Students compete at the Brighton Half Marathon to raise money for numerous charities

There was barely a cloud in sight last Sunday (24 February) when University of Sussex students ran the Brighton Half Marathon in aid of multiple charities including the Rugby Football Union Injured Players FoundationMencapWooden Spoon: The children’s charity of rugby, and Hockey for Heroes

8,000 other runners from across the country also took part in the half marathon, which is organised every year in Brighton.  

Often the perfect training ground for the full London and Brighton Marathons, only a few months away in April, the Brighton half is becoming bigger and bigger each year.

The course itself runs along Madeira Drive, up Marine Parade, past the roundabout opposite the Ovingdean cliffs and down again, out to The Level and then out and back along the seafront as far as Hove Lagoon - a turn that never seems to come - and then it’s only the final never-ending stretch to the finish at Madeira Drive. 

Plenty of University of Sussex students and staff raced in the winter sun, many of them for charity.  Below is a round-up of the teams who raced.

University of Sussex Men’s Hockey ran for Hockey for Heroes, a branch of Help for Heroes which support wounded and affected soldiers through hockey.  

President of the club, Charlie Macpherson, explained why they had chosen this particular charity:

“It’s a brilliant cause and perfect for our club! Here at Men’s Hockey we’re trying to raise as much as we can for them this year.”

They also held a charity 'hockathon' on 17 February and are organising plenty of other fundraising events coming this March; you can donate via their fundraising page.

They had 11 members racing, including three alumni (James Bratt, Laurie Johncox and Josh Wendell) and their fastest athlete and team captain, Tom Bentley, came in with a fantastic time of 1 hour 35 minutes.

James Murphy, a Sports Scholar and member of the Hockey team, also ran as an individual raising money for the Sussex Beacon – the official charity of the event. He completed the 21km in a time of 1 hour 54 minutes.  The Sports Scholarship, of which James is a recipient, supports students to reach their athletic potential, with successes coming from Olympic games; national titles and BUCS championships.  For more information about the scheme, click here.

The University of Sussex Women's Rugby team entered 23 players into the race. They raised money for Wooden Spoon: The children’s charity of rugby, and Mencap, a learning disability charity. 

They have almost his their target of £2,000 and are still going.  You can support them by donating. 

University of Sussex Men’s Lacrosse also had a solo competitive runner in the race.

The team with by far the biggest members taking part was University of Sussex Men’s Rugby, with a spectacular 60 members racing on behalf of the Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation, a charity which supports rugby players who have sustained spinal or traumatic brain injuries. 

This is a charity which the club has supported for the last four years via numerous campaigns, some of which have previously been reported on, and which they hold particularly close to their hearts.

A previous rugby player named Harry, known to many as Beaver, sustained a life-changing injury playing for Sussex in 2015 and he remains a recipient of the fantastic work the charity does. 

Sports Scholars Jed Sexton, Jack Griffin and Axel Kalling-Smith also ran with the rugby team.  Of the race, Axel said:

"The first 3 miles were fine but then i started to feel it in my legs. I was running with a mate and we pushed each other on made same goals for each other to keep us going.


"This kept us going until mile 9. This was the turn to the home stretch. I could see the pier which was the finish line. But the pier did not get any closer the more I ran. The only thing that made run to the finish was the crowds around me."  

The collective efforts of the team and coaching staff have seen them go over the £8,000 mark of their target of £10,000. 

There is still time to support them via their Just Giving page, and they will be running lots of other fundraising events including a ‘Kilimanjaro climb’ on campus: think Everesting, albeit at a shorter distance.

Club president Max said before the event:

“Training is going well, we often go for joint runs along the seafront as a squad – but there are going to be some sore bodies on Sunday.” 

No doubt he was correct, especially as temperatures soared on Sunday, making the run unseasonably warm. 

Special mention also goes to Active US #USGirlsCan Ambassador and Sports Scholar Jasmin Turner, who took part in the wheelchair race and finished with the very impressive time of 1 hour 50 minutes and 21 seconds.

Did you race on Sunday?  See if you can spot yourself in these pictures from the Argus.

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By: Rose Wilmot
Last updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2019