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.
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.