Eastbourne and Hailsham athletes tackle half marathons, cross country and Couch to 5k

After a two year break, Sunday morning saw blue skies and sunshine for the 38th Hastings Half marathon – and Hailsham Harriers were there in great numbers.

Organised by the Hastings Lions Club, the popular Hastings Half marathon is well known for it’s undulating course and fantastic crowd support which certainly didn’t disappoint for the 2000 runners who took part.

Alongside the Half marathon, this year also saw the event host a Mini Mile race for children aged seven to 16 years.

Hailsham Harriers produced a strong turnout at the event with 36 members running the 13.1-mile distance and 10 finishing with new half marathon personal bests.

Hailsham Harriers at the Hastings Half

Winner of the Eastbourne Half Marathon three weeks ago, Ross Brocklehurst continued his fine streak of running, bursting across the line to a new personal best of 1:15:38, first Harrier home, placing 7th overall and 2nd in age.

It was another strong performance from Graham Woolley as he finished in 1:29:33, followed by Los Burrett in 1:29:51, Super woman Lianne Leakey racing to a personal best in 1:29:57, Carl Barton 1:30:32, Club Secretary Tom Price 1:37:36 and Hailsham’s newest member, Dan Shipton, gaining his second personal best in three weeks of 1:38:17.

Ladies’ captain Helen O’Sullivan also secured a new personal best, racing to the line in 1:39:00. Ted Baldwin had a sensational run, knocking of five minutes to finish with a personal best of 1:42:28 with Lisa Goldsmith 1:43:12, Paul Henderson 1:43:31, Men’s Vice Captain, Simon Haddon 1:43:50 and Tom Bilton 1:44:29. Jenny Katsoni finished in 1:49:00, Audrey Haddon 1:49:21 and Chris Little running to a personal best of 1:49:35 pushed on by fellow team-mate Michael Husarz in 1:49:36.

Polegate Plodders at the Eastbourne half marathon

Gary Smith crossed the line in 1:54:06, Dave Coulson 1:53:07, while Max Williams 1:55:31, Peter Burtenshaw 1:56:37, Hannah Deubert-Chapman 1:56:43 and Victoria Little 2:01:06 all finished with new new personal bests.

Frances Delves took home first in age as she crossed the line in 2:01:45.

Sam Neame produced another determined run to finish in 2:03:05, Katy Reed 2:12:15, Darren Gillett 2:17:27, Wendy Quinn 2:22:37, Michelle Hollands 2:25:25, Norman Harris 2:28:37, Julie Lewis-Clements 2:29:00, Don Currie 2:31:33, Ros Thomson 2:34:11 and Els Ruffell 2:49:25.

Hailsham Harriers would like to congratulate the overall winners, James Baker from Chichester Runners and Rachael Mulvey from HY Runners, along with a huge thank-you to all the marshals, organisers and supporters.

They would also like to wish Race Director Eric Hardwick a very happy retirement from the event.

Eric has been the race director at the Hastings Half Marathon for four decades. Without him at the helm the race wouldn’t the success that it is today.

Entries are now open for the 2023 race on March 26 – see www.hastings-half.co.uk

POLEGATE PLODDERS

The Polegate Plodders were out in force at the Eastbourne Half (pictured left).

Juliette Mirams-Camp was in her first half marathon and finished in a brilliant time of 2.23.48. “It was a lovely feeling to achieve my first half and I’m happy with my time given the conditions,” she said.

“There was amazing support and the level of marshalling was incredible. Although I’ve said never again, I’m sure once the aches have subsided I’ll look for another half marathon.”

There were PBs for Liam Brooks and Roger Humphries in the testing conditions. Liam finished in a time of 1:39:25, a course PB and third quickest half of his running career. “I was aiming for sub 1 hour 40 mins so I am really happy to achieve this,” he said.

Roger finished in 1:54:26 in his sixth half marathon, third in Eastbourne He said: “It was a great event, very well organised, good support and fantastic to see things start to return to normal.”

Additional Plodders results: David Chalkley 1:41:09; Heather Long 1:54:53; Chris Jones 1:56:50; Adrian Spencer 1:58:18; Lisa Clark 2:38:39; Rebecca Goldsmith 2:43:30.

Three Plodders braved testing conditions along the prom at the Brighton Half. Nikki Loats finished in 2.17.59, Patrick Marsden in 1:18:13 and Marco Fortmann in 1:50:33.

EASTBOURNE ROVERS

The National Inter Counties Cross County Championships were held in the grounds of Prestwold Hall near Loughborough.

Teams of eight in all age groups from under 13s to seniors took part from over 40 counties plus regional teams from Wales and Scotland. There were around 300 runners in most races.

The course was hilly, some mud but some firmer ground too. The start was very tricky since after 200m the course narrowed to just a few metres across and many runners fell in the bundle to get through.

This made the start very fast from the gun as runners raced to get a good position among the large fields.

Eastbourne Rovers’ Freda Pearce and Raya Petrova were part of the U13 girls’ team representing Sussex. The team positioned third which was a fantastic achievement.

Talented Freda Pearce placed 76th (5th for the team) which shows a strong return to form, despite losing a shoe in sticky mud near the start of the race. Team-mate Raya Petrova fell twice among the hustle and her shoe also came off, but she bravely still managed to finish 228th(8th team member).

Brighton Phoenix star Katherine Haslip competed for Sussex, and at just 11 and still with two years in the age group, won the under-13 girls race, simply incredible. Buckinghamshire won, with Surrey 2nd.

Eastbourne Rovers’ Ben Brown had a very respectable run in the U17 boys race finishing 174th. The fast start was challenging but Ben showed great determination and his return to form was evident as he picked up places during the race.

He was 5th Sussex runner and still has another year in this age group. His Eastbourne Rovers team-mate James Stephen finished 204th, 6th Sussex runner. Their team were 24th (Scotland West won).

Eastbourne Rovers Juniors Coach Jenny Brown said: “For all four runners this was their first experience of the National Inter Counties showing marked improvement this season to make the Sussex team for the first time.

“They deserve a lot of credit for training hard all through last winter when there were no races.

“The future looks bright for the Eastbourne Rovers Junior squad where team spirit & talent is really shining through.”

If anyone is interested in joining Eastbourne Rovers they can do so by looking up www.eastbourneroversac.co.uk

COUCH TO 5K

After taking part in the 9 week NHS programme under the mentorship of Eastbourne Rovers, there were smiles all round when the group completed their first 5k run.

Eastbourne parkrun was the ideal location and support was high; with fellow Rovers running along side them, and cheers and applause as each finished.

Many of the group have never run before and completing the course was a huge achievement. Eastbourne Rovers Road Runners are delighted that many of them have decided to continue running with club as regular members.

Kim Muckle is one of the new runners, she said this about the experience: “ I have always been a reluctant runner but was recommended Eastbourne Rovers Couch to 5k by a friend.

“I’ve enjoyed every moment! All the volunteer leaders are amazing, it’s a truly supportive group and a great way of meeting new people. People are doing the programme for various reasons, all encouraging and inspiring.

“My heart health is better, my muscles are stronger, I can now run and have a love of running! Thank you Eastbourne Rovers.”

The NHS C25K programme is available free as an app but Eastbourne Rovers will be putting on another course in June this year.