About 12,000 people ran the Brighton Marathon yesterday (Sunday 15 April) while thousands more cheered them on along the route.
Over the weekend almost 18,000 runners took part in the marathon or the associated 10k and children’s mini mile.
And the organisers estimated more than 150,000 spectators turned out in support over the three events.
They said: “The Cancer Research UK ‘Kids and Teens’ Mini Miles got proceedings off to a sun-soaked start in Preston Park on Saturday with over 3,500 children completing a mile around the park.
“The competitors and their families created an atmosphere that carried through the weekend despite the late rain on Sunday.
“Weather conditions for the Brighton Marathon were perfect and also promised a fast race.
“Sent on their way at the new time of 9.45am by park run founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt, there was a PB (personal best) for the men’s winner, returning champion Stuart Hawkes, of Tipton Harriers, who finished in an impressive 2:22:32, just ahead of Cardiff runner Dan Nash, who had a stunning race, leading until mile 25 when Stuart closed the gap and went on to win.
“Nash came in a close second with a time of 2:22:53.8. The pair were well ahead of the competition with third placed Brighton and Hove AC runner Kevin Rojas coming in in 2:23:52.4 following a welcome return to the Brighton Marathon after pulling out last year due to illness.
“In the women’s marathon it was also a win for a delighted returning champion Helen Davies, 38, of Ipswich Jaffa RC, who created and held an impressive lead to come in at 2:38:39.
“In second was Sarah Webster, 38, who came in at 2:48:39.2, also impressive as she only debuted at the marathon distance in October 2017 in Manchester.
“In third place was Sara Bird, 31, a stablemate of winner Helen Davis at Ipswich Jaffa in 2:52:18.3.
“The BM10k has built a reputation as a fast race and this was proved beyond doubt this weekend.
“In the BM10k women’s race, an incredible 10 PBs were set, including one by winner Charlotte Arter, 26, from Cardiff Runners, whose time was also a new course record of 32:17:17.
“Phoebe Law, 21, Kingston Poly, came in second with 33:11:88, also a PB, and Faye Fullerton, 33, from Havering, a close third with 33:19:57.
“In the men’s race, the finish was more closely contested with Luke Caldwell, 26, of Dorking and Mole Valley, winning in 29:23:54, followed by Doug Musson, 24, from Nottingham Trent Uni, in 29:24:17, a PB for him, and Adam Hickey, 29, of Southend in 29:29:37.
Event director Tom Naylor said: “This has been the best Brighton Marathon weekend yet.
“The amazing weather and atmosphere in Preston Park on Saturday with the Cancer Research UK ‘Kids and Teens’ Mini Miles set the tone for the weekend.
“Yet again, the races have been superb with lots of PBs, course records and amazing personal stories and the city of Brighton came out in force to support. We’re already looking forward to 2019.”
American Express vice-president Beverly Sawyers said: “We’re proud to be community partner for the Brighton Marathon weekend.
“This year’s event has been an amazing demonstration of the power of the Sussex community, including many of my Amex colleagues, coming together to support local charities and individual endeavour.
“A huge thank you to all the runners, volunteers and spectators who came out in their thousands to line the route and show their support.”
The many volunteers included the medical team, led by Rob Galloway, an A&E consultant at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
Registration for the Brighton Marathon next year has already opened – at 6pm yesterday – at www.brightonmarathonweekend.co.uk/enter.