Hailsham and Hastings athletes shine at London Marathon – and elsewhere

It’s an extra-bumper crop of athletics reports from around East Sussex this week, with the London Marathon drawing plenty of runners from the county and other races popular too. Below is news from Hailsham Harriers, Hastings AC, HY Runners, Hastings Runners and Eastbourne Rovers.
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Hailsham Harriers have certainly embraced the marathon distance over the past few weeks, taking to the streets of Brighton, Boston (UK), Manchester and London.

They have produced sterling performances whilst showcasing their friendly black and red spirit.

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Five Harriers joined 10,000 runners to pound the 26.2-mile marathon distance in Brighton.

Hailsham Harriers trio Hannah, Sam, Frances at the London MarathonHailsham Harriers trio Hannah, Sam, Frances at the London Marathon
Hailsham Harriers trio Hannah, Sam, Frances at the London Marathon

Adam Davies took a massive seven minutes off his personal best to run 3:11:13, followed by Tom Bilton also racing to a new personal best in 3:49:58.

Club legend Graham Purdye, who had a rocky start to the year with illness, ran a fine 3:52:37.

And Chris Shoult, just several seconds from his marathon personal best, finished comfortably in 4:11:32 with the club's newest Harrier, Barry Burgess, crossing the line in 5:29:51.

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Saved from uncertainty by London Marathon Events, it was great to see this superb event with its electric atmosphere go ahead.

HY duo Isabella and Sophie shone in London, as their medals proveHY duo Isabella and Sophie shone in London, as their medals prove
HY duo Isabella and Sophie shone in London, as their medals prove

Two weeks later ladies captain Helen O'Sullivan and her partner Gary Smith travelled to Lincolnshire to compete in the Boston marathon.

Known for its pancake flat course, and advertised as 'a PB chaser’s dream', they were not disappointed as they both crossed the line with new personal bests.

Helen took 10 minutes of her previous best time to finish in 3:34:46, qualifying for Boston (USA) and Gary shaved off 14 minutes to run 4:01:25.

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On the same day, a little further afield, three Harriers took to the streets of Manchester all finishing with new personal bests.

Grace Baker in LondonGrace Baker in London
Grace Baker in London

Men's captain Carl Barton, delivered an exceptional performance, knocking 15 minutes off his previous marathon time to finish in 3:15:43, with Los Burrett 3:28:14 and Mick Husarz 3:38:36.

Last Sunday, 11 Harriers joined 48,000 runners to run in the iconic London Marathon with many raising funds for St Wilfred’s Hospice, Cancer Research and local charity the Wolo foundation.

First for the Harriers was Simon Haddon in 3:44:38, followed by Lisa Goldsmith 3:48:18, Wendy Robson 3:50:26, Barry Burgess 4:18:17, Hannah Deubert-Chapman 4:28:35, Frances Delves 4:46:36, Michelle Hollands 4:49:42, Pete Daws, running with his daughter Zoe Upperton, 4:53:08, Sam Neame 5:01:25, Wendy Quinn 5:35:52 and Maria Stanford 6:04:25 – with Roberto Proietti taking on the virtual London Marathon to finish in 7:00:17.

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Hailsham Harriers would like to extend their congratulations to everyone who has taken part in and completed a marathon over the past few weeks.

Nickolaj Kennett on his way to the new record for the fastest marathon run by someone in full postie's uniformNickolaj Kennett on his way to the new record for the fastest marathon run by someone in full postie's uniform
Nickolaj Kennett on his way to the new record for the fastest marathon run by someone in full postie's uniform

If you feel inspired and would like to take on a running challenge, you can do this by entering The Hailsham Active run on Sunday, May 21.

For all the information please visit register.enthuse.com/ps/event/HailshamRun 2023

Hastings AC champion Grace Baker made her marathon debut in London on Sunday – and absolutely smashed it with a finish of 2hr 48min 24sec.

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She exercised a masterclass in consistent pacing throughout, coming in 37th female out of a whopping 9,786 female entries.

Her time was well inside the 3.15m UK championship qualifier time.

Baker was often selected to run the mini marathon as a junior, finishing third in 2011, so she was delighted to be back in London representing her club as an adult.

Eastbourne Rovers under-15s at the WithdeanEastbourne Rovers under-15s at the Withdean
Eastbourne Rovers under-15s at the Withdean

It was also a clear club marathon record by 10 minutes.

