WITH PICTURES: A sun-drenched seafront played host to hundreds of charity runners at this year’s Sport Relief fundraiser.
Streams of people donned their trainers and flocked to Brighton’s Madeira Drive in aid of the biennial charity event from the organisers of Comic Relief, which aims to raise cash for vulnerable people in the UK and the world’s poorest countries.
Organisers of the Brighton and Hove Mile estimated that 1,000 people took part in yesterday’s challenge – taking on one-mile, three-mile or six-mile challenges.
Among them were those wearing eye-catching fancy dress outfits, including a man dressed as a banana and a pair of 118 118 men. Also taking part was a 71-year-old recovering stroke victim.
Lorraine Frith, from Brighton, suffered a stroke six years ago and was subsequently paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.
However, aided by only a walking stick, she courageously completed the one-mile race in a personal best 25 minutes.
Ms Frith said: “I did it two years ago and completed it in just over 30 minutes, so I am very pleased to have beaten my time.
“I have come a long way since my stroke and had my family here to support me. Most importantly I raised £312 for charity.”
Dylan Tyndale, 11, from Brighton, said: “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I practised by running round Hove Park yesterday. I think I could do it again.”
Out-of-breath Brighton girls Lottie Jephson and Tara May, both 14, raised £150 between them.
Lottie said: “It wasn’t a walk in the park. We haven’t been training but we went for a run. We have the mini-mile at the marathon in two weeks so it was good practice for that.”
The warm spring sunshine even coaxed politicians to sport their shorts on the seafront.
Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, said: “It was fun and for a great cause, but I am a bit out of shape and need to get practising for next year’s half-marathon.
“I tweeted this morning asking for donations so hopefully my colleagues in Parliament will dig deep.”
Spectators and runners were given plenty to do away from the running course, with scores of stalls and games open.
Early risers were also treated to a glimpse of one of Britain’s fastest growing sports. The city’s first ever land paddling race saw about 40 competitors vying for victory in a three-mile race, which was won by Charlie Gray. Land paddling is a skateboard version of stand up paddleboarding, which sees people cruising on a longboard skateboard with a stick to help gain momentum.
Dave Samuel, of DSA, the organiser of the Brighton Sport Relief event, said: “This is the third time the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile has come to Brighton and we’ve had a great turnout with around 1,000 pre-race registrations.
“The weather has been great and we’ve had lots on offer for people to do outside the running course. It’s been a good day for a great cause.”
Yesterday’s fundraiser was one of thousands of similar events taking place in aid of this year’s appeal. More than £53 million had been raised by yesterday afternoon – a new record for Sport Relief.
For more information visit www.sportrelief.com.
Click on play below to see a video of other Sport Relief efforts: