Polegate Plodders' award winners

Polegate, Hailsham and Eastbourne athletes have plenty to smile about

It's been a hectic start to 2022 for our local running clubs - here's all the latest from Polegate Plodders, Hailsham Harriers and Eastbourne Rovers.

By Steve Bone
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 9:15 am


For the first time in two years, the Polegate Plodders hosted their annual awards evening at Bedes Senior School.

Like so many events, last year’s awards were cancelled in the Covid-19 pandemic. Members were treated to a meal cooked and presented by Bedes’ catering department.

President Sally Weston started her speech with special acknowledgements – the catering staff from the school and Mary and Noj Northway the club’s social secretaries for organising the event plus the annual Plodders summer social last July.

Jane Thomas, club secretary, was presented with flowers for steering the club through the ups and down of the pandemic and keeping communications running.

Sally said: “Despite disappointments and many postponed running events, our members have persevered and kept on running, the following awards are testimony to the achievements of our many special Plodders. “

The Plodders Coaches’ Awards kicked off proceedings, each coach or run leader presenting an award to a runner who regularly attended sessions, achieved magnificent PBs and made other members feel welcome.

Chairman and Head Coach Gary Manley, who leads the Monday group, nominated Jamie Martin.Jamie improved his 10k times throughout the year.

Run Leader Ian Weston leads an advanced Wednesday night group and he chose Liam Brooks, who is aiming to run in every street in the town in 2022 and regularly competes in half marathons.

Run Leader Caroline Skinner, who used to organise the Wednesday social, picked Steve Townsend for her award. Steve regularly attends her sessions, makes new members feel welcome and competes in local races.

Heather Long, who used to lead a weekly group, chose Kirsten Simons. Kirsten regular runs across the Downs, competes in local races and has been an NHS hero through the pandemic on the frontline.

Sally Weston presented her Coaches’ Award to David Greenaway. She said: “He regularly encourages the Thursday group, adjusting his pace for various needs and is a supporter at running events.”

Club founder and coach Brian Winn chose Lisa Price and Nikki Loats for his award. He said: “Thursday nights are supposed to be for beginners but Nikki and Lisa are no longer beginners and for that reason they are the two Plodders who I feel have truly supported the club and by doing so got better and better in the process.”

The Plodders Plate is awarded to the member who contributes most to the club. There were many worthy candidates but Ollie Miller won for his role as press officer. Many members were delighted to see their achievements in the Herald.

The Outstanding Achievement award went to Patrick Marsden. Two years since taking up the sport, he ran his first marathon in Manchester last October in a time of 2hr 48min. He won the Eastbourne 10k and got a PB and course record with 35.18 followed by a PB of 33.48 at the Brighton 10k.

Helen Blewitt won the Most Improved Runner award. She is a graduate of the Thursday beginners’ session and her running has gone from strength to strength. She finished the London Marathon in a time of 4.53last year and she has completed her coaching training and leading sessions on a Tuesday afternoon.

If you are interested in joining the club see polegateplodders.wixsite.com/polegate-plodders


Hailsham Harriers organised and marshalled race number four in this year’s East Sussex Cross Country League, held at Warren Hill.

The event saw 60 junior runners compete in the one to 2.5-mile routes and 400 senior runners take on the muddy and undulating five-mile loop.

Although windy and cool at the top of Warren Hill for the Senior race start, runners soon warmed up as they hurtled down a muddy downhill section towards Cornish Farm. The tough route route finished with a long climb to the top of Warren Hill before taking a left turn for the fast finish line stretch.

Running for Hailsham Harriers and putting in strong performances were Graham Woolley in 45th (32:32), Lianne Leakey 63rd (33:30), Carl Barton 88th (34:31), Helen O’Sullivan 100th (35:02), Mark Pope 119th (35:45), Graham Purdye 129th (36:48), Chris Little 159th (38:11), Gary Smith 167th (38:30), Hannah Deubert-Chapman 253rd (43:23), Julie Chicken 279th (45:02), Felicity Williams 306th (46:34), Sam Neame 307th (46:44), Lisa Philips 310th (46:54) and Victoria Little 316th (47:33).

Hailsham Harriers would like to pass on their congratulations to junior winners in their age races. For the under-11s, Oliver Goodman and Lucienne Simkiss-Day (Hastings AC). For the Under 13’s, Fin Lumbar-Fry (Eastbourne Rovers) and Sophie Sims (HY Runners). In the under-15s Finlay Goodman and Eve Taylor (Crowborough Runners) and for the under-17 girls - Ella Ayden (Crowborough Runners)

In the senior race congratulations go to Patrick Marsden from Polegate Plodders, overall race winner and first male in a time of 27:49 and to Grace Baker from Hastings AC, first female in 29:44.

Hailsham Harriers chairman, Andy Ruffell and men’s captain, Martin Bell said: “Hailsham Harriers would like to say congratulations to all junior and senior runners on their fantastic performances. Thank you to all our marshals, volunteers and, of course, all the runners. It is down to everyone involved that ultimately make these events a huge success. We would also like to say thank you to Graham and Lorraine West from Uckfield Runners for their huge effort and dedication in getting the results together at and after every event’.

The East Sussex League consists of 14 teams compiled from 18 clubs who take part in six races between October to March. Runners from all abilities take part and each course varies from open downland to muddy woodland. The penultimate race in the league takes place on February 6 at Whitbread Hollow, St Bedes, organised and marshalled by Run Wednesdays. See www.eastsussexcrosscountry.co.uk


Seasoned athlete Nicole Taylor of Tonbridge AC claimed the senior county cross country title at Bexhill, while Lewes AC’s Harriet Bloor continued her fine spell of form in second( 1st U20) with Grace Baker from Hastings AC third.

Rachel Hillman of Hailsham Harriers showed her strength at cross country placing an impressive sixth overall.

Veteran runner Jenny Brown of Eastbourne Rovers ran strongly on the 8k hilly course among the seniors placing a very respectable 15th.

Her Eastbourne Rover team mates Hannah Spears, Heather Jenner and Laura Seaman ran extremely well for their debut at the championships in 35th, 37th & 39th.

There was a close battle in the men’s race with Jacob Cann of Horsham Blue Star claiming the first podium spot, four seconds ahead of Tomer Tarrangano of Brighton & Hove.

Phoenix AC’s Finn McNally had a great run to finish third.

Talented Eastbourne Rovers athlete Richard Jones was 1st for his club in the seniors race (39th overall).

Tith team mates Stuart Pelling(60th), Richard Davis (73rd), Carlton Spears(111th) & Mike Thompson (119th).

Eastbourne Rovers coach Pete Standen-Payne said: “It was encouraging to see the number of runners participating from the club at the championships this year.

“The squad is constantly growing and their team spirit, hard work and dedication during training is paying off with some excellent performances.”

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