The Vitality Brighton Half Marathon is set to celebrate a major milestone on race day this Sunday, celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Organised by The Sussex Beacon, a charity which provides a range of services for men, women and families living with or affected by HIV across Sussex, the race has grown in popularity over its history and the 2015 race field will be the largest ever.
The race started in 1990 as a small event involving around 200 runners from local athletic clubs. The 2015 race takes place Sunday 22nd February, when 12,500 runners will take to the streets of Brighton and Hove to run 13.1 miles around the city – an extra 2,000 runners on top of 2014’s entry figure of 10,500.
The race has become an established event for those training for a Spring marathon and is the first major race in the running calendar. The race is part of the Vitality Run Series for 2015, a national series which features seven of the UK’s leading half marathons plus a 10K.
Over its 25 year history, Paul Martelletti is the fastest male to have completed the course in a time of 65:52 in 2014, and in the women’s race, Emma Taylor-Gooby is the fastest female with a time of 78:03 in 2013.
Both winners from the 2014 race, Paul Martelletti and Sarah Hill will be lining up on the start line with the view to defend their titles in 2015.
Other contenders for the winning title include Kevin Rojas (Brighton & Hove AC) and Kevin Mason (Worthing Harriers), who both placed in the top 5 in 2014.
In the women’s race, 2014 2nd place winner Deidre McDermot returns, looking to steal the trophy from defending champion Sarah Hill (Farnham Runners).
Celebrity runners this year include Norman Cook running for the charity Young Epilepsy and Gethin Williams for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Runner George Frogley will also be celebrating his 80th birthday on race day and will be sporting the number race number 80.
The Youth Races also take place again, with all 400 places snapped up by young runners of all levels and abilities aged from 7 to 17 years old. Starting and finishing on Madeira Drive, the Youth Races go past the Brighton Wheel, Sea Life Brighton and Brighton Pier before looping at the Thistle Hotel on King’s Road and heading back towards the finish line.
Race day key timings:
7am – Race Village opens
8:15am – Road closures start
8:30am – Runners proceed to their start pens
9am – Start of Vitality Brighton Half Marathon 2015. Official starter: Simon Dowe, CEO of The Sussex Beacon, a local HIV Charity
9:20am – Start of Youth Races (4 age categories: 7-10 Years Old, 11-12 Years Old, 13-14 Years Old, 15-17 Years Old)
9:40am – Youth Race prize presentations in the Youth Race marquee
11am – Vitality Brighton Half Marathon prize presentations
2pm – Race Village closes
The Vitality Brighton Half Marathon is organised by and the main fundraising event for The Sussex Beacon, a local HIV charity working to improve health, reduce stigma and prevent premature death. Open 365 days a year, they support men, women and families affected by HIV to manage this life-long condition that has no cure. Other Charity Partners include Laureus (Vitality Run Series Headline Charity) Scope (National Charity Partner), WaterAid (International Charity Partner) and Rise (Local Charity Partner).
Entry to the race is now closed but local residents as well as friends and families of the runners can show their support for the event by lining the streets of Brighton & Hove on Sunday morning and cheering on the athletes and charity runners on their half marathon challenge. The best places to watch the runners include Marine Parade and Hove Lawns where runners can be seen going both ways.
This year the race secures the support of a range of high profile sponsors and partners including Vitality, Nick Rivett Sport, Lucozade Sport, Seattle Hotel, Studio57 Clinic, FlipBelt, Russell New, AfterShokzVisit Brighton and Brighton & Hove City Council.