Brighton Half Marathon by Bosh Member Luke Ashton

Brighton Half Marathon

Being a Brightonian, I only have to cross the road, and walk down the steps to the sea front, that is the start. Today is my 2nd Brighton Half and it has 50 or so Bosh-Run members running or spectating. I think we should be part of the sponsor! We all can be spotted in our matching tech tops. Walking down the sea front towards the help desk, which is at the very end of the starting pen, near the baggage tent. I hear my name called out and see Mark and Liz from Bosh-Run group, we walk up the three of us and chat. It is great to finally meet Liz and the Robo, nick name Helen gave him, as he is a machine on the treadmill when training. I spot Lucy and Ash Bartholomew (Bosh) at the Steve Ovette statue, finally I get to meet the faces at last. I tell them I will catch up again soon as I need to get my number as it never arrived at my home address.
I hear another shout out and it is Scott and Tristan (Bosh). We chat and walk together towards the baggage tent, Scott is wearing his lucky fleece and Mizuno Evo Levitas. I stop to collect my number and they head on. Luckily Nat (Bosh) is on the desk and I gave her a heads up I am missing a number. I meet yet another group member and thank her kindly.

I head back towards the start, my friend Kelly calls to see where I am. Today is Kelly’s first Half Marathon and she has been training so well. I tell her to meet me at the statue as that is where most the group will be meeting up. I can see fellow Bosh runners, we greet, hug and all chat. I catch up with Dan, Chloe, Domingo, Lucy and Ash (Bosh support and photography today), Andy (we dig his bin liner shoulder pads), John, Tristan, Karen, Michelle (so nervous for her first half), Scott, Trefor, Mark & Liz (cute Bosh couple), Lucy & Mark. I chat to Lucy’s Mark about San Fran Marathon that they both doing, like ourselves and how excited we all are. We talk what is on my feet and he jokes why not the Luna Sandals! Mark loves to run barefoot too.
Pictures are taken and general catching up with everyone. Kelly arrives and can tell she is nervous. I tell her enjoy it and just take it easy, the rest will just follow. We all head to the starting pens. Wishing everybody all the best. I have a blue number which is 1:30-1:45 finish time. I quickly dash for last minute toilet stop then head into the start area amongst the other 7,628 runners.

Few last minute updates and texts are sent, then Garmin and Runkeeper at the ready. It is so amazingly bright and the sunshine is warming up the huge crowd waiting. I actually think my gloves will be coming off later. Countdown begins then a gun fire. The start is a slow walk then a trot until the front pack filters off, good 30-60 seconds before I pass the start line. 9:00am

Miles 1-4
7:28 6:56 6:48 6:41 (pace/mile)
Once through I try to navigate best I can through the swarm of runners, ‘Go Bosh’ I say as I pass Mark and Liz. The route heads out pass the Pavillion up the Old Steine then meeting Grand Parade, I spot a Bosh Run top and see it is Lee, ‘Go Lee’ I shout out. The route heads back towards the seafront to the Pier where it is left up Marine Parade towards the marina. So many supporters and spectators have come out to cheer everyone on. It feels like a min Brighton Marathon and reminds me how much I love my city. I settle into my comfortable pace and although I rarely run halfs I figured if I break it into four sections and increase my pace after 3.26 miles I should do ok and get a PB today. I am not sure how my legs will hold out going this much faster pace, as I have been doing a few Ultra events the last three months.
I get close to Sussex Square and make a note to look out for my friend Mani who said will be watching from the end of his road. Sure enough I see him filming, but he hasn’t spotted me yet, as I get close I shout ‘hey Mani’. He jumps and then laughs. Can’t be easy with a huge group of runners heading towards you! Next up is the first water station, the squeeze Iconiq that can be used with one hand. I remember these from Brighton Marathon last year. Very clever design once you can get the water activated. I drink most of it as feeling my thirst already.
Approaching the Marina, heading on the road towards Rottingdean, The fast front pack just start to come back to us now on the other side of the road. There are some really speedy runners in front today. I see the switch back point up ahead, lots of cheers and spectator’s shouting encouragement from both sides. Such a lift. Heading round the road cones I head on back down towards the Marina with the group. I feel rather warm now so take off my gloves and hold them in one hand. I spot Stu passing the other direction, we high five, few minutes after I spot Trefor too, thumbs up with a big smile. These Bosh tech t-shirts really do help out.

