Records fall during Marathon weekend

Records tumbled across the board at the Brighton Marathon Weekend which saw well over 13,000 finishers from the Marathon, BM10k and Mini Mile Races combined.

By far the biggest jump in figures came in the BM10k which saw 1,997 cross the finish line compared to just over 1000 last year.

The numbers in the main event also saw a leap forward as 9,243 completed the mythical distance of 26.2 miles from Preston Park to the finish on Madeira Drive.

On Sunday, once again the weather Gods obliged, blessing the main event with brilliant sunshine and perfect temperatures, a brisk seven degrees Celsius at race start rising to a comfortable 12C by the time the elites came in.

A strong East African presence produced a Kenyan double as Duncan Maiyo collected the men’s honours while Pennina Wanjiru claimed top spot for the women.

Though there were no course records to celebrate, Maiyo’s winning time of 2:10:15 was a personal best by over a minute and a half and the second fastest winning time ever recorded in Brighton.

Wanjiru’s 2:34:25 was also cause for celebration since this was her debut over the distance at the age of 30.

Joseph Morwood of Aldershot Farnham and District was first British runner home in sixth ahead of Swansea’s Chris Thompson and Worthing’s Darryl Hands. Morwood is the boyfriend of the winner of the women’s BM10k, Stephanie Twell.

Worthing’s Sarah Kingston clocked 2:56:01 for a personal best by four minutes to take fourth place in the women’s race and 52nd overall.

In the BM10k, the course record from last year survived but only just as Jonathan Taylor fell agonisingly short by two seconds. The Morpeth harrier equalled his lifetime best of 29:13 but failed to erase Nick McCormick’s 29:11.

For the women Twell led from gun to tape but ended 14 seconds shy of Alyson Dixon’s 32:35 from 2014.

The Mini Mile continued its success with 2,140 children between the ages of seven and 17 filling Preston Park with their unbounded enthusiasm. In contrast to their elders, there were two course records notched up in the Boys’ Under 11 and Under 13 categories.

The two-day Exhibition at the Brighton Centre goes from strength to strength with queues for the opening on day one stretching round the corner of West Street as far as the Grounded Events offices.

It was the busiest yet, with record levels of visitors on the Saturday. Several of the exhibitors reported unprecedented sales for a two day expo, with one retailer having to organise emergency stock in order to meet demand.

One of the many highlights was the visit of celebrity starter Jo Pavey, who spoke as part of the American Express Healthy Living Seminars. Jo drew a huge crowd and spent well over an hour signing autographs and posing for photographs.

The Beach Village, unique to Brighton, attracted unprecedented numbers of 60,000 enjoying the live broadcast and festival buzz while out on the course crowds swelled to an impressive 150,000. The Mini Mile, staged on the Saturday, also increased in popularity with 8,000 partisan spectators offering vocal support.

In 2014 the estimated value to the local economy of the Brighton Marathon Weekend was estimated at £6.25m. In 2015 with more competitors and visitors than ever before filling the city’s hotels and guest houses to capacity this figure is certain to have been surpassed by some margin.