What I really enjoyed about this weekend was going to Simi and Anouck's house in Brighton for a feast the night before the BTM. I was particularly apprehensive with the knee in mind but plenty of ecentric stretches and a couple of glasses of Anouck's Swiss wine (from her Dad who visited recently) (btw, petite arvine is a fantastic acidic white - try it!) and a big fat fish and chip supper, onion rings, gherkin, mushy peas and curry sauce sorted us right out.
Arrival at the start was via a 3 mile run with Susie and Anouck whilst Simi paraded around the house in his jim-jams drinkng coffee and planning his next Barbour purchase. Nice. The start was a friendly affair and I caught up with Martin R who I hadn't seen since Doyen. We decided to run together and what a nice relaxed banter we had around the course, soaking up the sights of the 3000ft plus of climbing along the way from Brighton seafront out towards Seaford, Lewes, St. Ann Without, Falmer and back to Brighton. Out of the 6 or so marathons or ultras on this territory this has to be the most scenic! Water checkpoints were between 5-7 miles apart. The route took in the SDW and some other random farmers paths. Grundy's farm was met with a silage strewn mud path and 2 chaps in Hunters with guns. I ran in road shoes and at this point was feeling a little unsure but the chalk paths are free-draining and the concrete sections (4 miles along the beach wall, that horrible hill up, then down, then up and down more than I care to remember near the end was well worth not running in the Inov8s). The b'stard that planned in the 216ft climb through the allotments up to the to of Beacon Hill just moments from the end needs a kicking.
As per usual, Denis at ER provided a handshake at the end and a shot glass and t-shirt.
From then on, off to thenewly refurb'ed pub (Hampton Arms) just 100m from Simi's for a fantastic roast Pork washed down with a couple of pints of Thatchers Vintage Scrumpy to recount tales of the quadriceps turning to mincemeat. 28th place from a field of 150 for me but not a fast race; a memorable sunday saunter with a good running buddy. Well worth it and despite the steep entry, well worth it.