Nickolaj Kennett’s world record attempt was indeed a success. He now holds the world record for the world’s fastest marathon in full postman’s uniform.

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The previous record was 3.45 and his official time was 3.28. It wasn't a PB for him but his previous marathon wasn't done while wearing the uniform.

On the Tuesday before the race, he had an acute muscle tear in his back and wasn't even sure if he’d be able to run, let alone go for the record.

He said: “I under-estimated how difficult it is running in full clobber and 5kg in a single strapped bag. It would have been different with a rucksack.

"It was even more painful than the 100 mile ultra I’d run. I was cramping from about halfway but the crowds got me round, screaming “go postie go”. The last 2.2 miles dragged on forever but then I even managed a sprint finish.”

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He also raised £300 more than his £500 target for the diabetic charity he was supporting.

Dave Turner was second HAC athlete through at the London Marathon, hitting three hours on the nose.

Jenna Levett ran her third London marathon only 41 seconds off her PB, great preparation for her plan to run the Chicago marathon in October.

She said the crowds were incredible despite awful weather: “It's the atmosphere and crowds that keep you going.”

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Meanwhile the track season has kicked off in style, starting with the first Sussex League U15 match of the season at Withdean, Brighton.

Lily Clements had a great race coming first in the 100m.

There was second for new member Ella Meek and third in the 800m for Rosy Fergeson. Ella was also first in the high jump and Lily 2nd.

Rae Le Fay is back on track on the track after health issues at the end of the cross country season.

She managed a PB, a national standard time and a AAA grade one – and broke her own club record in the 800m at her first open in Bromley (2.13).

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She said she could finally feel her strength c oming back and was very excited about the prospect of refining her 800m this season.

Jack Madden run a 5k PB in Battersea Park of 16.26, 18th overall.

Results: U15 Sussex league – girls 100m: 1st Lily Clements 13.9; 2nd Ella Meek 14.8; 6th Emily Holland 15.4. 800m: 3rd Rosy Ferguson 2.44.4. High Jump: 1st Ella Meek 1.25; 2nd Lily Clements 1.20. Boys Long Jump: 5th Dewi Edwards 3.42.

London Marathon: 1290th (37th F) Grace Baker 2.48.24; 3000th (179th M50) Dave Turner 3.00.00; 6270th (592nd F) Jenna Levett 3.20.12; 8162th (1298th M40) Nickolaj Kennett 3.28.38. Loughborough Open: 100m: 7th Delicia Pascall (U20) 12.88.


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London was the place to be for athletes last weekend – and HY Runners were there in good numbers.

Isabella Buchanan ran the TCS Mini London Marathon championships.

Buchanan, selected through her fantastic cross country season, was one of only five under-13 girls to represent the south east.

She spent the night at a London hotel with the other young athletes from around Britain and was even joined by 1500m world champion Jake Wightman during dinner.

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She completed the 2.6k event, placing an incredible second overall and 1st for the region.

On Sunday 12 HY Runners attempted the pinnacle of distance running and took on Europe’s premier event, the London Marathon.

Leading the way for the red arrows was the evergreen Carl Adams, who at 48 years old is running in the form of his life and completed the iconic route in a time of 2:46:45.

William Carey and twin brother Oliver were hot on Carl's heels with superb times of 2:48:14 and 2:51:56 respectively. Proving that age is just a number John Ralph produced a sensational run to claim a time of 2:59:29, a PB by 37 minutes.

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As the rain fell the next wave of HY Runners came through and Sophie McGoldrick ran a magnificent 3:11:10 to be first HY lady home, with a 30-minute personal best.

Blake Mitchell, with minimal training after a long-term injury, showed character to complete the course in 3:14:47.

Tom Brampton rounded off a fabulous season with a superb time of 3:36:25 while Emily Sims, who had also been struggling with a niggle, ran a superb 3:38:05.

Fiona Norman Brown ran a course-best 3:44:46 and training partner Danny Cornford finished his first marathon in 3:53.26.

Rob Sharpe came home in 3:59:43, Adam Williams in 4:20:10.

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HY head coach Terry Skelton said “A time of 3:11:10 from Sophie is quite magnificent. She has trained hard and got her results.

