Pete Thompson in the Brighton Marathon

It had been a while since Pete Thompson had been pounding the pavement in a big city marathon but at Brighton – he was back!!

It’s always a welcome sight to see Pete Thompson back on the running scene. Famed for his superhuman fund raising efforts, Pete’s last appearance at a major event was last Spring when he did his 48 parkruns in 48 hours. That was a really tough challenge as he basically had to do one every hour and they were taking him around 30 minutes as he had to go slowly to conserve energy. That left him with very little time to rest and recuperate before he was out on the next one.

He also ran 44 marathons in 44 countries in 44 days as he toured round Europe and ran the entire route of the Tour de France in 67 days, meaning he had to do an average of 30 miles per day. He even did a challenge where he had to run 2.6 miles backwards in under 26 minutes!! Is there anything this man can’t do?

Something that isn’t perhaps as well known about Pete but deserves just as much recognition is his past running achievements. For instance, when Pete was at his peak he ran the Amsterdam Marathon in 2:25:31. He’s also done a half marathon in 71 minutes, a few 10ks in the 32 minute zone and some 5ks in the 15 minute region.

He’s very careful now though not to become obsessive about his running and to treat it as a fun hobby rather than it being the main focal point of everything. That doesn’t mean of course that he can’t still have running goals and train hard to achieve them though and that’s exactly what he did for the recent Brighton Marathon.

Putting in a good solid block of training since Christmas, Pete was ready for his first big city marathon since London in 2018, which he did for enjoyment purposes rather than to get a specific time. He has done the Dorset Ooser Marathon a couple of times recently though, winning it in 2020 and has also done a couple of ultras including the South Downs Way 100k.

The Brighton Marathon starts off at Preston Park and heads into Withdean before turning down the London Road towards the city. Passing the Pavillion, it then goes up into Kemptown and follows the coast of Ovingdean before heading back along the seafront and into Hove and finishing at Hove Lawns.

The start of the Brighton Marathon

The 2023 Brighton Marathon gets underway

The first mile contains a bit of an incline so that wasn’t a quick one for Pete at 6:37. He then settled into a good rhythm going at between 6:19 and 6:15 pace for the next five miles. Going over the 10k point in 39:33, it was a solid start for Pete.

The 7th mile contained another little inline and he got through that in 6:26 before stringing seven miles together at just over 6:10 pace. That lead to a half marathon time of 1:23:05.

The next few miles contained a bit of downhill and Pete whipped through them at 6:03, 5:58 and 6:05, taking him up to mile 18. He then registered a 6:26, for mile 18, followed by a 6:15 and a 6:19 to reach the 20 mile point.

He’d gone through 30km in 1:56:46 and was now just looking to hold it together for the last 10k. Of course, in marathons, that’s where the real work begins. Going through the next three miles in 6:23, 6:28 and 6:21, Pete now had just over 5k left.

Pete Thompson taking on the Brighton Marathon

Pete Thompson was in great form again, reeling off the miles at an impressive pace

It had been a superb performance thus far and he grafted hard over the last few miles, registering a 6:42, following by a 6:51 and a 6:52. The left him a last third of a mile to cruise into the finish line. His time was a magnificent 2:46:37 which put him in 29th place out of 8,443 runners.

It really was great to see Pete competing at a high level once again and it was almost like a throwback to his earlier years of road marathon excellence. His average pace for the run was a tremendous 6:20 minutes per mile.

The winner of the race was Marshall Smith and he got round in a time of 2:24:05. He runs for Ashford AC and they are the club that have a very similar vest to Bournemouth AC SOAR one.

His margin of victory was huge, with 12 minutes passing before Barney Reed arrived to take 2nd place in 2:36:15. Axel Fine of Cambridge & Coleridge was 3rd in 2:36:41.

The top three in the Brighton Marathon

The race winner Marshall Smith had a vest that looked just like the Bournemouth AC one

Helen Reid was first female in 2:54:42 which out her in 107th place overall. Lucy Barnes of Harlow Running & Tri Club was 2nd lady in 2:56 exactly which put her in 122nd place overall. Fay Hughes was 3rd female and 132nd overall in 2:56:26.

So, after conquering the Brighton Marathon, what will be the next challenge for Pete?… Probably best not to tempt him actually by saying the word “challenge”.