Young Eastbourne athletes produce one of their best displays

Eastbourne Rovers AC’s under-13s team came out in full force for their first athletics match of the season, achieving one of their best ever performances in the East Sussex League.

The strong team of 20 athletes, plus another 10 newer and younger athletes gaining experience in non-scoring events, notched a record number of personal best marks as they finished 2nd, just behind the usual outstanding Brighton and Hove team.

Hosted by the Eastbourne club at the Cross Levels Way track, the athletes were supported by a large group of coaches, parents, officials and managers who all played a part in the success and great atmosphere.

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Eastbourne Rovers 4x100m junior boys' relay team

The evening began with some excellent performances in the 75m with a 3rd place in the A race for Kristi Prifiti and a 1st for Lexie Mclean in the B race. Kristi later picked up 2nd place in the 150m (A) and 3rd in the High Jump (A). Lexie, after leading for most of the race, was just beaten to the line in the final straight of the 1000m and also picked up 2nd place in the shot putt, a new event for her.

In the boys’ 75m A race, new member George Armstrong-Smith came a creditable 3rd in the A race, with distance runner Ben Wright also 3rd in the B string.

George later picked up good points in the 150m (3rd A) and B high jump. Ben later accompanied Fin Lumber-Fry in the 1000m where both ran well, building on excellent cross country performances over the winter with a 1st in the B race for Ben and a 2nd in the A race for Fin.

Rovers at the PB 5k

The 70m hurdles and 600m races proved very successful for Eastbourne runners. In their first races over the hurdles, Jonah Messer, Joshua Webster, Evie Lennard and Pearl Winslet nearly achieved a clean sweep with wins for Jonah, Evie and Pearl and a second for Joshua.

Jonah and Joshua completed an amazing evening with 1st places in the 600m and 1st and 2nd in the Shot Putt. Evie, in her first competition for the club, picked up good points in the 1000m (1st B string) and long jump.

Pearl showed great potential in the javelin, as did her brother Fisher, while their sister Miller finished 3rd in the 1000m A race thanks to a fast finish, and scored highly winning the B string 150m.

Ruby Watkins played an important part in the field events with 3rd place in both the A shot putt and javelin.

Jack Shires similarly added significant points in the boys’ field events with an excellent 2nd in the A high Jjmp and A javelin. Byron Roberts, Chyna Wai and Vinnie Hardy scored valuable points in their first under-13 competition.

There was an exciting end to the evening as the girls’ 4x100m A team (Lexie, Pearl, Evie and Kristi) came a close 2nd and the boys’ A team (Fin, Joshua, George and Jonah), thanks to smooth baton changes, gained the lead on leg three and won with Jonah bravely fighting off the challenge from a strong 4th leg Brighton runner.

Eastbourne Rovers juniors coach Jenny Brown said: ‘After an excellent winter season more focussed on cross country running, general fitness and conditioning, many of the children have only recently started training specifically for track and field events, so the performances in the more technical events are extremely encouraging and bode well for the season.”

The next league competitions in May will be for athletes in the older age groups where there are a few vacancies in the teams, particularly for field event athletes. If you would like a free taster session see www.eastbourne roversac.co.uk

* Eastbourne Rovers sent six athletes to the PB5K race at Ardingly.

The course at the showground is designed for speed and after weeks of training, around 200 runners had gathered for the midweek race.

It wasn’t easy as a torrential downpour as runners were trying to warm-up caused a delayed start and left the course with some deep puddles, streams and slippery corners to negotiate.

As the race got underway the rain subsided and the runners settled into their rhythm on the three-lap course.

Bryan Brett was first Rover home in a new PB time of 15:21, Richard Davis was next coming in at 16:46 a new PB and first time under 17 minutes, Ellie McLean recorded a PB time of 18:11 and picked up 2nd in the under-17 age category.

Alison Moore with a new PB of 18:54 and first time under 19 minutes, Steve Hutchison with a new PB of 19:24, and Melanie McLean finishing strong in 23:04.

If you are interested in joining Eastbourne Rovers for track, field and road running, see the website www.eastbourneroversac.co.uk

* Hailsham Harriers Tom Price, Carl Barton and Maria Stanford packed their bags for a trip to Gatwick Airport on Sunday.

It was not for a holiday in the sun but to run the Gatwick Half Marathon hosted by British Airways.

With temperatures a little on the warm side, the 13.1 mile route took 1300 runners on scenic, fully closed roads around the airport and into the rural countryside with a superb start and finish under Gatwick’s flight path and to the roar of jet engines.

Adding to the roar of the the engines overhead, plenty of local supporters were out in force to cheer on the runners along with drummers, buskers, choirs and DJs to keep everyone motivated.

Carl Barton crossed the line as the first Hailsham Harrier home in a time of 1:29:31 gaining himself a new half marathon personal best.

Club Secretary Tom Price put in a strong performance to finish with a personal best of 1:34:14.

Maria Stanford completed the awesome Harriers trio to finish 2:31:56

The event this year also hosted a fabulous fun run, 5k and 10K.

To find out more about Hailsham Harriers seniors and juniors please visit www.hailsham-harriers.org.uk

Find out what Eastbourne Rovers junior and senior athletes have been up to – turn to page 70 for reports and pictures