In short: Expensive and you have to collect your race pack in person the day before the event In full: +Great crowds +Great for spectators - around Hove they can see you multiple times +Good atmosphere +Flat course +Weather always seems to be nice
-You have to travel to Brighton the day before to collect your race pack, they refuse to post it out -Expensive, and it feels like they are trying to wring money out of you -Finish area is an anti-climax if you aren't running for a charity - it's more a tarmac cattle corral with no chairs or facilities -Getting to Brighton in time for the start can be problematic
I chose Brighton because it's not too far from my house, it's a big event and I didn't realise you have to go there in person the day before the event to pick up your race pack - the organisers won't post it out. It's also a good town for spectators as there are plenty of pubs, shops, playgrounds, a beach etc. to keep your family happy whilst you run. My family had a great time and really enjoyed the day, this had nothing to do with the event organisers but all to do with Brighton.
Transport to Brighton is bad. I was going to take the train but luckily drove down instead - trains were cancelled on the day and unless you live locally you won't find a Sunday train to get you to the start on time. Parking around the town is also hard on busy weekends.
The course is flat, goes around town and out to the country, back into town and then out to the infamous power station! The power station leg is an out and back from 19-23 miles, and is a real course challenge. It's flat, it's dull, there are no spectators and it's a real mental challenge to keep on top of your game. I think they should definitely keep it in as it's a real challenge in an otherwise flat and busy course with great spectators.
The crowds and entertainments on the course are really good - they really do make the event worthwhile.
In short: Great course, fab crowds. PLEASE post race number and chip in the future. In full: Enjoyed the race, my debut on the marathon scene. Great crowds, scenic route.
Picking up the race number was disastrous though. 45 minute queue for a piece of paper that could have been posted. Being forced into Brighton the day before - traffic horrendous, parking impossible - was an unnecessary evil. We bedded down the night before in Crawley - miles away - as hotel rooms in Brighton for the weekend booked up months and months in advance. Trains in and out of Brighton were cancelled and when there, were absolutely rammed. Lastly on the gripe front, the beach village was dreadful. Far too busy, bottlenecks on bottlenecks. Pitiful, really. Toilets, paper cups, mud at start - all insignificant compared to being forced into Brighton the day before. Won't do the race again for this reason alone. Shame - seems an easy thing to rectify. Corporate buck beating runner satisfaction. Date of review: April 19, 2016
In short: Good but room for improvement In full: I will caveat my review in that this was my first marathon. However I have taken part in a variety of half races and 10ks...
This is a bit of a contentious issue due to having to pick up bibs. We were well warned of this when signing up, and as someone coming from London to race, would have inevitably stayed Saturday night before the race. The expo queue wasn't too bad when I arrived, Saturday at 2pm, but after the queue was right round the block. The expo was uninspiring, probably because I've been to the London one a few times.
I did like being able to pick the appropriate coral. A lot of people's goal time changes over the course of training. However, people on the day were hurling over the fences anyway, so perhaps a moot point!
Morning of the race:
I was fortunate enough to have paid with Amex and got a nice toilet and start. The rest was carnage. My other half decorated a bush amongst hundreds of others and was nearly late to the start. They needed to make more urinals so at least this would edge up the queues.
Also the park was brutally muddy. Given 10,000 people were going to trek over parts, this should have been boarded.
A nice tour of Brighton. There was a slight uphill at mile 1, but the rest was relatively flat. I am surprised at comments of it being hilly and steep, where are you from?! Every course inevitably cannot be 100% flat, this is nearly as good as you will get (other than Manchester I'd say). I quite liked the out and backs as I could spy people on the other side, but if this isn't to your liking, avoid! The crowds were amazing. The power station is grim, but I think anything at miles 21-23 was going to be pretty ropey. The finish line never seemed to arrive as it was hidden around the corner!
Water stops plentiful. Cups which I don't mind. People need to read up before the race and practise. Just squeeze and tip! One confusion was there was some energy drinks and then water, which made it hard to just pick up the water. Gels were plentiful, but I didn't pick up as I take what I have trained with.
Unfortunately I collapsed quite near the end, but the crowds managed to scream at me to get over the line. Many thanks to the two men who assisted. St Johns ambulance people were very swift at scooping me up, patching up my knees and running tests. Thank you.
I swiftly got my baggage back. Medal nice. Goody bag crap, a graze box and some crackers. One tiny bottle of water. After I was able to sit up in the medical tent, my boyfriend enquired as to whether he could have more water for me. They response was "officially no, but if you walk past the table and pick one up, that works".
Overall, it is a good race. It's a good first marathon for everyone of mixed abilities and the crowds were amazing. Would I do it again? Perhaps, but not immediately. I am not sure if my body ever wants to do another marathon mind...!
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