Hastings’ Keith Chandler memorial road race is a winner – full report and links to 42 great photos

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A total of 415 runners from all over the South East took part in Hastings Runners' flagship Sussex Grand Prix event, the Keith Chandler Memorial Road Race, in sunny but breezy conditions on Sunday.

Once again the five-mile race proved a superb advert for the club with around 130 members turning out, led home by Ashley Vora in 10th place, and another 45 volunteering. The club won both the men's and ladies' team awards, and also picked up no fewer than 7 age category prizes.

Taking full advantage of the fast, flat mainly seafront course, which includes a 550m loop of the town's historic pier, was Ashford AC's Wegahta Zerom who decimated the field taking 56 secs off the previous course record in a blistering time of 25.01.

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The sun shone for this year's five-miler | Picture: Frank CopperThe sun shone for this year's five-miler | Picture: Frank Copper
The sun shone for this year's five-miler | Picture: Frank Copper

The 21 year old, who runs 60-70 miles per week, is the current Kent 5000m champion and also holds the course records for the Kent Spring 1/2 marathon and Ashford parkrun.

He has won team relay medals for his club in the South of England and National Cross Country events; and for Kent in the National Cross Country Inter-County championships. Surprisingly this was his first ever five-mile race, and his aim to keep improving in the hope of eventually running at national level.

Also beating the previous course record was runner up Andrew Green (Uckfield Runners) in 25.54, with Finlay Goodman (2nd claim Hastings Runners) coming in an excellent 3rd in 26.15 and shattering the previous junior boys record by 6 minutes! Hasting AC's James Mountford was 4th in 27.33, and his club colleague Grace Baker reversed last year's placings with runner up Kate Natkiel (Brighton Phoenix), clocking 28.41 & 29.15 respectively. Grace's time was just 12 secs shy of her 2022 course record. Hy AC's Amy Dixon was 3rd lady in 30.21,with Hastings Runners' Yolanda King 4th in 30.24.

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There was a terrific tussle for the men's team prize with Hastings Runners victorious for the 2nd successive year, thanks to Ashley Vora, Will Withecombe and Steven Hoath who scored 50 pts to Hastings AC's total of 52 pts, courtesy of James Mountford, Miller Davies and Tim Archer.

Runners enjoy the seafront stretch | Picture: Lee WrightRunners enjoy the seafront stretch | Picture: Lee Wright
Runners enjoy the seafront stretch | Picture: Lee Wright

Hastings Runners' ladies team reversed last year's result with Hy AC, scoring 149 pts thanks to Yolanda King, Zoe Hapgood and Claire Thomas, compared to runner up Hy's 173 pts through Amy Dixon, Ivy Buckland and Rachel Wigmore.

Hastings Runners also claimed age category awards through Rowan Barton-Dibble (junior girls), Jane Hughes (FV65), Sarah Marzaioli (FV75), Christine Sanderson (FV80), Trevor Briggs (MV50) and Martin Noakes (MV60).

Both Christine and Martin were winning awards for the 2nd consecutive year, whilst Christine and club legend Sarah had been part of a gold medal winning team at the recent British Masters National Road Relays. In addition Finlay Goodman took the junior boys award. Hastings AC's Grace Baker won the Senior Ladies award, while HY AC's Amy Dixon and Rebecca Mahon took the FV40 & FV45 crowns respectively.

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Race organiser and Hastings Runners chairman Nick Brown said: "You could really feel what a great atmosphere there was, and once again a brilliant advert for our club and the town of Hastings.

Presentations after the race | Picture: Helen BrownPresentations after the race | Picture: Helen Brown
Presentations after the race | Picture: Helen Brown

"I'd like to thank our major sponsors Love Hastings Ltd, as well as longstanding sponsors Wisdens Sports, the White Rock Hotel and Only Coco Chocolates. We've also welcomed on board new sponsors Sussex Premier Health, the supermarket chain Morrisons, Play Sport UK, McPhersons accountants, Swiss technology company TE Connectivity, clay brick manufacturers Ibstock Ltd, Douglas Mercer funeral directors, PB Running (Simon Linklater) and parkrun specialist Rhys Boorman Running & Wellbeing.

"I would also like to thank Hastings Borough Council, Hastings Pier and Hastings Voluntary Action for their support; Hastings Sea Cadets and 13th St. Leonards Guides for manning the water stations and handing out nearly 170 litres to thirsty runners! Finally many thanks as ever to our club's chief marshal Alan Croucher who does a superb job coordinating all the volunteers needed to ensure that the event runs smoothly."

The event has raises 65k for St. Michael's Hospice so far, and it is hoped that this year's race will take the total past 70k.

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Hastings Runners welcome new members of all abilities aged 12 and over, and as well as faster runners we're proud to say that 15 of the club's members were in the last 20 finishers! See www.hastingsrunners.co.uk – and see https://www.sportsystems.co.uk for race results

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