go past finish which on the promenade below at the roundabout opposite the pier go straight along the coast road (not in to Burger King or turn left to finish).
Brighton Marathon Recon
For the next mile or so as your are near the city centre and finish there is likely to be me support plus you also smell the fish n chips, doughnuts, fried breakfast and other such healthy food smell in the air.
From the pier there is a slight incline for the next half a mile. you then continue along the road past the burnt down west pier and then alongside a grass section before turning right in to grand avenue (statue of Queen Victoria) at the entrance.

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

Miles 15 to 20
This is an out and back section totalling about 3.5 miles. There is a slight incline when you turn right in to this road.

Brighton Marathon Recon

Which then leads in to the left turn into church road.

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

This road is a long straight road with slight incline for 1.5 miles before getting to U turn to head back along same roads (opposite site) to the Queen Victoria statue. This just appears uphill on the way out due long road an perspective however from GPS data it is a slight decline on the way out and slight incline on the way back (with a slight increase near U turn point).

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

After completing this section you turn right and again head west along the seafront road for 1 mile.
Brighton Marathon Recon

Miles 20 to 25
After 20 miles you head on to a small warehouse/industrial estate. You go through a wall (like the analogy) that a college made at 20.5 and on the way back at 23 miles. You then round a power station at 21.5 mile before turning back and now heading for the finish :-)

You are heading the opposite way to this photograph was taken.
Brighton Marathon Recon

At 23.2 miles you head on to the esplanade which is wide but slopes slightly to the right towards beach. Not sure if route is fenced off here so there is a lot of street furniture, people and dogs to dodge. Along with the multi colour beach huts you can see the west and main piers in the distance and therefore close to the finish.

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

At 24 miles a cycle path also joins the esplanade so caution may be required if they do not stop access while the marathon is on.

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

You then go through a left then right chicane at peace statue at 25 miles which looks like it is fenced off from then.
Brighton Marathon Recon

Miles 25 to 26.2
The crowds should be increasing at this point onwards. This is narrow section of road on the right had side with slight incline for half a mile.

Brighton Marathon Recon

With about half a mile to go there is a decline to the pier and then there is just the 0.2 mile to the finish which is along the flat lower level sea road.

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon

Brighton Marathon Recon


The decision is then what suitable recovery food you have, other options may be available some may even  be healthy!!

Brighton Marathon ReconBrighton Marathon ReconBrighton Marathon Recon

Other Comments

The weather started of cloudy and chilly when I started this run but got warmer near the end. Apart from the section in the town and the 3.5 mile run along the road it is on the coast line, so would be exposed to the weather elements. So kit that you could adjust would be better option but should have tried on long runs beforehand. If there is any wind it would be better prevailing from the north as there is some shelter from that direction all other direction it would not be as pleasant day.

From the email updates last year there was 150,000 supporters and 68.2% of runners it was their first marathon. So that average out at 5,000 people watching per mile I think the majority if 90% were in a square mile from the start (top left) to the finish (bottom right of area). Based on the percentage doing the first marathon if you have ran a marathon two people next to you have not, this is ratio is more likely increase the further back you are. May be worth noting when approaching aid stations, as they may suddenly stop at the first person.

I have not include details of aid stations and other race points which are on the course map and race information booklet. Which you should use the nutrition plan that you have used on your longer runs, proportionally increased for the last little 6 miles or so that you did not run in training.

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