SMILES and encouragement keep a first-time racer in the marathon running.
Graham Marchant took on the challenge of the Brighton Marathon event in aid of Arthritis UK and Southwick-based grief counselling charity, As You Are, and has already signed up for next year.
“This was my first marathon. I have never been very good at sport, but for the last few years have been running and enjoying it,” said Graham, 36.
“I was a bag of nerves on the night before and the morning. I have been doing 29 miles a week, but the most I had done at once was 13 miles.”
There were a few points when the pain set in, said Graham, who now lives in Worthing after being born and bred in Shoreham. “Then I saw a couple of friends who perked me up. The crowds were unbelievable. At times, all you could hear was people clapping, the atmosphere was amazing,” he said. “The worst bit was near the finishing line. You see the pier, and you think you are nearly there, but then you realise you need to get the big wheel. As soon as I stepped over the line, I thought I was going to pass out. But it’s an amazing feeling.”
Graham, who has so far raised about £600 for his charities, did the course in five hours 33 minutes.
“I hope to do it in four hours 30 minutes next year,” he added.