“I could honestly say that without them I would not have completed my training let alone finished the race in 3 hours 22 minutes.” – Nick Hines, Brighton marathon 2011
Here I am a week on from finishing my first Marathon. What an amazing experience! Although much of the last 5 miles are now a blur and I am grateful that we cannot accurately remember physical pain, the rush of endorphins and raw emotion that accompany crossing that finishing line make the previous hours of strain fade into distant memory. All those weeks and months of training; all those hours pounding the same pavements, all those nights you have had to drag yourself out after a hard day’s work to complete your weekly mileage culminate in the overwhelming sense of pride and achievement at having run 26.2 miles.
Unfortunately the day started brightly, (although this sounds churlish running a marathon on a breezeless 21-degree day is not what you would wish for!) I woke up feeling nervous but also quietly confident. I had put in over 500 miles in the last 3 months of training, (and managed to wear out a pair of Evo’s) so I knew I had the miles in my legs. Walking down to the start in Preston Park with hundreds of other people provided further confidence. If all of these people thought they could do it why not me? Seeing the variety of charities being supported and remembering that I had raised over £2500 for the Martlets Hospice added to my determination to give the race my all.
Warming up in the park I noticed a few people looking at my shoes. Were they thinking I was crazy to be running in such minimalist footwear? Before I knew it we were lining up in our starting corrals. I was at the front of the group hoping to finish in 3.5 hours and I memorised the orange shirt the pacer was wearing. Dead on 9am we were off. At first it was hard to remember to keep my strides short and not succumb to the desire to rush off but I soon settled into a steady rhythm. The presence of the crowd was hugely uplifting and for the first few miles it was easy to forget the enormity of the task ahead.
Once we started heading out of Brighton however the crowds thinned and things started to get serious. Half a mile from turning to head back towards Brighton (11 miles in) I noticed the pacer heading towards me. I was amazed at my speed and despite the fact I had a long way to go my feet and legs were feeling fine. An hour and 7 miles later though I was really starting to feel it and we hadn’t even got to that dreaded 20-mile wall. Once again the crowd came to the rescue, especially the lovely gentlemen standing in his front garden spraying the runners with his garden hose!
Finally we were heading through Shoreham Harbour the toughest part of the race. No cheering crowds, a grim industrial landscape, the knowledge that there were another 6 miles to go and my head started to drop. My spirits were only lifted when I had to laugh at myself when I literally “hit the wall”, punching what I thought was a fibreglass construction but which turned out to be considerably more substantial! The rest of the run was pure gritted teeth and tunnel vision lightened only by a grim smile to my partner and friends as I passed the 26-mile mark. Who would have thought a fifth of a mile could take so long!
Basking in the post run glow a couple of people asked me about my Evo’s and whether I would recommend them. I could honestly say that without them I would not have completed my training let alone finished the race in 3 hours 22 minutes. The next day I was exhausted but apart from a little stiffness my legs and feet felt fine. Being the crazy fool I am I had signed up for next years race barely 5 minutes after registrations opened!
– Nick Hines, Completed the Brighton Marathon 2011