A beautiful spring afternoon on Sunday 18th April 2010 saw a stream of determined runners cross the finish line of the first ever Brighton Marathon after a day of sun, sweat and support on the streets of Brighton and Hove. Following months of planning and preparation, the resounding success of this event was summed up by one Tweet from our very own Matt Simmonds who was posting from the Brighton Marathon Headquarters throughout the day: “7589 started (7426 finished), 1700 volunteered and an estimated 80,000 were out on the streets cheering everyone on.”
This official BM Twitter account was just one way in which CCK played an active role, both in the build up to and on the day of the race. For the first time since we launched the 3-service Sunday back in September, both the 9.15 and 11.30am meetings were cancelled to release church goers to participate in the marathon: - to run, to serve, and to support. The Clarendon Centre itself served as Headquarters for Zones 1 and 2, and Centre manager, Dan Sweetman and his team were at the centre from 5am to prepare kits for the hundreds of stewards and security that would come through the doors during the course of the day. CCK member Andy Ferrett, who was responsible for developing the BM iphone app, spent the day uploading finishing times to the app.
The Centre had also been put to use prior to the actual event as the Brighton Base for marathon volunteers, in which the BM Team, supported by CCK staff and members, conducted hours of training. Some extra training was necessary, however, for those CCK-ers who went the distance and completed the 26 mile course from Preston Park to Madeira Drive. Fastest of our dedicated bunch was Dave Andrews, who finished in an amazing 3 hours 9mins (the winner of the race did it in 2 hours, 19mins).
The sense of camaraderie, excitement, and community was particularly tangible along the sunny seafront, where the usual traffic jam was replaced by thousands of Brightonians eager to see and to shout their support to the runners.
“On such a hot day, it was a hard run, but from Preston Park, through town, and even all the way out to the power station, members of CCK did not stop shouting encouragement,” says Marathon finisher Dave Fahrer. “When I hit the 19th mile I was feeling spent, but a friend from church actually walked and jogged alongside me, giving me the encouragement to carry on. It was just awesome.” Likewise, Steve Horne, who stood to close the 6.30 meeting at CCK wearing his Marathon T-shirt and a big smile, reflects on the power of encouragement. “I am certain I would not have kept running in the last three miles if I had not been cheered on by the friends and family in the crowd.”
Among the causes sponsored by CCK runners were The Supported Housing Unit (Friends First); Multiple Sclerosis Society; Brighton and Hove YMCA; Hands for Hope; and Cystic Fibrosis. The positive impact of this event, not only for numerous national and international charities, but for Brighton and Hove itself, makes it particularly exciting that the Race is going ahead again for 2011.