"All of the runners ran well today, and to have so many from the club entering this world famous event is remarkable really. Whether they were running for their own reasons or raising money for charities, they all did a brilliant job.”



Kieran Price from Battle ran his first marathon in London and smashed it in a time of 3.20 – bang on his estimate.

He said he wanted to thank coach and mentor Eric Hardwick and his family for their support, especially his long-suffering wife Amanda.

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Meanwhlle Hastings AC endurance coach Rhys Boorman knocked an incredible 68 minutes off his marathon PB in Manchester.

Hastings-based Rhys completed it in 2.28.19, allowing him elite entry next year. He said: “I’d trained hard for this race but was still really delighted with my time.

"To come 12th out of over 18 000 finishers was far better than I’d expected.”

Hastings Runners’ flagship event, the Keith Chandler Memorial Road Race, returns for its 16th anniversary on Sunday, June 4.

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The mainly seafront route starts and finishes in the town centre and again includes a loop of the town's historic pier.

With an early start time of 9.30am, race organiser Nick Brown is hoping to attract runners and their families from all over the south east with up to 500 expected to take part in this Sussex Grand Prix event which has raised nearly £60k for St Michael's Hospice since 2005.

There are cash prizes for the first two men and women; a £100 prize for new course records (men's currently 25.57 and women's 28.29), a race medal, age category awards from M40/F40 up to 75 and team awards for the first three men's and women's teams. Entry is £16 affiliated, £18 unaffiliated, £20 on the day.

Love Hastings are the major sponsor, along with long-standing sponsors Priory Meadow Shopping Centre and Wisdens Sports, with recent additions The White Rock Hotel and Only Coco Chocolates; supported by Hastings Borough Council, 1066 Country Marketing and Hastings Pier.

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Email [email protected] if your firm is interested in sponsoring the event or could offer a 10% (or more) discount to runners on production of a race number on the day. Sponsors and firms offering a discount will be listed on the race, Visit 1066 Country and Love Hastings websites, and on flyers. More: www.hastingsfivemilerace.uk

Eastbourne Rovers AC’s under-15 team made a fantastic start to their track season with a third place in the first Sussex League match at Withdean Stadium, Brighton.

Their points score of 284.5 was very close to the top two teams (Brighton 338.5 and Crawley 329) and promises an exciting season to come.

Outstanding in the boys’ events was Oscar Mizen with second place in the 80m hurdles (15.2s), first in the 300m (39.7s) and first in the javelin (31.47m), all with personal best marks.

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Daisy Connor, in her first season with the club, was similarly successful in the girls’ events with first in the 300m (43.4s), first in the 1500m (4min 58.1s) and third in the Long Jump (4.26m).

Other top three finishers were as follows:

Boys: Ethan Howcroft 100m 3rd 12.5s; 200m 3rd 25.7s; High Jump 3rd 1.25m; Teddy Jones 100m B 3rd 30.3s; Javelin B 2nd 19.82m; Ben Wright 1500m 3rd 4min 50s; Tom Petherick 1500m B 4min 57.5s; Jonah Messer 80m Hurdles B 1st 15.1; Fisher Winslett High Jump B 2nd 1.25m.

Girls: Josie Usher 100m 3rd 13.6s; 200m 3rd 28.7s; High Jump 2nd 1.40m; Grace Culshaw 200m B 3rd 30.9s; Evie Lennard 1500m B 2nd 5min 14.5s; Shot Putt B 3rd 4.72m; Milla Winslett 75m Hurdles B 2nd 15.2s; Katy Brown Javelin 3rd 17.73m, Hammer 2nd; Pearl Winslett Javelin B 2nd 12.84m.

Other valuable team members on the night were Grace Allit, Lexie McLean, Chae Wai and George Armstrong Smith.

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Most of the young athletes competed in three events plus a 4x100m relay so the excellent team score was a reflection of their determination to complete as many events as possible.

Team manager Jenny Brown commented: “Many of the athletes competing in the more technical field events have only just started their specific summer training so they have made an excellent start and will be able to improve upon these performances in the next few months.”

The evening ended exciting 4x100m relays in which the girls’ A team finished third in a time of 57.2s and the boys’ A team finished 2nd in 52.9s.

The next Sussex competition for the under-15s is the county championships on May 13 and 14 when the Eastbourne team will be seeking new personal bests and places on the podium.