In short: Brighton Marathon 2016 - Enjoyable But Could Have Been Better In full: Most of the comments already made I would concur with - Cons 1) Race is too expensive 2) Stupid having to queue for an hour in the open to get your number (fortunately it wasnt raining) 3) Needed some sort of mat at the start - heaven knows what it would be like on a really wet day 4) Not enough toilets at the start. 5) The corrals at the start all seemed to be the same size which was daft. I was in the 3hrs to 3 to 30hrs which seemed relatively empty yet the next one down was packed out and people were queuing outside 6) The water bottle issue at the end was a joke. One small bottle and I was told this could be refilled from a tap! No idea where these taps were and no energy to search for them. 7) Goody bag was rubbish - not good enough for an expensive marathon. 8) When I originally entered on line I selected the second group corral. My training went well so I went in and changed it to the red one. Then when we arrived we just joined any queue and were asked what corral we wanted to be in so what was the point of entering it on the web? I then wasted my time in altering it. 9) Agree the power station bit is dreadful 10) Village got absolutely rammed. The organisers really need to look at a way of improving thoroughfare 11) Agree the bags for your kit were far too small. On a wet day it would have been impossible to get your gear in them Cons 1) Great course for a PB (I smashed mine by 35 minutes) 2) The Brighton crowds are second to none. Brilliant encouragement 3) Volunteers are superb - all seemed to be enjoying the day and deserve a huge thanks. 4) Most of the course is really scenic and great to run by the sea. 5) Collection of bags was brilliant - no delay whatsoever 6) The app to follow runners was much appreciated by my family. 7) It may have helped that it was a sunny day but the general atmosphere was superb - Brighton was in party mood! 8) Loads of water stations & gels available. No complaints from me there or with paper cups. I have entered that this is one of my all time favourite races but this is probably a biased view based on the unbelievably crowds the superb weather and probably because I smashed my PB ! Date of review: April 19, 2016
In short: Not outstanding - but I liked it In full: I agree with all the comments here - but nevertheless enjoyed it. Sunshine, seaside, good crowds made up for some of the shortcomings. Of which there were: 1) Silly queues to get into the expo. I would probably still have travelled to arrive on Saturday, but could quite happily have done without an hour or more simply standing there to collect my number. I see why you would like the Expo to create some extra income, but posting out the numbers would just make life so much easier... 2) Toilet queues at the start? I don't think I have ever seen them that long before. I am sure grass and bushes will grow extra green over the next few weeks, due to lots of extra biological plant feed... 3) The mud bath at the start - what on earth was that about? OK, it all fell off shortly after the start - but this was a dry day! Needs some kind of covering. 4) The course - yes, the first half is hilly-ish, but actually not too bad, and at least interesting and scenic. The second half - flatter, but not that scenic. Certainly could have done with more sea views (bearing in mind this could also mean a strong headwind on not so gloriously sunny days. 5) I liked the Beach Village. But getting out gingerly stepping over the shingle beach was a challenge with marathon weary legs. 6) Kit bags - yes, please, back to bigger ones next year...
Atmosphere - lovely. Yes, there were quiet spots, but I quite liked that. 26.2 miles of cheering can get a bit tiring. Having some quiet bits, and then more cheery crowds for me was a good mix. I also did not mind the papercups. I thought there were sufficient water stations to allow one to just have a few sips each time. It certainly worked for me. More water at the finish would be highly appreciated. The little bottle was not enough - and the kit bag did not offer sufficient space to bring your own. I quite liked the out and back bits - to marvel at the front runners, and also seeing those still behind, and cheering each other on. overall: I enjoyed the race. Yes, a few things which could make it even better, but overall, an enjoyable weekend at the seaside was had, and I would certainly consider coming back for more.
