Hastings athletes strike road relay gold – Eastbourne juniors fly flag for Sussex schools

There’s news from HY Runners and Eastbourne Rovers in our latest round-up of the East Sussex athletics scene. Don’t miss the Hastings Observer and Eastbourne Herald each week for reports and pictures on the local action.
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A sea of HY Runners red descended on Preston Park, Brighton, as members ranging from under-11s to veteran men and women formed teams to compete in the 2023 Sussex Road Relays.

The U11 girls’ A team of Amelia Skelton, Tera Buckland and Francesca Tarrant finished second earning them silver. The B team of Jessica Wilson, Alyssa Cornford and Ida-May Pocock finished seventh.

HY Runners' Henry Sully, Benji Pocock and Noah Mayhew at the relaysHY Runners' Henry Sully, Benji Pocock and Noah Mayhew at the relays
HY Runners' Henry Sully, Benji Pocock and Noah Mayhew at the relays
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The U11 boys’ A team claimed gold with Noah Mayhew, Benji Pocock and Henry Sully putting in superb efforts. The B team of Arthur Pocock, Malik Abd El Haleem and Cody Larkin finished19th.The U13s’ A team of Megan Hopkins-Parry, Florence Tewkesbury and Isabella Buchanan stormed each of their legs earning gold.

The B team of Antalia Cole, Kitty Morgan and Ava Morrissy came in for seventh place and the C team, Layla Harmer and Ellen Gates were joined by an athlete from another club and were 14th.

The boys only had two athletes and Aiden Larkin and Zion Okojie did the club proud. The U15 girls were in the same position and Fallyn Shields and Jessica Harmer ran well.The senior women had three teams. The A team of Shannon Hopkins- Parry, Ivy Buckland and Rachel Wigmore finished 17th; the B team, Sarah-Jane Pocock, Sarah Peters and Kayleigh Skelton, were 25th and the C team of Sonnii Pine, Lisa Buchanan and Susannah Gates finished 24th.

For the senior men, Ross Skelton took the first leg handing over to William Carey, Oliver Carey and Luke Grenfell-Shaw for the remaining legs. They managed a brilliant fourth place in a very good field of runners.

HY Runners' Isabella Buchanan, Megan Hopkins-Parry and Florence Tewkesbury at the relaysHY Runners' Isabella Buchanan, Megan Hopkins-Parry and Florence Tewkesbury at the relays
HY Runners' Isabella Buchanan, Megan Hopkins-Parry and Florence Tewkesbury at the relays
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In the Masters, HY were represented in the FV40 and M40 categories. The vet men claimed sixth, fourth in their age category with Stuart Piper, Carl Adams and Matthew Isden running strongly.

The ladies had three teams. The A team, Carly Hopkins, Becky Mabon and Deb Read were ninth, fifth in their category. The B team, Leanne Badrock, Hayley Foster and Susan Dunn came 24th, 11th in age. The C team of Laura Dearsley, Donna Foster and Michelle Harrod were 30th, and 13th in age.



Evie Lennard of Eastbourne Rovers in action for Sussex schoolsEvie Lennard of Eastbourne Rovers in action for Sussex schools
Evie Lennard of Eastbourne Rovers in action for Sussex schools

Eastbourne Rovers youngsters represented Sussex Schools at the South East Schools Year 7/8 Inter-counties cross country championships at Tonbridge, Kent.

A number of young Rovers were proud to represent the county’s schools at Somerhill Independent School.

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Selection took place at the end of February at the Year 7 and 8 Sussex Schools cross country championships held at Christs Hospital, Horsham, where the athletes were representing their schools.

The top 20 to cross the line in each race were chosen to race at Tonbridge.

The standard was high but strong performances came from all Eastbourne Rovers athletes.

Evie Lennard, taking part in the Year 8 girls’ race, placed 11th and Fin Lumber-Fry positioned a respectable sixth in the Year 8 boys’ race.

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Super runs also came from Joshua Webster in 42nd, Byron Roberts 58th, Archie Franklin 85th and Chyna Wae 74th in the Year 7 races.

They were all making their debut representing Sussex Schools.

Eastbourne Rovers juniors were also out in force at the Brighton mini mile race held in Preston Park.

This popular event was in jeopardy until the London Marathon organisers stepped in recently to take ownership of the race, as they did for the whole Brighton Marathon weekend.

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The weather held for the young athletes as they stormed their way round the course which takes in many of the paths of Preston Park, including a very long steep hill near the start.

There were some superb times and many personal bests for Eastbourne Rovers including Fintan Pearce (3rd fastest overall) 5min 2 sec, Fin Lumber-Fry 5.11, Jonah Messer 5.18, Ben Wright – 5.19, Joshua Webster 5.32, Byron Roberts 5.43, Evie Lennard – 5.49, Archie Franklin – 6.03, Charlie Davey - 6.18, Jessica Webster 7.39 and Ada Messer 7.50.



Eastbourne Rovers athletes are still waiting for warmer weather to produce some fast sprint times.

A strong wind in Crawley meant it was not going to happen over the Easter weekend.

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However it was a chance to test themselves against others in the county.

U20 Sophie Hutchison had the hardest race, the one-lap 400m. She used the benefit of the tailwind at the start to stay in the mix and although it was a hard battle down the home straight she finished only seven seconds off her personal best of 68.00.

Shania Martlew (senior) took both the 100m and 200m in her stride. Up against a mixed field in the 100m she held her form well and was the second fastest girl in 13.07.

In the 200m she left the rest of the field behind, soaring over the line in 26.12.

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Toby Shepherd (U17) and Nathan Burge (U15) went head to head in the 200m. Toby reacted to the gun well but Nathan had him in his sights and caught up on the bend. As they came into the final 100m it was neck and neck with Toby easing into second over the line in 25.7 and Nathan fourth with 26.01.

U17 Zoe Wright lined up for her 200m with a 1.1 headwind recorded. She was pleased to come close to her best time with 28.7sec and second place.

U17 Cailtyn Spencer shone in her 100m with 13.5, following this with 28.2 in the 200m.

Senior Bryn smith travelled to Lee Valley hoping to find fast races in preparation for the outdoor season.

He recorded a brilliant set of 100m times with 10.8 and 10.9, followed by a season’s best of 21.7 in the 200m.


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