The slightly longer Brighton Half Marathon

21 02 2012


Just setting off along Madeira Drive, proudly wearing my Parkrun 100 shirt.

Yesterday’s Brighton half marathon was my first for 25 years. The only other one I’ve done is the Portsmouth Half which I seem to remember doing in a sprightly 1hr 36 mins.

My mate Paul who was also running yesterday, took us down to the start on his Vespa. We’ve done this before for the Phoenix 10k but yesterday morning was so cold that we were frozen as we scooted to the start with 7 mins to go. Not the best warm I’ve ever done but I soon thawed out and loved the whole run. Brilliant crowds and hardly any wind along the seafront.  I got to the end in 1:47, cheerfully unaware that
there had been a problem with the course.

Today, I’ve found out that my chip time has been adjusted to 1:44:27, down from 1:47:01 . Yay, a PB! Apparently, a “misplaced turnaround” led to the course being 500m too long.  This made the total distance 13.42 miles.  Is that a world record for an athletics event? Hats off to the organisers for owning up to this and adjusting our times so quickly. Maybe, if this had happened 10 years ago, there wouldn’t have been so many runners with GPS watches to point out the error. The Facebook page on Brighton Half  Marathon is full of messages from Garmin owners!

Well I have to say I’m pretty chuffed  with 1:44 and the extra distance just means I’ve done a bit more training towards the marathon in April.  I’ll definitely do the half marathon again next year.

As for the “human error” that led to the misplaced cones, we’ve all done it and it didn’t spoil a brilliant day. Thanks to all of the volunteers and cheering public who made it such a fun event.


Two Jackals

18 02 2012

Update: Two Jackals at Concorde 2, last night.

Way back in 1985, as a student at Portsmouth Polytechnic, I would regularly see two live bands a week at the student union. Tickets were  cheap so nobody minded taking a chance on bands we’d hardly heard of.  Jason and the Scorchers stands out as one of the highlights. For a few years after I’d left Portsmouth, a mate of mine and I would meet up at Victoria station late on a Saturday afternoon and pour over Time Out magazine to pick a pub at random for live music – anything from Irish folk music in North London to Wilko Johnson at the Cricketers near Kennington Oval.

The last year has seen a modest revival in seeing live bands after years of neglect! Reading Festival last year was a brilliant day out – although at my age, a one day pass is quite enough thanks.  It’s the first festival I’ve been to since Cropredy in the 90s.  In November last year I saw The Fall play at Concorde 2 in Brighton.  Brilliant  and  Mark E Smith was on stage for far longer than any of us dared to imagine.  Coming up soon are Bombay Bicycle Club and Rufus Wainwright. Can’t wait for those.

Even more highly anticipated though is tonight’s gig at Concorde 2.   Supporting The Big Pink are Two Jackals.   I saw them play at The Green Door Store over the Christmas period and they were amazing.  I won’t begin to try and describe their music but apparently this  equation does a good job:  Two Jackals = Foals + The National + Joy Division + God Is An Astronaut.  Looking forward to it.

Should be the perfect prep for tomorrow’s Brighton half marathon at 9am.

Brighton Half 2012 and more physics

15 02 2012

Brighton half marathon is on 19th February 2012

Only 4 days until the Brighton half marathon. I missed out last year with a calf injury.  It was fairly minor on the scale of injuries some people get but it kept coming back because I didn’t give it enough rest.  Eventually, I decided to get professional help. It’s the first time I’ve had physio but it was well worth the three half hour sessions I had with Mitchell Phillips who now runs StrideUK.  I’ve been using the foam roller he suggested ever since!


The race pack came through last week and, as in the previous year, there’s no RFID tag to attach to your shoe laces. Instead, the tag is on the

Bibtags for timing

reverse of the race number.  For my geeky physics teaching brain, this is a treat as I now have a another resource to add to my growing collecting of ‘running physics’.  By that I mean the application of physics in the

design of clothing, shoes, GPS timing, etc, just for runners.  The MYLAPS ‘Bibtags’  use  Ultra High Frequency (UHF) to communicate with antennas in the detection mat. Apparently it’s accurate to +/- 0.5 s. Don’t think I’ll be too worried about that.


12 02 2012

Pretending to look warm on the Sussex Downs. Photo Paul Zara

One week to go before the Brighton Half Marathon so @paulzara and I  headed up to Devil’s Dyke this morning for a 16km circuit.  Absolutely freezing!

Brighton has virtually no snow now but there’s plenty up on the Downs and it is beautiful up there – as long as you keep moving! Got to Devil’s Dyke and came across a group paragliding. That’s not something I’ll be doing anytime soon but love watching it. Not sure I’d have the nerve to launch myself into the gloom.

Paragliding off Devil's Dyke this morning.

I’ve put myself down as volunteer coordinator at Brighton Parkrun  for the last couple of weeks and so far so good.  Loads of people have come forward to help and all nice 🙂  All of the jobs are easy but yesterday the temperature was below freezing and my handwriting got slower and slower. There must be a way to write and keep fingers warm at the same time. Any suggestions?

After the event, we sat in Hove Park Cafe, entering all the results into the laptop. This is normally a technical challenge that requires three of us to get right but things are definitely getting easier with the new software. All results were uploaded by 11am – a record!

The cafe always has great music playing ( the queues are quite long so it helps 🙂 ) most of which I’ve never heard before so I’ve started Shazamming it.   Really like this Cay’s Crays by Fat Freddy’s Drop

While I was running this morning, my son Henry was competing for Sussex (High Jump) in the regional athletics finals at Burgess Hill. Good luck Henry 🙂

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