7 Apr

Pepper Is Hot Favourite For Brighton Marathon

Jon PepperLast year's Brighton Marathon saw 10,723 runners finish between 2:09:56 (Duncan Maiyo) and 9:21:32 (Peter Edwards) on the Sussex seafront, and this year is set to exceed previous participation levels as more than 12,000 starters are expected to line up on Madeira Drive on Sunday (9 April). The 2017 race will feature a strong domestic field with the real possibility of a local winner as there are no elite overseas entries to fill the leading positions.

The course records are held by Kenyan athletes William Chebor (2:09:25 in 2014) and Eunice Kales (2:28:50 in 2013), ranking Brighton Marathon as the second fastest 26.2-mile race in Britain after Virgin Money London Marathon. The best British results were achieved in 2011 by Dan Robinson (4th, 2:19:11) and Aly Dixon, who won the women’s race (2:34:51) before improving to 2:31:08 when finishing runner-up in 2013.
Runners expected to shine this year include Brighton resident Jon Pepper (pictured) who competes for Brighton Phoenix and was the first British man at Brighton Marathon in 2013 (8th, 2:20:28). Another local who will get the crowd cheering is Kevin Rojas (Brighton and Hove City AC) who ran his debut marathon in Brighton in 2011 (2:48:36) and boasts the fastest time in the field (2:18.44) set in Berlin in 2015. 
The women's race could boil down to an intense battle between Helen Davies (Ipswich Jaffa) and Hayley Munn (Winchester). Though Davies' best (2:34:11) is superior to Munn's (2:37:44), Munn has the better recent form over the distance but lost to Davies in the recent Great Bentley Half Marathon. This one will go down to the wire. 
The main event is supported by the BM10K, where there are great hopes of local success for Caroline Hoyte (Arena 80) and Finn McNally (Brighton Phoenix). Caroline won the recent Eastleigh 10K (35:53) and Finn ran a 5k PB in Armagh (14:28) and has been training in Ethiopia with fellow Brightonian Charlie Grice and four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah.
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