2022 Brighton Trail Weekend – Event Review

By 27th June 2022

On Sunday 26 June 2022, Grounded Events Ltd. (GE), organisers of Brighton Marathon Weekend hosted the inaugural Brighton Trail Weekend, which included three trail running events: a marathon, 10k and a free youth event.  

The sun shone for this first ever edition, with perfect temperatures for running the trails. Starting at 8:30am in East Brighton Park the Brighton Trail Marathon runners set off to tackle a stunning 26.2-mile route through the South Downs National Park, which finished in the grade II registered Stanmer Park Estate. More than 1,000 people crossed the start line and prepared to tackle over 1000 meters of elevation.

Both the Brighton Trail Kids and Brighton Trail 10k events took place entirely within Stanmer Park through picturesque fields and woodland.

An untimed event, the free Trail Kids races introduced the younger generation to trail running and saw a total of 110 under 18s having fun and enjoying the outdoors together. Our youngest runners from ages 7-9 tackled a shorter 1.2km route through Stanmer before older participants took on a tougher 2km challenge.

The 566 10k runners entered their start corrals whilst the final Trail Kids event was underway. With their start line being just metres away from the children’s finish, they cheered and clapped for every young finisher, making for a fantastic atmosphere in the Event Village.

Participants called the 10k route “beautiful” and “challenging” with many wanting to tackle the Marathon at next year’s event to push themselves even further. Despite the hills and uneven terrain, our first finishers set impressive times with Dan Stent completing the course in 40:39 and Katherine O’Hara finishing in 47:39 – both of whom were locals with Dan coming from Hove and Katherine from Portslade.

All three events shared the same finish line within the Event Village in Stanmer Park, ensuring everyone had the same fantastic experience. As part of the event’s sustainability efforts each finisher received a beautiful wooden medal, made from Ash trees that had been felled in the park due to Ash Dieback.

James Baker from Chichester was the first man home for Brighton Trail Marathon, completing the course in just 2:59:57, while Amy Harris from Horsham was the first woman to finish in a time of 3:23:43.

To make things even more exciting, the fastest runners to reach the top of Climb 5 at Ditchling Beacon – the hardest and highest climb of the route – were crowned King and Queen of the Beacon, kindly sponsored by Styrkr.

Amy Harris not only won the women’s marathon but also secured her position as Queen of the Beacon by conquering the hill in just 8:28. She was almost given a run for her money by Shukila Jordan who finished 504th overall but completed the Beacon climb in just 09:43, securing second fastest woman up it. She was followed closely by Victoria Alikhan who finished 14th but managed the climb in 09:50.

For the men, James Baker might have won the men’s marathon but with a Beacon climb time of 07:22 he came in second and lost out to Lars Blumenthal who completed the climb in 07:06, despite coming in 358th overall in the marathon. Our joint third-fastest men up the hill were Andy Roberts who came 75th overall and ran the Beacon in only 08:15 and Javed Alikhan, who also ran in 08:15 and came 13th overall.

But Trail Running isn’t all about speed and mile splits. Runners were encouraged to walk and take in the outstanding natural beauty of the marathon and 10k courses for a truly unforgettable experience.

Participants reunited with friends and family in the Event Village complete with food and drink concessions and beautiful sunny weather. Spectators and finishers gathered on the grass to cheer on runners, recover, celebrate and enjoy a day out in glorious surroundings.

Tom Naylor, Event Director said, “I am extremely proud of what our team has achieved in delivering such a unique trail running event in the beautiful South Downs National Park. Over £30,000 was raised for charities and we can only hope to build on that for 2023. We want to thank everyone who took part on Sunday: participants, supporters, partners and volunteers. It’s never easy to launch a new event and we’re so grateful for everyone’s support. We are looking forward to doing it all again on 11 June 2023!”

Interested runners can now enter the 2023 Brighton Trail Marathon or Brighton Trail 10k 
Brighton Trail Weekend: www.brightontrailweekend.co.uk