Bumper turnout for Hastings Runners in the country park - picture special

The Hastings Runners Alan Corke race was another fantastic advert for the club with 110 members taking part, whether as runners or marshals, in the stunning setting of Hastings Country Park at Fairlight.

Thankfully the rain cleared just as the race started, and runners were able to enjoy the cool, damp conditions over the stamina sapping 10.30 kms course which clocks up nearly 700 feet in elevation over its 2.66 laps.

Race winner Michael Maxwell made light work of the greasy conditions underfoot in his first club race, and the 2nd claimer led the 72 strong field from start to finish posting a superb time of 40.29 which is the 2nd fastest time recorded in recent years.

Close behind in 40.58 was Ashley Vora, finishing runner up for an incredible 4 years in a row - despite improving on his race time year on year! In 3rd place was the ever improving Sam Evans, with a fine time of 43.08.

The ladies’ winner was Claire Thomas in an excellent time of 50.46, a minute quicker than her runner up spot last year.

She was followed home by junior Rowan Barton-Dibble in 55.55, with Sue Hull 3rd in 59.41. It was an emotional return for Sue, who also won the ladies FV50 trophy (having won this in 2022) as she missed last year's race while recovering from a hysterectomy and it has been a long road back to fitness.

The ever-consistent Darren Barzee once again won the men's MV50 trophy, finishing 5th in 45.42.

It was lovely to have Helen Corke along last night presenting some of the awards, daughter of Alan after whom the race is named. Alan had been a keen member of Hastings Runners during the 1980s, as well as playing soccer, cricket and refereeing.

A process engraver at Hastings Printing, he knew former members Norman Oliver and Paul Cabban well and had run several Hastings half marathons.

He died in late 1989 at the age of just 55, after battling cancer for a few months. Helen told me that the race setting was very appropriate, as he often used to walk their dog over the Country Park which was his favourite place.

Four club members were taking part in their first HR race, namely winner Michael Maxwell, Steven Power and the Barton-Dibble twins, Rowan and Aneira.

Rowan was also presented with her junior girls award for the Hastings five-mile race, whilst Erica Wilson and Lindsey Jones received their Improvers Awards for the club Spring 5k and Hastings 5-mile race respectively.

Finally 4 members - Amanda Paul, Sarah Marzaioli, Yockie Richardson and Sue Wilkinson - belatedly received their medals as part of Hastings Runners/Hastings AC's victorious ESSCCL team in the recent winter series. Many thanks to Mark at Wisdens Sports, for once again supplying the traditional finishers medal to all the runners.

Once again an army of marshals was needed to ensure that the race went smoothly, expertly coordinated as usual by chief marshal Alan Croucher.

An early start for the slower runners was trialled, leaving 15 minutes early at 6.30pm and with two sweeps for the separate fields. This worked extremely well, and by 8.15pm the whole event was done and dusted! Star volunteer was Jo Nevett's daughter Elsie, who did a sterling job manning the water station and then encouraging some of the finishers home!