It was bitterly cold, there was snow on the ground and many runners described Sunday’s Hastings Half Marathon as the toughest challenge they have faced but that didn’t stop 2,471 runners completing the 13 mile course.
More than 3,000 people had entered the event but the return of arctic conditions meant that a number of people travelling from a distance couldn’t make the journey and even some local people decided that running in the prevailing conditions was not for them.
But plenty chose to take the challenge and lined up on the starting line on Hastings seafront and at 10.30 set out on the long, cold trek around the town. For the elite runners times of less than 70 minutes were recorded. The winner, Hastings’ own Adam Clarke crossed the finish line in one hour, eight minutes and 35 seconds.
And all the runners featured by Hastings In Focus just a couple of weeks ago completed the course, and all did it in better times than they expected.
For Matt Badham it was all about raising cash for St Michaels Hospice. His mother spent the last weeks or her life in the Hospice and ever since Matt has wanted to do what he can to raise funds for the Hospice. His efforts on Sunday have added another £700 to the Hospice coffers.
Matt told us this week: “It was very cold while I was waiting for the race to start but once it got going it was okay. I actually struggled less than I was expecting and managed to get to the last couple of miles before I felt like I needed to stop. But I kept running despite that and was very pleased to beat my target time by over ten minutes as well as raise more than I expected for St. Michael’s Hospice.”
Andrew Battley said the people who stood out in the cold supporting the runners were fantastic and at one point thought he might even break the two hour barrier. In the end he completed the run in two hours, two minutes and 44 seconds the second fastest time he has managed and he raised over £100 for his chosen charity.
He told Hastings In Focus yesterday: “That was by far the coldest one I’ve ever known… even colder than the time a few years ago that it started sleeting just after I’d finished!” But after a relatively short distance Andrew was beginning to warm up.
“I definitely kept on my layers and stayed inside the big tent until it was absolutely necessary to head to the start line. Being in the middle of the crowd at start line helped block the wind a little and after a few mins of running I started to warm up…I’d say by the time I reached West St Leonard’s station I was already starting to feel warmer.
“I actually felt like I was running slower than usual this year my standard pace is about ten minute miles, but when I got to the five mile clock at top of Queensway, it was exactly 50 minutes in to the race, which gave me a little boost.
“I felt really good along The Ridge and even the extra uphill bit at Winchelsea Road didn’t feel as bad as I remember..
“I got my second big boost just after the turn around the cone on Rye Rd (at about 8.5miles) as a bunch of friends who all live near there were waiting to give me a massive cheer.
“The downhill stretch along Harold Road was very welcome as my legs were starting to feel a little heavy on top.
“As I came past the ten mile clock I was surprised to see that I was ahead of pace by several minutes and for a moment I did wonder if I could break the two hour barrier.
“However when I reached the seafront and began to try and give it a little more I did feel a twinge in the back of the leg, so I slowed it back to normal pace. I felt that pushing it would probably result in cramp which would take me longer to deal with than if I just ran at normal pace to the finish.
“Not having wind coming into your face along the seafront as it has previously was a blessed relief. The getting past Azur is always the absolute home straight for me, as you can see the finish line in the distance…a couple more familiar faces near the end and I was over the line. Then it was straight to the tea tent for a hot sugary cuppa!”
Robert Burns, Kieran Dawson and Alex Kingshott had a very personal reason to put the effort in to training. Kieran’s partner Sophie – who is also Alex’s sister and Robert’s sister-in-law was treated for breast cancer at the Judy Beard unit in the Conquest Hospital last year and they wanted to give something back to the unit for all the fantastic care that Sophie had received. The trio, who were joined on the day by Craig Gilmour and they had support from Jamie Hodd who arranged and paid for the unique shirts the four runners wore. They were especially delighted when their fund raising efforts saw then raise £3,000 – fifty per cent more than their original target.
Robert said this week: “I think considering the weather we were all very pleased with our times. Craig Gilmour ran with us on the day and helped us raise money. He did a one hour, 50 minutes which was a fantastic effort.
“We are all aching but we all really enjoyed the event and with cash donations we are nearly at £3,000 which we are so happy about.”
Robert, who expected to complete the race in around two and a half hours put in an actual time of two hours, 19 minutes and 24 seconds while Kieran came home in two hours, 35 minutes and 35 seconds with Alex crossing the line just a second later.
Oliver Cornwall and Kirsty Bishop, both members of Team BIRD were the last to cross the finish line, completing the race together in four hours, 29 minutes and 23 seconds.
If you want to watch the original film Hastings In Focus made in advance of the half marathon here it is…