Could the London Brighton road race ever be resurected

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11/06/2011 at 21:17

It seems incredibly sad that our oldest British ultra with a history going back as far as Comrades has fallen by the wayside. 

Could it ever be brought back?

12/06/2011 at 12:57
To answer that question you would first need to establish why it was canceled, do you know?
12/06/2011 at 13:18
At the time, I think they really struggled to get marshals, support from local councils etc. Having traffic officers block off roads between London and Brighton is a major logistical nightmare I would think. Which is why they tried to reinvent it as a trail race. I do think that ultra running is experiencing a major boom right now. Races are selling out quicker than ever and I've never seen so many people pounding the streets (even in wet weather!). If there was ever an opportunity to revive it, it's now. There are more new ultra races on the calendar and I reckon the original L2B could be huge again. I know absolutely nothing about organising races but would love to see someone who does step up and revive this classic. I'll be first to sign up.
AndrewSmith    pirate
12/06/2011 at 13:44

Was driving up the course of this the other day, from the bottom end so not even the busy London bit. And thought about how busy the roads were. Apart from the support needed-and pretty much every organiser of a race struggles to get that-it is just a very dangerous route now

06/06/2012 at 18:06
Sad! As a SA expat, with 4 Comrades done, I was hoping to enter this year, only to find that the famous London to Brighton Road Race is no more. This race is highly regarded in SA. How can all that history and all the great runners that have won it down the years be scrapped? Bruce Fordyce still holds the record of 5:12 set in 1983. I understand the traffic issues but it seems tragic! If Comrades or Two Oceans were scrapped, there'd be an outcry!
06/06/2012 at 21:54

I know. 

Shame on us as a country for letting it happen!

06/06/2012 at 22:08

Unfortunately however iconic a race has been if the circumstances under which it is run have changed so much that it is no longer viable then that is that.  The ratio of support required to the number of entrants probably made it almost impossible to arrange.  I think you will find that the conditions under which Comrades and Two Oceans are organised are vastly different to the old London to Brighton.  Sadly nostalgia and sentiment cannot revive a dead duck.

06/06/2012 at 22:17

The conditions under which Comrades and Two Oceans are organised are very different. 

Their continuation would always be prioritised over the convenience of the traffic. 

That is where we went wrong. 

AndrewSmith    pirate
07/06/2012 at 09:26

And that is the crux of the problem!  As a nation we have become lazy couch potatos with more interest in watching sport than doing it.

In general people are too lazy to do anything and that apathy prevents the large involvement needed to secure the support for these events. Education of the population to be healthier, fitter and more supportive of sports is needed. It is all wasted on the countless thousands who spend their time watching football or other spectator sports, which win out because of their entertainment value and their ability to bind together groups of strangers.

And don't even start to think the Olympics will change that!!

Edited: 07/06/2012 at 09:27
07/06/2012 at 11:40

Agree would be great to resurrect this iconic race but it would need the backing of a MAJOR sponsor to plough through the logistical/administrative nightmare. perhaps it could be run on Remembrance Sunday in aid of the Poppy Appeal (terrible weather likely i know !)

Gregg - not the same i know but there are now two L2B's you can do, both cross-country, one by Extreme Running which i did in 2010 and one in aid of Blind Veterans which is billed as a walk but no reason you can't run it i presume. and

07/06/2012 at 13:27

Steve - I'm doing the Blind Veterans this Saturday/Sunday.  Bit apprehensive as had ear operation last Friday and still feel a bit.

07/06/2012 at 17:02

Bear - best of luck to you, tough enough when you're fit and well   you running or walking ? i may run this one next year, apparently the route is well marked out, unlike the extremerunning event which has no markers - just a map and compass. i took a few wrong turns and did 57.5 miles instead of 56.  not sure which route you are doing to make it 100k !!

07/06/2012 at 20:43

Start at Richmond.  Then via circuitous routes get to Brighton.  Maps provided, but as signage gets sabotaged no markers until hit the night section.  Am doing it as a waddler - categorie of its very own .

07/06/2012 at 20:55

Steve, I also did L2B in 2010 and racked up 58 miles. Even with maps and compass it was still easy to go off track in a couple of places. But that was the fun of that event.  

With regard to the L2B road race, the issue was lack of support, relying on clubs to help out marshalling and it generally being run as a less than commercial venture. It therefore cant be compared with Comrades. The sad fact is that getting the roads all closed off would be cost prohibitive and as pointed out earlier the traffic on many of these roads has increased substantially so any RD would not want to take the risk. The number of entrants also did not make it viable versus the potential additional costs. 

I guess the guys running the offroad L2B must have considered this when they organised this alternative route. 

I would love the road version to be back on the calendar but I somehow think it will never happen.     


08/06/2012 at 11:04

Ian, just checked out the 2010 results page, looks like we would have finished at same time if you hadn't put in those extra few yards. certainly i would still have been laid out on the stones when you crossed the line !

i too thought that the lack of markers added to the charm of the event (not necessarily at the time mind you),  really enjoyed the run though and would recommend it to others as a worthy, if different, challenge to the classic old road race.

you doing any more ultras ?  i've taken this year off due to work commitments but aim to do a couple next year then hopefully head to S.A. for the comrades in 2014 to 'celebrate' my 50th birthday.

08/06/2012 at 11:30

I'm doing the L2B trail race in Sept and it's amazing how many people remember the old road version.

My dad who has never been a runner used to come out and watch them enter Brighton back in the day but hadn't considered doing it now it's mostly trail, no idea why?

12/06/2012 at 13:17

Steve, well I never... afterwards I thought it was great finishing on the beach, but at the time hobbling across them was not much fun!   I did Steyning Stinger, Dukeries 40 (nightmare as got lost 3 times), doing Downlands 30 and then CCC in August. Also, doing a night time training run from Crowborough to Eastbourne in two weeks time via the Vanguard Way.  I am also Race Director for the Croydon Ultra 30 on July 8th....if you fancy a little training run! 

Good luck with getting into Comrades 2014.    

12/06/2012 at 13:47

You won't get lost on the Downlands 30 Ian..its out and back and pretty simple to follow...can I be thick and ask what the CCC is?   Have you seen the Vanguards Way Ultra up for grabs in October, a two day event?


I did a trail L2B in May this year and absolutely loved it..hope you were ok at the weekend BB, crap weather for it.  Action Challenge organise the May one, mainly as a walk but let runners in  this year. Excellant route which wiggles it's way across down the Thames Tow path,  North Downs, South Downs blah di blah. Top notch signage and check points.

12/06/2012 at 15:16

Dips, I've done the Downlands 30 twice before and know it well. Good course. CCC is the Courmayeur, Champex to Chamonix race part of UTMB. 

Vanguard Way ultra will be great. Its a two day with Extreme Energy who are organise really well run events. But I am biased as I am the Race Director for this one and put the route together!  Have you entered?  


12/06/2012 at 16:14

Not entered the Vanguard Way yet, tempted ( its v local to me) and have acted as support (and check point delight) on a couple of Xtreme Energy events so know the score.

And hence why you are running some of the route?

CCC looks a bit scary   I'm not good with heights

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