In short: Excellent crowds, rubbish organisation. In full: As others have said this could be so much better. The crowds are outstanding and could not be more supportive. But and its a big but, the farce with having to collect numbers the day before, lack of toilets, stupid paper cups, single small bottle of water each at the end, just a single catering van at the start (what's that all about)crazy finish organisation and dull dull run round the harbour area towards the end, make the whole thing a misery. So come on Brighton do the terrific supporters and runners proud, use the postal system and save on all the pollution caused getting 16,000 people to drive into town to collect a number and change the start to the Amex stadium that has additional toilets and is on a hard standing and kiss of the stupid loop around the harbour, get a grip of the catering and toilets and you could have a really good race. Date of review: April 18, 2016
In short: Fourth time I have run this, still has a great atmosphere but starting to get a bit expensive. In full: I ran this in 2010,2011 and 2012 and thought it was a fantastic marathon. So to come back in 2016 there were a few disappointing things: 1. Paper cups for the water, only half filled and most of it went over me unless I stopped. Also not great for helping to swallow energy gels. This is the first time I have ever encountered it on marathon. 2. Sports drinks, previous years I ran Brighton they have Powerade. This year it was a half a cup not sure what and again most of it I spilled. 3. Kit bags, what a joke could hardly get anything in it and it was lucky that the weather was good.
It seems that these maybe a cost cutting exercise for which a getting to be a expensive marathon. It's shame because it has great organisation, the crowds are magnificent, the volunteers are very enthusiastic and I absolutely loved the beach village at the finish. Date of review: April 18, 2016
In short: Fantastic crowds, reasonable race but could be so much better In full: Superb crowd support, the people of Brighton did themselves proud as did the water/gel stations. Paper cups were a pain, personally I have to walk to drink from them else lose most of the fluid down my front. The weather was great and overall I enjoyed the run. I agree that it is crazy you have to collect your number a day or two before, just makes an already expensive run even more costly for non-locals. The toilets at the start were a joke, far too few with huge queues, and the start corrals were located in a mud bath. Course is ok, more hills than expected but nothing too severe, crowd support was awesome, except for the section out towards the power station around the 22/23 mile point just where you really need support there was almost no-one there (except for knackered runners). Home straight was great loads of people and support, then the hell that was the finish village. Imagine 10,000 runners and their supporters trying to reunite in an area roughly the size of 2 or 3 average back gardens, and you get the idea, complete gridlock, I had to get out and make my way along the shingle beach (painful after a marathon) far too claustrophobic in there for me. Do it again? not sure, still trying to get over the finish village, maybe will look around and see what else is out there. Date of review: April 18, 2016
In short: Great place, outstanding crowds but a few gripes In full: The spectators at Brighton were sublime - I have only done a couple of marathons before (not London but both were bigger than Brighton) and the words of encouragement, the screams, the whoops, the drummers the charity teams (who cheer on everyone!) and well just about everyone at this event just seemed to be one louder than the others.
The city centre part is great and the run out past Roedean is good/very scenic but I could have used some music on this part as supporters were a little thinner on the ground and the runners started to spread out.
The run back out through Hove is good and again the supporters were great at this stage, but from mile 19 up to 23 the run is fairly industrial with fewer crowds and although you are close to the sea you don't really see it - if they could sort out this part it would make it a much better race.
The final few miles along the seafront by the beach huts are pretty good, but when you get back up onto the main road along the front the finish is absolutely brilliant.
On the organisation front, I was glad to have an Amex enclosure pass for the start as the toilet queue was shocking! It was pretty muddy in the start area and a lot of people had carrier bags for their feet, but in reality the mud caked onto my shoes was gone within a few hundred yards.
I've signed up for next year so it can't of been to bad! Date of review: April 18, 2016
In short: Good but not memorable In full: This was my 7th marathon, but first Brighton. Overall, it's a good race - but it isn't "London-on-Sea". It's a shame that the organisers don't seem to have taken anything on board from last year's reviews and seem more interested in cutting costs than in taking the race from good to great. Let me start by saying that I didn't have a great race. I got tripped at the water station at around 14 miles and couldn't regain my pace, and from 18-22 miles really went backwards. Still managed to finish in a respectable time as I'd flown through the first half so reasonably happy, but there are a number of things that could make this race so much better.
