Hastings athletes show their colours at Sussex cross country extravaganza

The Sussex County Cross Country Championships at Bexhill Downs proved a fantastic day of action and finishes for HY Runners and Hastings AC.

Hastings AC's senior men / Picture: Andy Cox
Hastings AC's senior men / Picture: Andy Cox

HY were the host club and much planning went into hosting this highlight of the race calendar.

Sone 40 volunteers arrived to help set out the course with the first 20 arriving from 6.30am.

The winter weather gave the hardy set-up team a tirade of rain and wind to enhance the whole cross country experience’.

The HY Runners' under-11 girls on the start line

The races began with the under-11 girls and HY had seven athletes.

Isabella Buchanan led from start to finish and her incredible endurance ensured she was able to hold out for victory, which shows she is well and truly back after extensive injury woes.

Hot on her heels was clubmate Florence Tewksbury who claimed fifth, showing her rapid improvement.

Also finishing for the HY girls were Antalya Cole, Olivia Collins, Tera Buckland, Amelia Skelton and Alyssa Cornford.

The pick of the HY Runners in the U13 category were Meghan Hopkins Parry, Sophia Collins, Daisy Welch and Ava Morrisey, who all performed well in the 3k race.

By the time the senior runners took their turn the rain was falling hard and the course was churned up.

The wrong footwear choice met disastrous results as several runners had to pick themselves off the mud, with one particular corner claiming five fallers.

Racing was of a fantastic standard and David Ervine of HY completed his five laps of the full 2k route getting stronger with each lap to finish fifth to claim an automatic place at the inter counties finals in Loughborough in March.

The men’s HY team is always very strong and they had around 20 entrants.

Completing the day’s racing were the senior women and HY’s top four runners were Rachael Mulvey, Stacey Foster, Jenna French and Sophie McGoldrick, who claimed a silver medal each for the team prize.

Maria Mitchell also finished strongly.

Head coach Terry Skelton said of the day: “It was magnificent. It was a privilege for us at HY Runners to host such a high profile event.

“After attending all of the league meetings this season and marvelling at the organisation from each individual host club, we just wanted to put on a good show in return. I think we did that well.

“I can’t thank enough our volunteers, who helped out in treacherous conditions to help set this event up and ensure its smooth running on the day.

“Perfmances were tremendous from everyone and we are so proud of Isabella who is back to where she was after such a tough time with injury.

“David Ervine was on fire and with the level of commitment that he shows to his training we knew it was going to happen at some point. And what about our ladies who claimed second spot.”


Hastings clubs tackle tough cross-country conditions - in pictures.


This was the first time in two years the county championships had been able to go ahead and it was clear that very few Hastings Athletic Club members had put down their trainers and picked up the mince pies over the Christmas period – because 20 junior athletes and 20 adults all turned up well prepared and trained, ready to put in some exceptional performances.

The weather threw everything it had at the runners and spectators, making for a churned-up course even before races began.

But that didn’t stop Grace Baker, who had the best result of the day for the club – winning silver in the senior women’s race and helping the women’s team Grace Baker, Eileen Beach, Jenna Levett, Amy Rodway to win bronze.

Henry Cooke was first in the U11 boys’ race by a clear 10 seconds, an amazing feat considering this was his first race wearing his club vest.

There was a first race for Evelyn Moynihan in the U15 boys’ event, in a very strong field, so an impressive debut.

The senior men’s team came fourth narrowly missing a podium place.

Four Hastings AC athletes gained Sussex qualifying places to join the county team – Rae Le Fay (U15G), Evelyn Moynihan (U15B), Grace Baker (SW 3rd) and Eileen Beach (SW 5th).

Despite the cold weather the warm atmosphere among the team shone through and excitement is building for the new year of upcoming races, of which there are plenty.

If you would like to know more about the club please check out the website, hastingsathleticclub.co.uk

Hastings AC results:

U11B: 1st Henry Cooke 7.43; 10th Charlie Cooke 8.15; 22nd Dewi Edwards 11.13.

U11G: 11th Lucienne Simkiss-Day 9.08; 13th Olivia Henham 9.31; 22nd Connie Davis 10.28; 23rd Bella Taylor 10.34.

U13G: 25th Eden Arnold 15.53; 28th Talia Davis 16.27; 31st Amy Hunneman 16.55; 32nd Lily Clements 17.08; 33rd Maylie Cunningham 17.21. Team: 8th.

U13B: 30th Tommie Cunningham 21.24.

U15G: 7th Rae Le Fay 16.43; 30th Phoebe Barham 19.08.

U15B: 8th Evelyn Moynihan 15.09; 39th Toby Booth 17.17; 50th Leighton Semark 18.20. Team 11th.

U17W: 14th Kaitlin O’Reilly 27.12; 19th Talia Cahill 30.09.

SM: 12th Rhys Boorman 37.18; 22nd James Crombie 39.14; 38th Dylan Jannetta 41.16; 44th Luke Youngs 41.44; 46th Ethan Hodges 41.50; 52nd Dan Anderson 42.22; 56th Jack Madden 42.34; 57th Sean Parker-Harding 42.34; 64th Nickolaj Kennett 43.40; 66th Paul McCleery 44.09; 77th Tim Archer 45.52; 80th Dave Turner 46.22; 90th Chris Brandt 48.18.

Teams A 5th, B 11th.

U20W/SW: 3rd (2nd SW) Grace Baker 33.40; 5th (4th SW) Eileen Beach 34.28; 27th (23rd SW) Jenna Levett 41.41; 30th (26th SW) Amy Rodway 42.37; 47th (42nd SW) Katie Arnold 50.51; 48th (43rd SW) Rosy Clements 50.51. Team 3rd (Grace Baker, Eileen Beach, Jenna Levett, Amy Rodway).