Brighton Marathon Review by Maggie Campbell-Freeman

So, a sunny Sunday morning found me stood in a mile long queue for a porta-loo for the second time! Who said running isn’t glamorous! Almost two years of running have seen me progress from staggering round parkrun, puffing and wheezing to somehow lining up for my first Marathon. There were times when I ( and I suspect others too) thought I wouldn’t make it, but encouraged and inspired by so many of you wonderful Flyers here I was.

There was a party atmosphere as the Flyers family found each other in Preston Park, we saw Gill and Becs off on their 10k run and then it was time to queue for the loos. Time was running out and some made for the bushes, I drew the line at this and fortunately I just managed to make the loos in time then ran with my Marathon buddy Carol to our starting pen. Eventually we made it across the start line, with a high five from Jo Pavey (first tear of the day) and we were off! A lot of weaving went on until we found we were able to run at a comfortable pace.

The excitement really got to me – heightened each time we saw the Fantastic Flyers support team round the course, there were waves, shouts and hugs and of course, every time you see a friendly face or hear a shout you have to run that bit faster!! It was a real boost to see all the fast Flyers looping round along the way and I reckon the supporters must have managed a pretty fast Half Marathon to pop up so many times along the route.

Despite knowing I should take it slowly, I found the atmosphere carried me just a little faster than was sensible, this coupled with an unexpectedly warm day found me floundering at the half way mark. Fortunately, we soon found Captain Chaos, who had already taken a wounded Flyer (Mikki) under his wing and he nursed us round the rest of the course, with words of encouragement, some very sound advice and even a hug when I started feeling sorry for myself.

Once we got to about 19 miles there were no more looping Flyers to see, but slowly and surely we limped, walked and possibly even staggered to 25 miles, to be greeted by our wonderful Linny, more hugs and tears ensued and this gave me the boost I needed to somehow carry on, the nearer we got to the line and the more friends and family we saw, the more emotional I became.

m1We made it and the euphoria took over, medals were received, pictures taken and hugs when we found our loved ones. A stagger up the hill to meet the gang, and exchange tales of the day, more hugs and tears and a chance to recover.

For me, running with a companion helped enormously and I learnt a lot of lessons from this first attempt. I am totally in awe of our fast runners, with their amazing times, but also those who against all the odds bravely pushed themselves to a finish, Sherry and Michelle in particular and those who sacrifice their own run to help others.

All in all an amazing experience and yes – you guessed it – I want to have another go and hopefully get it less wrong next time.

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