We’re very lucky here in Brighton. In the south we have a great expanse of sea to run next to, to the north the undulating trails of the South Downs. You can watch the sunset on the old pier as starling swirl round to land or dodge a tramp as he stumbles drunkenly out of a doorway. You can’t beat tramp dodging, adds a whole new dimension to running.
The weather in Brighton adds to the challenge, strong gusts slow you down and leave you ruddy in the face when you finally return home. It’s not unusual to see a pensioner float by in the wind like an abandoned balloon as you jog on down the seafront. In fact even the pensioners in Brighton lead an interesting life. I heard recently that in hospital some older patients are given ketamine as a pain killer! Ketamine. The horse tranquilliser that clubbers use to get high on! Next time I visit an elderly relative in hospital I’m leaving the grapes behind and taking them glow sticks. I can imagine it now…
“How’s things Nanny?”
“Banging!” [waves arms above head to the tune of Insomnia by Faithless]
You might even catch DJ Derek in Brighton, a 70 year old disc jockey who plays soul, ska and reggae.
Aside from OAPs that are closer to hip-hop than hip ops and more than the weather and the scenery it’s the people of Brighton that make running around it so interesting. Everyone is accepted in Brighton. You’ll run past people that anywhere else might be considered very odd but in Brighton are heartily welcome. You might get over-taken by the yearly “naked bike ride”. I saw a lady fall off once and get what can only be described as a “flap injury”. The rest of her was unhurt as her boobs had acted like fleshy airbags!
Stop for directions in Brighton and it wouldn’t surprise me if you got told, “I won’t tell you the way, but I will show you through the medium of interpretive dance…” The way people dress too would certainly raise an eyebrow elsewhere. In my first weekend in Brighton I saw a man who, from the waist up, was dressed like Shakespeare, high collar shirt, embroidered coat, the works. From the waist down he had bright yellow leggings and Dr Marten boots. I was totally taken aback. Now I hardly notice it as I run past people in multi-coloured garb. Mind you, I’m hardly one to talk on fashion….
Yes, that’s me in the middle. “Carb loading” with Belgium beer.
Brighton is growing as a running venue. The half marathon is hugely popular while this years marathon had 9000 competitors and in 2013 is estimated to have double that!
So if you like running, come to Brighton, run along the sea front and the cliff tops, dodge a tramp and then party with a pensioner!