Eastbourne 10k: Runners are out in force to support autism charity

Alex Collins (centre) Tom Collins (left) and Jamie Topping celebrate on the podium
Alex Collins (centre) Tom Collins (left) and Jamie Topping celebrate on the podium

The sun was shining, people were smiling, and temperatures soared for the inaugural Eastbourne 10k on Sunday, July 8 on Eastbourne’s Seafront.

The locally organised event was a sell out with more than 300 entrants. Participants of all abilities took part in the 10k starting near the Bandstand and taking in much of Eastbourne’s lower prom. Many supported the charity Aspens, formerly known as Autism Sussex, raising funds for sensory items at Burton Cottages in Robertsbridge, East Sussex. The majority were not experienced runners, and by sheer determination they completed the course in temperatures which rose to 30 degrees.

Race directors Liz Lumber and Sue Fry were thrilled with the support for the event and raised more than £1,000 for the charity ‘Aspens’.

Alex Collins, who has type one diabetes and runs for London Heathside Runners, led the race from the claxon to finish in 36mins 38secs. Race organiser Sue Fry said, “Alex did superbly well. He wants to inspire other type one diabetics to do lots of exercise.”

Keeping it in the family, his brother Tom Collins was second in 38mins59secs, followed closely by Jamie Topping of Burgess Hill Runners in 39mins 4secs.

First lady over the line was Rachel Hillman from Hailsham Harriers in an impressive time of 39mins 51 secs. Second lady was the rapidly improving Louise Oliphant from Eastbourne Rovers with a strong performance of 44mins 16 secs. Third lady was another talented local athlete, Gill Wheeler from Meads Runners in a fine performance of 45mins37secs.

Other age grade winners were Steve Saunders and Wendy Oates in the 40-49 age category, Mark Parry and Jo Buckley in the 50-59 age category, Graham Purdye and Frances Delves in the 60-69 age category and Norman Harris and Pam Hart in the over 70 age category. (Full results can be found at the velopace.raceresults.com)

A team of more than 30 volunteers encouraged and directed the runners safely along the seafront route. The West Rocks Beach Club kindly donated a welcome bacon sandwich and drink to all marshals after the event!

John Scofield Photography captured the runners around the course and Neil Taylor’s team from the Eastbourne Sea Cadets did a sterling job at manning the much-needed water station.

Wes Mechen of the Tempo Run Shop not only sponsored prizes for the event, he also put in an impressive performance coming fifth overall. The podium presentations were carried out by Sarah Coppard of Citrus Conveyancing who kindly sponsored the race numbers. Every finisher was presented with an Eastbourne 10k medal as they crossed the line by young helpers Fin Lumber – Fry and James Macenhill.

“We are delighted with the event,” added Sue. “It was a great success and thanks to all the runners and volunteers who made it happen in very hot conditions. We have had so much positive feedback and we hope to put the race on again next year.”

The next event, hosted by Sue Fry and Liz Lumber of smallfry fitness events, is the Eastbourne Junior Twilight Run on Wednesday August 22 (6.15pm) for children aged 4-14 of all abilities.

See facebook page or https://register.primoevents.com/ps/event/

To donate to the Burton Cottages project visit: http://www.autismsussex.org.uk/our-services/adult-services/residential-services-burton-cottages/