Bewl 15-miler tests Hastings Runners to the limits

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The Bewl 15 is a race like no other, as Hastings Runners have been discovering.

In effect, it’s a half marathon-plus: 13 miles run clockwise around the shoreline of the Bewl reservoir, with two extra miles added from the start in Wadhurst down to the water then, at the end of the circuit, back up to Wadhurst again.

Added to this climb, though, are two more caused by shoreline access rights forcing entrants up and away from the water – and so the long race ends with not one but three gruelling hill climbs.

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Last year’s Sussex Grand Prix event was hot and dry, but rain before and during 2024 presented problems. For many, those began when they put their running shoes on – like a leading Formula 1 car leaving the pits shod in sub-optimal tyres for the conditions.

Bewl 15: best-placed Hastings Runner Steven Hoath races on through the rain.Bewl 15: best-placed Hastings Runner Steven Hoath races on through the rain.
Bewl 15: best-placed Hastings Runner Steven Hoath races on through the rain.

The majority of the course is on hard-standing or compacted earth… but where muddy, as in many of the woodland sections, skating skills were as useful as running form.

Among an entry of 430, Hastings Runners fielded 24 – and four of those finished in under two hours. First among them was Steven Hoath, placed 14th in one hour 46 minutes and 35 seconds.

Behind him were Paul Lambert (1:56:15), Martin Noakes (1:57:31 – winning his MV60 age category) and Danny Firth (1:57:41). In addition, Sarah Marzaioli won the FV75 in 2:55:10. The club’s fastest woman was Leanne Spring (2:45:09) just ahead of Bewl debutant Lindsey Jones (2:45:23).

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The 15 runs alongside a five-mile event which saw 10 Hastings Runners enter and Claire Thomas win the women’s race, placed fifth overall in a field of 109, in 39:23.

Hastings Runners has a sizeable entry in the Rye 10kHastings Runners has a sizeable entry in the Rye 10k
Hastings Runners has a sizeable entry in the Rye 10k

First finisher was Will Withecombe (34:32), running in the colours of his second-claim club, Wadhurst. There were age category wins for Susan Rae (FV60, 46:01) and Darryl Alexander (MV55, 48:35).

Earlier in the weekend, nine Hastings Runners tackled the first of the three Rye Summer Series 10k races.

Warming up for Bewl, Steven Hoath came fourth in 37:24 followed by Dave Turner (10th in 40:06) and Lewis Parsons (12th, 40:25). Not far behind, a time of 42:17 earned Chris Brandt an MV60 age category win. The club’s fastest women were Nicki Steed (47:59) and Rachael Inns (53:59).

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Finally, further afield in the Whitstable & Herne Bay Half Marathon, Luke Day claimed third place in an excellent 1:29:45.

Hastings Runners welcomes new members of all abilities aged 12 and over for fun, training and competitive running. Visit https://hastingsrunners.co.uk

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