VIDEO: '˜The best Brighton Marathon Weekend yet'

A huge 18,000 runners took part in the three Brighton Marathon Weekend events, with an estimated 150,000 spectators lining the streets to cheer them on.

Runners at the start line of the Brighton Marathon
Runners at the start line of the Brighton Marathon

The event director of the Brighton Marathon Weekend said it was the best yet, and praised residents for coming out in full force to support runners.

The Brighton Marathon kicked off at 9.45am today (April 15), with elite athletes and charity runners taking on the 26.2-mile course.

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Runners were sent on the way at Preston Park by parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt, and they went on to pass several of the city’s landmarks including the Royal Pavilion and the i360.

Runners at the start line of the Brighton Marathon

The winners of the men and women’s race were both returning champions from 2017; Stuart Hawkes and Helen Davies who ran the course in 2:22:32 and 2:38:39 respectively.

Mr Hawkes said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I love the crowds, I love the way the organisers look after the athletes, they look after us from start to finish.”

Ms Davies said: “It’s amazing. It’s why I wanted to come back and defend my title. I also wanted to run under 2:40, and I’ve done both!”

Lee Kemp from Uckfield was running for Sussex children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House and managed an impressive time of 3 hours and 58 minutes, smashing his target of running a sub four-hour race.

Women's winners (l-r) Sarah Webster, Helen Davies and Sara Bird (Photograph: Eddie Bishop)

He said: “It’s the third time I’ve run this marathon for them. When I went to look around the hospice, every time I go I feel overwhelmed because of the stuff they do. It is just amazing what they do. If I can help by running and raising money it is something I want to continue doing.”

There were runners for Macmillan, including Brighton’s own Sara Cutting who has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Horizon Centre in the city, as well as for the NSPCC, British Heart Foundation and dozens of other good causes.

Thousands also took on the BM10k at 9am this morning, and in the women’s race there was a new course record set.

Winner Charlotte Arter, 26, from Cardiff Runners came in at 32:17:17. Phoebe Law, 21, Kingston Poly, came in second with 33:11:88, and Faye Fullerton, 33 from Havering a close third with 33:19:57.

Men's winners (l-r) Kevin Rojas, Stuart Hawkes and Dan Nash (Photograph: Eddie Bishop)

In the men’s race, the finish was more closely contested with Luke Caldwell, 26 of Dorking and Mole Valley winning in 29:23:54, followed by Doug Musson, 24, from Nottingham Trent Uni in 29:24:17 and Adam Hickey, 29 of Southend in 29:29:37.

Sam Skilton from Ferring, who is the marketing manager at Sussex hospice St Barnabas House took on the 10k. He hoped to run it in less than an hour, and managed 58 minutes and 59 seconds. It was part of a fundraising drive ahead of a 64km trek in India later this year to raise funds for the charity.

“As part of my training for that I though I would do different events. So far I’ve raised £380. but I’m hoping to get to £1,000,” he said.

And starting off the weekend of events, The Cancer Research UK ‘Kids and Teens’ Mini Miles saw more than 3,500 children take part in the mile race in Preston Park on Saturday (April 14).

Lee Kemp ran for Chestnut Tree House

Tom Naylor, event director, said: “This has been the best Brighton Marathon Weekend yet. The amazing weather and atmosphere in Preston Park on Saturday with the Cancer Research UK ‘Kids and Teens’ Mini Miles set the tone for the weekend.

“Yet again, the races have been superb with lots of PBs, course records and amazing personal stories and the City of Brighton came out in force to support. We’re already looking forward to 2019.”

Beverly Sawyers, vice president of American Express, said: “We’re proud to be Community Partner for the Brighton Marathon Weekend. This year’s event has been an amazing demonstration of the power of the Sussex community, including many of my Amex colleagues, coming together to support local charities and individual endeavour.

“A huge thank you to all the runners, volunteers and spectators who came out in their thousands to line the route and show their support.”

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