Miles 5-9
6:21 6:09 6:05 6:09 6:09
Making our way back to the Pier on Marine Parade, we pass many more supporters and spectator’s lining the side of the road. Load shouts and cheers push us on faster. I start to feel really good and quicken my pace, feeling strong.
9:40am Just reaching the Brighton Wheel, passing home to my right we have just passed the half way point and approach the Pier. I can hear loud shouts of ‘BOSH’ to my left and see Bosh HQ waving and shouting ‘go Luke’. I thumbs up with a big grin. Carrying on up Kings Road, pass many of the seafront hotels and huge groups of spectator’s on both sides of the road. The screaming and shouting is incredible. High five kids when passing. Such a great atmosphere. My pace stays pretty steady and constant here, still feeling strong enough to keep it going. I start to overtake runners who have slowed, perhaps from going out to fast. I just hope that’s not me shortly.
Already we have gone passed two Lucozade stations, I really am not a fan, if anything I feel worse using glucose sports drinks when running. My diet is so pure these days I can only handle a little sugar if that, on the odd occasion. Some more water would be nice now. Reaching 9 miles the group has filtered out and there are fewer runners now keeping up at this pace. On the Kingsway through Hove then eventually the route laps around Hove Lagoon, onto the Promenade to head back towards the start.

Miles 10-14
6:08 6:26 6:31 6:13 5:55
I can feel my pace drop slightly here and I am in need of some water soon. The view of the sea to our right looks lush today and distracts me from the cold wind on my face, I use my buff to cover myself. 10:06am Just 3.10 mile left to go. My hamstrings and calves are starting to get tight from the high intensity pace, but I just tell myself it will be over in a flash, keep it going. I slap high five’s to four kids in a row by the Babylon Lounge.
I can see the second water stop at mile 11 coming up, really could of done with one at 8 or 9 mile but then this is not a marathon, I can manage. I thank the team and squeeze away, gulping down the much needed hydration. Plenty of bins are provided, but with a few littered on the floor, a runner lands on one and it explodes, splashing back all over me. It is rather refreshing and I have warmed up enough to appreciate the shower.
At the Peace statue and West Pier the route joins the road heading back towards the start. I see the 12 mile marker and the roaring cheers and shouts of ‘Bosh’ keep my pace and spirits up. I manage to put my foot down, the water has helped and I am feeling strong enough to race to the finish. I see Lucy running towards me from the passing runners on the other side of the road, ‘Go BOSH’ she shouts with her arms in the air. She is hilarious and such a good spirit. Really looking forward to experiencing San Francisco marathon with her and Mark. ‘Go Bosh’ shout out, passing the Bosh HQ again.
I see countdown markers on the lamp posts of 800metres, 600, 400, 200, just passed the Pier and wheel. The biggest crowds and roaring of shouts on both sides is immense. I am really excited for the Brighton full marathon in April. This is what it is all about. Such an amazing experience. I run as hard and fast as I can to the finish glancing up at the clock to see the time I can make. Phew! Did it! Looks like a record personal best.
I collect my medal, orange this year, some waters and a goodie bag. I head on round the railings to watch the others coming in. I spot Stu as he walks back round. He struggled without the water too, like myself, but pleased with another PB. I see Dan who looks a little worn out but happy, another PB. As slowly all the Bosh runners trickle in, everyone seems to have made PB today! It is so great to hear all there accomplishments. With Lucy, Mark, Andy, Domingo, his lovely wife and personal trainer Katja, John, Joanne, Dan, Chloe, Peter, Mark and Liz and then the photographer and team support Lizzie, Lucy and Ash. We chat, laugh and munch yummy homemade muffins and cake around the statue, I use Domingo’s foil wrapper as start to feel the cold. More group pictures taken. We one by one say our goodbyes. I manage to locate Kelly who has met some friends at the finish, holding a big bunch of flowers with a huge grin. So proud of her achievement, and she gave it her best! She tells me ‘It’s all your fault Luke’. She says that is it, she is done, hanging up the running shoes. Yeah right. She will be back….

I Would like to thank all the amazing support from everyone in Brighton today, and to Brighton half marathon for such a very special and successful event. Big thanks go out to team Bosh-Run, for your continued support and encouragement for all runners everywhere, whether fast or slow, we certainly made it the best. Without the Bosh Run group, today would have been rather quiet. Love you all…