The weather for this year’s Brighton 10 km was every bit as calm and sunny as in 2005, if nowhere near as cold.
Returning to this race made for a much more pleasant encounter with the scenic seafront esplanade, a backdrop which features so memorably in Graham Greene’s classic 1930s novel Brighton Rock.
And that tale of sordid seaside strife and natural justice found more than fleeting echo as I recalled the sad and painful script of last year’s race.
My journey then had started out with unbridled energy and enthusiasm, before the inevitably plotted twists of storyline overtook me; an overambitious outward run to Hove inevitably followed by its own duly moralistic dénouement – passion and punishment played out all along the promenade through 3.5 km of breathless torture and a dry heave on the line.
Perhaps it was no surprise then, when my stomach and mind both argued forcefully for a more measured start on this November morning, nor that I felt no inclination to disagree.
In my world, racing is rarely ever comfortable, but for once, my splits did almost concoct the illusion of a cautiously controlled and evenly executed run: 8:37, 8:30, 8:31, 8:29, 8:19, 8:14 +1:22 = 52:02.
A little over a minute slower than last year, but I’d recently completed an autumn marathon back then.
And I was significantly younger, too.
As well as faster. Obviously.
And so another running year had concluded, with just one marathon and this single 10 km race to show. Yet somehow it still seemed fitting to mark the moment with a friendly plate of gnocchi pomodoro and a Stella Artois or two.
They felt well-earned, and were simply and swiftly sunk.
Two weeks on, the 2007 London Marathon ballot results are expected any day now. No doubt my oft-recited retirement may yet be held off a while, depending on the news which December’s postbag brings. And a return to southern Spain in January for the Almería Half Marathon is already in the stars.
Another race, another seafront, in another year. Maybe a beer or three as well.
Not much in life is ever certain. But that much, I’d say, is fairly guaranteed.
104. Puke, lies and finishing tape: Brighton 10 km
12. 10 km torment in Stubbington Green
28. Thoughts on racing
59. Running in Crawley
55. A redemption in Manchester
Excellent race, Roads, briskly paced and nicely managed. As I get older, I find I take more satisfaction in successfully managing a race, rather than what the numbers say … I suppose it’s one of the reasons the majority of ultramarathoners are over 40. Patience is generally the last virtue to be learned, I think.
And thanks to you, I have another Graham Greene novel to seek out … for some reason Brighton Rock has escaped my notice. The filmed version sounds interesting as well.
Many thanks, Ed. Running 10 km races is surely nothing at all to a man like you, with 100 km runs on his mind, and I take my hat off to you for such endurance and resoluteness of spirit.
As for Brighton Rock, yes, it’s well worth seeking out, and I hope you enjoy the book once you find it.