Runners gear up for city’s half marathon as the event returns for the 28th year

DM1729291a.jpg. Brighton half marathon. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170227-142255001
DM1729291a.jpg. Brighton half marathon. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170227-142255001

Charity runners will join experienced athletes gearing up for the Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday, with 12,000 signed up to run the 13.1-mile course.

And things might look a little different this year, as the race has a new sponsor – The Grand Brighton – which means new colours and branding around the course.

The race is organised by Brighton-based charity The Sussex Beacon, which provides specialist support and care for people living with HIV.

Having started as a small event in the early nineties, with about 200 runners from local athletic clubs taking part, it has grown to become a popular and much-anticipated event in the Brighton calendar.

The elite field includes local and national runners, such as four-time race winner Paul Marteletti, who is back this year after having to pull out of the 2017 race.

He’ll be joined by previous podium finishers Emily Proto, Sarah Hill, Neil Bonniface and Kevin Rojas.

And Brighton resident and international DJ Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook, will take part in the race this year with his son Woody after sounding the starting horn last year.

He said on Twitter: “I’m running The Brighton Half Marathon for Young Epilepsy, a great charity supporting kids with epilepsy! It’s also Woody’s first half marathon!”

As well as the main event which starts at 9am, there will also be a Youth Race at 9.15am for seven to 17-year-olds, who will take to the course to run a mile.

Local businesses will battle it out in The Sussex Beacon Corporate Relay, and the Wheelchair Race returns for its second year just before 9am, when wheelchair racers will take on the full distance of the half marathon.

For spectators, there will be ‘keep warm sessions’ hosted by PureGym at 9.30am, from the terrace of The Albion Hotel by Aquarium Roundabout.

Spectators will be able to watch the runners go past four times from this point, and the sessions are designed in association with Lucozade’s #MadeToMove campaign to help the crowds keep warm and get moving as they watch the runners pass by.

The Grand Hotel is also a great spot to watch the race, and the main sponsor will have a community stage hosting live bands and acts.

Hove Lawns, where spectators can watch the runners going past twice, and Marine Drive going up to Ovingdean, the only incline in the race, are also good spectator spots.

Runners set off from the start line at Madeira Drive, making their way up to the SeaLife Centre, and then turning right towards Ovingdean. At the Blind Veterans UK centre, a sharp turn on the road before the Greenways Roundabout will bring runners back west towards Brighton, with wonderful cliff top and panoramic city views.

Then at the Brighton Palace Pier, the race heads north, past the Royal Pavilion towards St Peter’s Church.

Turning at Gloucester Place, runners head south back down Grand Parade to the Old Steine before turning right onto Grand Junction Road.

At mile 7 runners will pass The Grand Hotel Brighton, heading towards Hove and up to Hove Lagoon before turning back towards Brighton, running past the colourful beach huts of Hove, back to the Peace Statue, where the race re-joins the road for the last dash past cheering crowds to the finish on Madeira Drive.

Drinks stations will be at miles 2, 6 and 9, and Lucozade Sport will be available at miles 6 and 9 and the finish line.

Runners can get pre- and post-race massage from Sundial clinics at the massage marquee, close to Yellowave Café on the beach.

The Race Village at Madeira Drive opens at 7am and closes at 2pm, and 500 volunteers will be on hand to help to bring the race together on the day.

The race raises much needed funds for organiser and headline charity The Sussex Beacon, as well as children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House, homeless charity Alzheimers society RISE, Macmillan cancer support and more.

For more information on the race, visit: brightonhalfmarathon.com