Not going to lie, we’d never heard of Worthing before. And yes, that may well be because we’re ignoramuses, but that’s beside the point. The fact we’d never set foot there before is a very good thing. A race on fresh ground is what we like; new scenery, new faces, new roads. It’s difficult to get bored with a race somewhere you’ve never been before (well, there’s a few exceptions to that rule. We won’t sour the mood though).
Worthing is pretty close to Brighton, so it stands to reason that it’s probably pretty similar, what with the same sea and all. It’s a bit like a mini-Brighton. Which is a big positive, Brighton is an extremely nice little place. Worthing is as well, albeit slightly quieter.
We ran the Brighton Marathon a couple of years ago. Not our favourite by a long shot, but as UK marathons go it’s a big fixture in the race calendar. The crowds there come out in droves to line the seafront. It’s a big deal.
We’d assumed, wrongly, that the Worthing Half would be a low-key affair, maybe a few local spectators cheering on family and friends. When we turned up at the pier we realised we’d just stumbled on something much bigger. The streets were heaving with crowds of people, all holding signs and banners. And not just at the start line, there were people lining the roadside for the majority of the course.
So, what about the actual race? Well, we’ll be honest here. We absolutely loved it. It’s not often we find a half marathon that ticks all of our boxes. The course was an enjoyable route that meandered back and forth between the sea front and the residential streets of Worthing. The last time we ran a seafront race was a couple of years ago in Bexhill-on-sea; not a bad race but three laps of the same route is mentally a struggle for us. There were couple of sections at Worthing where you covered the same length of road, but not enough to be an issue. As courses go it was pretty much perfectly planned.
Marshalling and organisation were flawless, with a nice clear, flat route. Water stations were well placed and the final two-mile slog at the end led runners through crowds of cheering people; the sun rather poetically shimmering across the sea all of the way.
We even had time for a photography wander afterwards. So as an added bonus here’s a nice picture of the pier – we told you it was a nice place.
The quick review:
Route: Sea front and residential (some roads covered twice but not laps)
Goody Bag: A banana, water, Love Hearts (it was Valentine’s Day)
How many runners: Almost 1,500
For more information about the Worthing Half Marathon, including results for the 2016 race, head on over to the website here.