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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > December 2018 > MAKING A MARATHON

MAKING A MARATHON

DAVID SMYTH MEETS THE ORGANISERS OF TWO RELATIVELY NEW BUT VASTLY DIFFERENT MARATHONS TO LEARN WHAT IT TAKES TO CREATE A MUCH-LOVED EVENT

Amarathon doesn’t usually start in a pub. But that’s sometimes where they begin, years before the inaugural bang of the starting gun. In the case of two relatively new Sussex marathons – the Moyleman, which loops around Lewes and first took place in 2015, and Brighton, which has been the UK’s second biggest marathon since 2010 – the pub was where those first speculative conversations were had. Could this be done? Why hasn’t anyone done it before? Could we do it?

It’s a tale of two cities – well, one city and a market town. The two races couldn’t be more different. Brighton sees about 12,000 runners trotting along the famous seafront, cheered on by a further 60,000 in an event that rivals Pride and the London to Brighton Bike Ride as one of the largest events in the South Coast tourist destination’s calendar. In its fourth year, the Moyleman has grown from 90 participants to 350 and follows the trails in the hills surrounding Lewes, 10 miles east of Brighton, including a sizeable chunk of the South Downs Way. The spectators are mostly sheep.

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About Men's Running

I never had any desire to run a marathon. Yes, I watched it religiously every year from 1984 when Charlie Spedding set the then-English record and marveled at the speeds. But it didn’t hold any appeal for me. I was a track runner, a thoroughbred, an out-and-out speed merchant; the thought of running 26 miles consecutively, back-to-back, was just too monstrous a thought. And then I started working in running and I realised that, for 99% of the population, running IS marathons. No one ever says ‘ah, you’re a runner, what’s your 1500metre time?’. The first question anyone asks is ‘have you run a marathon?’. Fortunately, I’m now in the happy position to say yes. Several in fact. And more half marathons than I can actually remember. But running a marathon still isn’t easy. If it was, more people would have done it. It takes training, and work, and effort and a resilient mindset that says ‘I’m not going to give up on this journey’. In this special issue, we reveal the secrets, the highs and lows and the training that can get you round a marathon. There’s something here for everyone, even if you’re an experienced marathoner. As Emil Zatopek famously said: “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”