Southend Pier Marathon

Race Date: Sunday, 27/10/2019
Race Distance: Marathon

At 2.16 km (1.34 miles) long, Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world. This was the organisers Sussex Trail Events' second attempt at running what they billed as a world first 'a full marathon over the sea on the longest pleasure pier in the world' - the previous attempt in March having been cancelled due to high winds. The format was eleven out-and-back laps on the pier, getting given a hairband on each completed lap to help keep count. The course was flat and easy to follow, all on the wooden planks of the pier. The pier was open to the public which meant a bit of occasional weaving through groups of people but everyone was very accommodating and supportive of the runners. Half of the pier is taken up by the pier railway and this provided an occasional distraction with a chance to race the train (and lose every time). As with any out-and-back multilap run, there was great camaraderie and support among the runners. Conditions were near perfect with light sunshine and a slight breeze blowing across the pier - I had dressed for the howling winds and driving rain of the Thames Estuary and had to strip off my base layer by the end of the first lap and dropped off my gloves by the end of the third. Eventually I could tell I was nearing the end, mainly through the declining circulation in my right hand due to accumulated hair bands and completed the final length of the pier with the sun heading to the horizon on the left.