With the last of winter finally burning off and Tam full into her marathon preparations, we decided to hijack the Brighton Marathon on the 15th April. The plan was for Tam to sneak in for a 30km training run and get a feel of the atmosphere and excitement that goes with a long race.
At short notice and with limited preparation, we managed to get a room in Pevensey, about 50 km east of Brighton, near Eastbourne. So we relished the opportunity to get out the bikes and put some much needed miles in. Despite early forecasts for good weather, we got off the crowded Brighton train to a downpour and gale force winds from the east! After finding the main road, we battled the elements, coming into our first pub after 15km to seek shelter. The wind swept up the chalky cliffs and nearly knocked us off as we battled the steep hills. After a small hole in the rain we continued on inland to Lewes, only for the weather to take a worse turn and the temperature to plunge. Our hopes of only 10 km left to our journey were dashed when we realised that it was 10 miles. Tam spat the dummy when she got a puncture and after wandering a few kilometres and stopping in a few pubs to warm up, we found a bike shop to remove the blackberry thorn and replace the tube. Braving the final 10 km to Pevensey Bay, we found the Hotel Inn and hot drinks and showers.
The Hotel Inn was a quirky pub, cheap and really good value, with entertainment from the locals who must have also been sheltering from the outside, warming with a few ales. After watching an interesting duel of the jukebox we hoped for a much better day on Sunday.
Sunday was much better for “Bright-Idea” Brighton! Tam felt a bit guilty at her guerrilla running tactics and decided to take a good 27km in Eastbourne instead. Mitch slept and watched TV. After looking at the nearby Pevensey Castle we biked back through to Eastbourne and not leave anything to chance, took the train to Brighton.
Brighton is a lot like a beach, except without the sand. The carnival atmosphere more than makes up for its shortcomings. After fish, chips and an ice-cream (all apparently things to do when making stone castles and lying on pebbles) we watched the last marathoners struggling through their last paces, giving Tam much needed motivation…
The train back to Hampton Court was long and even more crowded. The space our bikes took up drew a few looks with daggers. Mitch managed to use some family contacts for laboring the following week, even doing work with his brother. While not a full term job at the moment, he is hopeful of some interviews coming in quite tough times.
The following weekend we did manage a similar jaunt into the London Marathon and Camden Markets, with a nice seat at Parliament Square we managed to see all the leaders jostle for the premiere title. The police presence was massive following the Boston bombings, but always cheerful as we have often found the local bobbies. The event wasn’t without drama as the lead female was taken out by a wheelchair rider, while the lead male we saw got passed in the last few hundred metres for an upset finish.
We have since pulled Tam out of the Prague marathon with the expensive flights and are planning for another later in the season or year. A good chance for her to get in even more training!