Stuart Hawkes emerged victorious in the 2018 Brighton Marathon with a time of two hours, 22 minutes and 34 seconds on Sunday, retaining his title and beating last year's winning time by more than five minutes.
Hawkes became the first English runner to win the marathon in 2017 and edged Dan Nash—who had led the race from the first mile—with a personal-best time in the final stretch to make it two victories in as many years.
Per Strava, Hawkes' best marathon time prior to Sunday's triumph was two hours, 26 minutes and 53 seconds, making this his new best time by a big distance. BBC Sussex's Neil Munday captured the winning moment:
Helen Davies was the fastest woman and ran across the line in two hours, 38 minutes and 43 seconds to also retain her crown in Brighton.
Like Hawkes, Davies kept her title while beating last year's time by a significant margin of three minutes and 57 seconds, per Athletics Weekly:
More than 12,000 runners turned out on England's south coast for one of the sunnier locales in the country's marathon circuit, and the dry conditions held up well for the 26.2-mile journey, as the BBC's Sara Smith highlighted:
Cardiff-based runner Nash was the early leader and maintained an advantage for the overwhelming majority of the race.
Approaching the halfway stage, he held a lead of around one-and-a-half minutes over Hawkes and the rest of the chasing pack, which included locally based runners Jeff Pyrah and Kevin Rojas.
However, crisis threatened when nature called for Nash at the 12th mile:
That was the first of two toilet breaks for Nash in the space of three miles, per the Brighton Marathon Twitter account, although he was able to retain the lead.
Hawkes advanced his pursuit and was neck and neck with Nash entering the final mile, and in a similar tactic to last year, he made a clinically timed press for the win. He praised the competitors and second-place finisher Nash post-race:
Davies did what Nash could not and managed to keep her cushion out in front for the closing stages of the race, with Sarah Webster closest on her tail for great portions.
However, Ipswich-based Davies didn't fade and held on to blast her 2017 time out of the water. Webster finished second in a time of two hours, 49 minutes and three seconds, almost 11 minutes slower than the women's victor.