PUBLISHED: 10:56 22 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:12 20 February 2013
More than 10,000 runners are expected to take part in the third Brighton Marathon on 15 April. Michael Butcher, of Grounded Events, says that it is not just the athletes who benefit from the event
THE Brighton Marathon will take over the streets of the city on 15 April for the third time in its short existence.
We are expecting more than 10,000 runners to cross the line on Madeira Drive, making the race one of the top 15 marathons in Europe.
It is a heart-warming sight to see the thousands of spectators lining the promenade, cheering the runners on in the spring sunshine. It seems that the whole city is energised by the effort being expended on the city-streets.
The marathon is restricted to those over 18, but while the runners are busy warming up in Preston Park, over 1,500 schoolchildren will be tearing up the tarmac long before the adults get started.
The Grand Hotel Mini-Mile takes place over the last mile of the course from the Peace Statue by Hove Lawns to Brighton Pier.
City schools have taken the race to their hearts and the numbers of children taking part keeps rising. In the marathons first year fewer than 500 signed up, last year that figure increased to 1,200 and this year you could add a further 25 per cent to that figure.
It is uplifting to witness the energy and enthusiasm the children put into their race. After all, among those hundreds of children are the countys future stars.
This year we are delighted to welcome one of Brighton and Hove iconic names to start the race Gustavo Poyet.
You would not normally expect a football manager to take time out from his managerial duties to be Official Starter of a race. But Gustavo had no hesitation in agreeing to do the honours.
We are sure everyone will enjoy seeing him at the start and the finish as well as handing out the prizes.
People can compete at all levels, but we are proud of the elite field we have put together this year.
With four men who have achieved times under two hours 12 minutes and no fewer than five women who have bettered two hours 35 minutes, hopes are high that there will be new course records to celebrate by the end of the morning.
The best known amongst the men is John Kelai who is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion.
But John is by no means the fastest of the elites and he will have his work cut out to defend his reputation.
The womens race has a true international flavour with competitors from France, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ethiopia and Kenya. British entrants like Holly Rush from Bath will also be looking to get amongst the medallists.
Apart from giving tens of thousands of people so much fun and pride on race day, Brighton Marathon also benefits hundreds of charities and therefore tens of thousands of people in the following months and years. One of the most important aspects of big-city marathons nowadays is charity fundraising. In the first year the race raised over 3m for good causes and that figure continues to grow year on year.
In 2011 our Official National Charity Partner, Teenage Cancer Trust, pulled out all the stops to net a formidable total in excess of 200,000.
Our congratulations to all the runners who raised this money and thanks to those who dug into their pockets to make the day so special for our charity partners.
All the money raised will go towards Teenage Cancer Trusts South East Appeal, to build and equip a specialist teenage cancer unit at The Royal Marsden in Sutton, Surrey.
This new 13-bed unit will cost over 3m and means that for the first time young cancer patients living in the South East will be treated with others their own age in an environment suited to their needs.
On Friday and Saturday the Running and Healthy Lifestyle exhibition in the Brighton Centre kicks off the Marathon weekend in style. In 2011, over 7,000 people visited the exhibition and with the new two-day format more than 20,000 are expected to pass through the doors of the Brighton Centre. We are delighted that award winning tri-sport retailer, Wiggle, is our Official Retail Partner for the exhibition which will be held over both floors of the Centre featuring over 110 stands.