THOUSANDS of spectators lined the streets to cheer on competitors at the annual Brighton Marathon.

From Preston Park to the seafront friends and family supported loved ones who took part in the gruelling 26.2 mile challenge.

The group of elite runners started their race at 9.45am yesterday at Withdean Stadium, and the 10km runners commenced at 9am.

Athletes and spectators came from across the UK for the hugely popular event.

This year organisers had made changes to improve the runners’ experience.

This included an earlier start, removing narrow sections of the route and discarding North Street and St James’s Street as part of the route to reduce the negative impact for traders and shoppers.

Event director Tom Naylor said: “The marathon is always a huge hit with spectators.

“It was great to see so many runners from the city taking part and we are delighted so many came out to support them.”

American Express, which is a partner of the Brighton Marathon, said: “We’re proud to be community partner for the Brighton Marathon weekend.

“This year’s event has been an amazing demonstration of the power of the Sussex community, including many Amex colleagues, who came together to support local charities and individual endeavour.

“A huge thank you to all the runners, volunteers and spectators who came out in their thousands to line the route and show their support.”

Visitors told The Argus they were delighted and thrilled to be part of the event as spectators.

Sam Summerfield, 31, of Dartford, said: “My husband came down here to take part in the race.

“He loves the Brighton Marathon and he prefers this one to the London one.

“This is a more family sort of event.

“It is the first time I have ever been to Brighton.

“I really like what I have experienced so far but we haven’t seen much of it yet.

“My husband trained for ages to prepare himself for this marathon even though sometimes it’s hard for him to find the time because we have a baby.”

Henrietta Farr, 28, from London, said: “We came to support our friend Sarah Kirby who is raising money for the charity Children in Crisis.

“She is doing the London Marathon as well.

“She has raised more than £1,200 so far, she’s just amazing.

“I have never been to Brighton before.

“It’s great that it was so busy because it adds to the atmosphere.

“I really enjoyed the race in this city, it’s really lovely here.”

Mother-of-three Karen Wright, 43, from London, said: “It’s fantastic. The race gives you goosebumps.

“You just got to admire the stamina and the determination the runners have.

“My husband and sister-in-law took part in the race and I was just cheering them on.

“We came two years ago, it’s just a lovely event.

“I did the 10km run myself and I loved it. It was fantastic.”

Paul Kiang, also from London, said: “My wife Ruth was running for Whittington Hospital’s maternity unit.

“The money we raise will help them buy new facilities and equipment.

“This is just a token of our thanks when we had our twin girls there 14 months ago.

“We want to thank them for looking after us.

“This was the first time my wife ran the marathon. It was really exciting to be here and I am so proud of her.

“After she gave birth to the twins, she trained really hard to prepare for it.

“There were a lot of early hours for her because after she had done her training she comes back to look after the children.

“We have set up a Just Giving page on

“Taking part in this competition has just been incredible.”

Andy Markes, 42, from Margate, said: “I’ve never been to a marathon event before.

“I’m here to support my friend who ran for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“It’s also her first marathon as well. We are really proud of her.

“It’s not just a physical test but it’s a test of your mental strength.

“We are also enjoying Brighton, we came on Saturday and stayed over at a hotel.

“It’s a very lovely city and we have thoroughly enjoyed visiting.”

Pictures by Hannah Brackenbury and Simon Dack