2020 will be Pete’s third Brighton Marathon and he’s looking forward to the chance to take part in his favourite race again.
I have quite a few reasons for my love of Brighton. By running my first marathon in London in 2017 supporting Mind, the mental health charity that means so much to me, I realised a childhood ambition. But Brighton is something else. It has come to symbolise my recovery from the depression and anxiety that had become regular visitor during my adult life.
The course is brilliant. For someone who lives a good distance from the sea, the opportunity to run so close to the waves is a real treat. I love walking and running near rivers or the sea so the opportunity to look out across the water and take in that view and the sea air while I run always feels great.
Living some way away from Brighton, the marathon always means a weekend away. What’s so great is that you can take it easy on the Saturday and then on race day, the whole town seems to buzz with energy and it feels like everyone is either running or shouting their support. The atmosphere over the whole weekend is amazing and one of the things that makes the race so special is that support on the day.
One of the stand out memories from my first Brighton Marathon is that run along the seafront. The crowd and noise levels increase steadily as you get into those final few miles, getting closer to that beach side finish. So many people looked me straight in the eye as I was going through a really difficult part of the race and cheered me on, encouraging me just to keep going and telling me that I was doing really well, when all I wanted to do was run off the course and sit down with an ice cream!
I’ve said that Brighton Marathon represents an important landmark in my recovery from depression and anxiety. At the heart of this lies the reason why I’m such a passionate supporter of Mind. I’ve turned to Mind at some of my darkest times and found the support offered by their helpline, like when I was struggling with a terrible panic attack, such a source of help and comfort.
Running for Mind has been life changing for me. The help they have given me to share my story has given me purpose and perspective and the opportunity to fundraise and raise awareness of mental illness is something I feel very lucky to be able to do. Mind have been there for me when my mental health has been failing and have encouraged me throughout my recovery. I still have my bad days but steadily I’ve found ways to deal with these and keep going.
I know the race and the support of the crowd will be fantastic and it will be great to run Brighton Marathon with Team Mind again.
Want to join Pete and Team Mind in April? You can sign up here – www.mind.org.uk/brighton.