1. I'm not sure why the race packs can't be posted out. I understand why you have to collect them in person at London - but this isn't London. It's not a big city that's easily accessible from all areas of the country and it's frankly annoying to have to either travel to Brighton twice, or incur extra expense by having to stay over for two nights.
2. I really liked that runners were able to choose their own starting corral. I think in the main most people were honest about their likely finishing time and this was a nice touch which worked well.
3. The kit bags were FAR too small. And to be sent an email the day before the race advising this was poor. We were lucky that it was a dry day because the bags could not have fitted in a spare pair of trainers - and the worst thing after a race when your feet have got wet is to be unable to change into dry shoes. My kit bag fitted (at a squeeze): jogging bottoms, long-sleeved top and thin fleece. I'm a small person so my clothes are small. Bigger people would have been able to fit in less. Poor.
4. Toilets. Every review I've read has mentioned the lack of sufficient toilets at the start. We arrived at the start with over an hour to go and the queues were already right across the park. Which left no option but to pee in bushes or behind trees - because frankly I wasn't willing to waste an hour in a queue only to need to go again 25 seconds later. Come on organisers - sort this out!
5. The start entailed walking through thick, cakey mud. Clearly previous runners of this race knew this as they had plastic bags over their trainers. The rest of us were trying to bang off 3-4cm of mud against the barriers as we moved towards the start line. Not great. Needs one of those criss-cross matting systems to stop the ground become wet and slippery.
6. Water at the water stations was in cups, despite many complaints about this last year. Having read the reviews, I took my own water bottle. It's impossible to adequately hydrate from a cup - most of it ends up all over your face or down your front, or you inhale it. Small bottles would be better - but these cost more money. Go figure.
7. The course is NOT flat. didn't pay as much attention to the profile map as I should have done - the first half has quite a lot of short, sharp climbs and some gradual long ascents, which are barely perceptible at the time but really take their toll on the legs. I realise that it's difficult to work out a route that doesn't involve massive hills, given the proximity to the South Downs, hence having to loop out both sides of Brighton and then back in again, but both the 15-18 and the 20-23 mile sections were SO dull. In particular the power station - the lack of crowds didn't bother me that much but it was hot, there was nothing to look at and the smell of rotting fish was revolting.
9. The atmosphere was great - the sunshine definitely helped, but everyone was really friendly and encouraging.
10. I liked the finish and this was generally smooth - nice having the repatriation area on the beach too.
Overall, the race was well-organised but little touches would have made it that much better for the runners. I think the entry fee is overly expensive for what you get and even on a lovely sunny day, sections of the course are pretty tedious and unimaginative. But that's the trade-off for keeping it relatively flat. I enjoyed it, but not sure I enjoyed it enough to do it again. Date of review: April 18, 2016
In short: good but has its problems In full: This was my first marathon but I've done a lot of other running races over the years. The first half is great but the second half is dull and monotonous which is a shame. What annoyed me about this race is the fact you have to collect your number on the Fri or sat before race day which is very inconvenient. This is just to get you spending money in their race village but adds massively to the race cost in petrol or extra accommodation. Please post the numbers! Also there are not enough toilets at the start, in fact it's a complete nightmare, I queued for 40 mins and only just made my wave! That made the hour before the race even more stressful than it would have been anyway. Not happy. Also fed up with all the marketing hype whilst waiting for the 2016 places to go for sale. One week places are open, then they are closed then they are opening again. For gods sake stop trying to create a frenzy and put the places up for sale! It's all very tedious once I've done this race a second time I will move to smaller less faffy marathons. Date of review: September 29, 2015
In short: great atmosphere good scenery (for most of it) and good organization In full: I like others would like race numbers sent out as getting to the expo means having to spend night before in brighton and as I stay on the night of the race it works out a very expensive weekend.and talking of expensive why so much to run it? Especially when london is only £37 (I think).apart from the above points I love this race and the crowds are fantastic.I seem to he in the minority here but I thought the cups were a great idea no problem at all drinking out of them all that was needed was to squeeze the cup to make a funnel.and to finish on what a fantastic place to celebrate with friends and family on completion. Am definitely back next year Date of review: May 17, 2015