Posted 13 April 2012 by Andrew Gardner
I'm thinking fitness with the Brighton Marathon taking place this weekend and the Olympic torch relay route - with its Sussex sections, of course – being announced recently. I just wish the thinking could translate into a bit more doing... don't we all?
The Brighton Marathon course always takes in the best local scenery, from lovely Preston Park and the Regency-era Royal Pavilion to some fabulous stretches of coast with magnificent views. This year's route is designed to be a bit faster than usual, with one of the big climbs around Ovingdean East Sussex taken out and an extra loop added around Portslade, West Sussex instead. A good knock-on effect should be some extra trade for the local shops and cafes around Portslade as the run draws a host of visitors..
At marathon time Brighton's always heaving with spectators and tourists as well as locals and day-trippers, but that's all part of the atmosphere – it's one of those places that simply exudes fun and somehow the more people the merrier. It wouldn't apply everywhere, but here it just feels right. If you don't have the time or the will to appreciate the place while you're running, a base at one of our cottages in Brighton would be perfect for recuperation and a little exploring on a quieter day when your legs have recovered.
A couple of weeks earlier we also had the Sussex Marathon (and half-marathon), which started and finished in Heathfield East Sussex and headed off round rural lanes for a real challenge. And towards the end of March the Sussex Coastal Marathon took place, based around the dramatic cliff scenery of Birling Gap – and full of serious climbs. If you're planning to come back next year to run or watch these brilliant events, we're sure to have a cottage in the right location.
The Olympic torch, meanwhile, is scheduled to be carried through the Cass Sculpture Park – a charitable foundation that showcases 21st century British sculpture – at Goodwood in July, en route from Portsmouth to Brighton. Possibly a bit more sedate than a marathon, but should be plenty of fun too.