This article is a adaptation of 'live' entries on my previous blog and some extra information.

On the 05th November 2005, I went again to Brighton from London, but without my bike this time (as it's been stolen...). I followed the roads, mostly the A23 and the B2036. I had to be at the same time the organiser, the volunteers and the runner. Which means that I had to navigate, to find some water on the way and ... to run ! This is what ultrarunners often call an 'OFF' as it's out of any kind of organisation.

I started from Westminster at 7am (official Big Ben time). I ran through Brixton, Streatham, Croydon, Purley and Coulsdon (km 23) before I started to see the countryside. Panoramas from Farthing Downs were pretty nice. Then Chaldon, Redhill (km 35) where I bought my first water refill. From this point I started to swap between short walks and longer runs. Salfords, marathon in 4h02, Horley (km 44). I started to feel a bit tired, so I had a short rest in a meadow nearby the road. Some policemen stopped to ask me if I was ok and then chatted a bit. This comforted me again to think that British policemen are much kinder that the French ones.
I continued to Crawley and started to have cramps after that. Immediately doubt took my mind, I looked at the map where was the next train station, etc. But, as often in ultras, after 10 minutes walking I felt fresh, running, enjoying the landscape, and never thought about withdrawing again ! :) Balcombe, Cuckfield, Ansty. On the narrow roads surrounded by hedges, I had to be very careful with cars, and once I was so close to the hedge (the car didn't leave me much space) that I didn't see a branch and fell down. Nice bleeding knee. At Burgess Hill someone stopped to ask me if I was fine. Then Hassocks and Ditchling, just before the ascent of Dictchling Beacon (150m elevation gain on a steep road) where I walked more than I ran. Pain in the legs started to increase and the descent to Brighton was not very pleasant. Finish at Brighton Pier at 4:42pm, just before the night.

GoogleEarth - London to Brigthon
Click to get the GPS record on GoogleEarth.

I took 9h42 to complete these 90.5km (GPS: 88.6km) while I expected around 10h. That's an average speed of 9.3km/h or 4h30 for a marathon, not too bad. During the official race, the time limit is only 9h50 (but the route is 1 or 2km shorter).

The following morning, after a not-so-good night, my legs were very stiff (not to say painful) especially while going downstairs or sitting down. Even my upper body (abds, shoulders, arms) was quite stiff. Funny to think that I felt better after 35h30 on the UTMB... But the London to Brigthon run, however shorter, was much more intense.

I got a nice GPS track of the route, although I miss the end because I ran out of batteries. I just acquired a couple of waypoints from Hassocks, not very precise. This is the speed graph of the run. Speed was integrated on 500m sections. Slow motion zones can be explained by the following:
  • a: first stop at the beginning of Farthing Downs
  • b: water stop at Redhill
  • c: short rest after Horley
  • d: cramps and moment of doubt at the exit of Crawley
  • e: water stop at Cuckfield
  • f: ascent of Dictchling Beacon

London-Brighton speed
click for larger image

It's interesting to distinguish between 3 main parts: the first third (start to a) virtually always over 10km/h, the second third (a to d) at the constant average speed but with lots of slower parts and the last one (d to the end) slowing down constantly.

A couple of days after this run, my right hip started to be achy. I've then stopped running, although I can't say it was painful. It sometimes starts as soon as I wake up, sometimes I have to walk a bit. It's mostly located in the hip, but sometimes runs from the lower back down to the foot. See the following posts about my slow recovering:
Ultra free run.