The inaugural Brighton Marathon ran through Shoreham Port on Sunday 18th April, adding a unique nautical touch to the race. The four mile section of race on the Port accommodated water stations, first aid posts and 'The Wall'. 'The Wall', comprising a realistic mock-up of a castle wall with twin arches, was created by students at Brighton's City College and set up across the marathon route at the twenty mile mark. The wall was hung with morale-boosting messages to encourage runners with flagging energy levels to burst through the 20-mile barrier and find that little extra for the finishing straight along the city seafront.
The competitors began to arrive at the port in a trickle headed by former England football tough guy Danny Mills who amazingly completed the 26.2 miles in a wheelchair! The trickle gradually built into a flood and then a torrent both ways along our Basin Road South.
Runners were given something of a respite from the noise and crush of spectators when they passed through our wharves and along the quay edge within the secure port terminals. Shoreham Port Chief Executive, Rodney Lunn said "Everyone at the port is delighted to be able to be part of this fantastic event and we all hope that the experience of running under the outstretched arms of our giant cranes was as pleasing for the competitors as it was for us to see".
Towards late afternoon, the stream of runners slowly abated but the last competitor did not arrive until mid-day on Monday! Brave Matt Rhodes, who was paralysed on his right side and is registered blind following a motorbike crash whilst serving with the British Army in Bosnia, took two days to complete the course. Matt, accompanied by his friend Andy Brown, was escorted through the port by Port Engineer, Tony Parker and other staff. To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Port Authority, the inaugural Brighton Marathon and especially Matt's splendid achievement, the port has sent a donation to Matt in aid of his two charities, St Dunstan's and Guide Dogs for the Blind.