Now before anyone gets excited I didn’t run the whole Brighton marathon, but I paced a good friend for the last 8 miles, at least that was my intention anyway.
I generally run a couple of half marathons each year with my friend Phil, but as this was his first marathon I said I’d come down to Brighton and maybe help him out.
As we were staying at my ‘Parents in Law’ just outside Brighton we got to the start in plenty of time and I agreed to meet him around 18 miles and see if I could run along side on the pavement or something and provide encouragement, as miles 18 -26 took you a long way out West of Brighton and back and looked like it could get someone down at that stage in the race. I was wearing running gear, albeit with a few extra layersand my Camelbak , tracksters and a windproof top and of course my Luna’s.
The race started @ 9:00 and I made my way to the nearest Starbucks for tea, breakfast and to warm up as it was pretty cold just hanging about for the last 90 minutes. I reckoned I had got about 2.5 hours before Phil reached 18 miles, so I installed the neat iPhone App for the race that could tell you when your runner hit halfway, and could then estimate (on the previous 13 miles) where they were on the course.
An hour later , recharged (both me and my iPhone) I started walking a few miles West towards another Starbucks closer to the 18 mile point.
According to the App Phil had reached 13.1 miles in 1:56 so he was well on target. I watched till it said he was approaching 16 miles and headed out of my second Starbucks of the day where I had been making a small cup of tea last forever (I didn’t want to be looking for toilets and Phil).
Around 18 miles the road was very wide and I was able to stand in the middle section with runners entering and leaving this 4 mile loop off the main course, and started looking out for Phil who should be returning from the loop back to the seafront to reach the 18 mile point.
At last I spotted him (as well as a barefoot runner a few minutes in front) and as the runners were pretty spread out I jumped in alongside and began running with him!
He was doing very well, hydrated, snacking on Shot Bloks and looking pretty comfortable. We carried on till about mile 23 where I had to stop for a second to remove my windproof top (I was overheating and missing the pint of blood I gave away 2 days earlier), at that point Phil either decided to drop me, or else something “attractive” ran past him and he gave chase, either way I never caught up with him.
Looking at his splits I’m not surprised as he increased is mile pace by around 40 seconds per mile from that point to the finish.
Whilst I was looking for Phil, a runner alongside (who’s name I have since forgotten, but as his memory is younger that mine he may remember this blog address) started a conversation about my foot wear (Luna Sandals) and it was only when I looked at his I saw he was running in Vibram Bikilas. We chatted about each others minimalist footwear experiences, the sad loss of Caballo Blanco (it seemed we both met him in The Barbican talk in London last year), and the “clubmasloco” Google group that we were both members of.
We were both impressed at the 2 “real” barefoot runners we had seen in the race, of which at least one would be finishing around 4:15 I think.
At about 25 miles we stepped up the pace so he would get under 4 hrs, and I bailed out of the race at 26 miles having paced an old friend and a new one.
I met up with Phil at the agreed point beyond the finish (he was very pleased at his time of 3:44) and we made our way to the train station. We had a very welcome shower and Sunday dinner at my Parents in Law, after which I drove us back to Twickenham, and Phil then carried on home to Devon.
A good weekend and an excellent first marathon time for Phil.