Last Sunday saw my home city play host to the 30th anniversary of the Brighton Half Marathon. It's now one of the most popular half marathons in the country and helps raise a lot of money for both Sussex Beacon, our local HIV charity, and a variety of national charities. It was however an absolutely vile day weather wise with a lot of the UK totally besieged by storms. Several events had been cancelled with high winds being a potential hazard and right up until Sunday morning I was keeping an eye out for alerts.
But we're clearly made of sterner stuff and it was business as usual. Anything that could fly away and couldn't be battened down was dispensed with so no gantry, flags or signage and the thousands of undeterred runners turned out for the start at 9.30am. I was one of 3 PR photographers employed by the race and my area was miles 7 - 12 which incorporated Hove Lawns, the beach huts, Peace Statue, bandstand and I360.
It was very tough conditions for the competitors - they were running into the wind for several miles and then had the joy of a very stormy promenade stretch with waves actually breaking over the turquoise Victorian railings. And they had to dig especially deep because apart from the stalwart families and charity supporters, there weren't the usual masses of spectators lining the streets cheering them on. They well and truly earned their sponsorship money.
This type of weather is fairly tricky to shoot in, both from a practical and a content perspective. I kept getting that horrible windy spray rain all over my lenses and one of my cameras had real trouble focusing. I did panic slightly that it had gotten completely fogged up because all I could see through the viewfinder was a fairly alarming whiteness when I scrolled back. Mercifully this wasn't the case when I uploaded and looked on my screen but there always that pause of dread. Content wise it was what it was which is maybe not ideal PR wise for promoting either mass participation PBs or a challenging enough but fun sunny seaside destination mini break race weekend. Whilst capturing suffering and grueling conditions is par for the course with endurance stuff, it's the polar opposite of groups of cheery women in tutus and pompoms posing for shots en route which typifies the imagery for mass participation road running events. But anyway, if nothing else I hope that some of my shots are a testament to the competitors showing some true grit out there.
An absolute high point was the group of Penny Farthing cyclists who started the race and rode up and down the course encouraging the runners - a truly fantastic sight to see.
Here are a few shots to give you an insight into the race. Bask in the smug glow of feeling much warmer and more comfortable and less bedraggled than anyone in front, or indeed behind (!) the camera that day.