Race Report – 18th March 2018

The Hastings half marathon has always been a bit of a favourite for Heathfield Road runners.  It’s a well-supported, local race, a challenging route and a Sussex Grand Prix race – early in the year – so many runners are putting away the cross country trainers and dusting off the road shoes.  This year was no exception with no fewer than 14 club members heading down to the coast.  We had all been monitoring the weather for the preceding 2-3 days with a (mini) Beast from the East due to hit us – and – as predicted snow fell on Saturday 17th March and there was a bit of a nip in the air.  By Sunday morning the snow had (mostly) gone and the race was on.  But it was cold!  Most people agreed about -2 degrees –  with a brisk easterly wind giving a wind chill that made it feel more like  -7.

But we’re a hardy lot in Heathfield and we headed down to the 10.30am start on the seafront in St. Leonards.  The temperature rather limited the pre-race fun and chats with most people just trying to keep warm enough to start – but once we are off – running straight into the headwind – it all settles down.  There are a couple of short sharp climbs in the first couple of miles which warm everyone up and gloves and hats start to come off.  Then the long two and a half mile climb up Queensway – good to see Tony’s familiar face at the top cheering on the red vests and taking photos.  The route then “undulates” for another three miles or so – reaching a low point (for me at least) with a run uphill into the eye-watering wind and cold before the U-turn at the Sports Centre.  As soon as we turn the wind drops (or is at least behind and assisting us) and so begins the long descent to Hastings Old Town and the final 2 mile flat run in to the finish along the front and past the award winning pier.  Good to save a bit of energy for the end as the terrain gets easier.

As always there are some good results at the end.  Special mention to David in his marathon preparation coming home in under 1 hour 30 mins – with another 6 runners (Rowan, Roy, Graham, Ivan, Will and our newly elected chair Niki) breaking the 2 hour barrier.  Brilliant runs by Eddie and Alex – just seconds over the two hours – that must hurt – but great runs anyway!  Gill and I made it home after a two month break from the distance.  And fantastic to see three runners who completed our couch to 5K programme last summer – finishing their first half marathon in fine style.  Well done to Ely, Sharon and Caroline who ran together!

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Bad luck to Fleur (injury) and Matt (work) – who had planned to be there but did not start – we missed you!  Maybe next year………………………

1:28:09 David Woollard

1:35:11 Rowan Baker

1:39:24 Roy Cooper

1:42:09 Graham Chapman

1:42:35 Will Blanford

1:42:36 Ivan Horsefall-Turner

1:52:05 Niki Marr

2:00:09 Alex Huddard

2:00:48 Eddie Diplock

2:08:45 Gwyn Carter

2:22:59 Gill Boorman

2:33:08 Sharon Nicoll

2:33:08 Eleanor Nivan

2:33:08 Caroline Short

13.1 x 12 Postscript

If you followed the trials and tribulations of our 2017 challenge to run 12 half marathons in 12 months – here is a little update………………  We have had a bit of a rest from the half marathons – January and February off – and I have to confess to rather missing them.  So tomorrow (weather permitting – it promises to be freezing) we return to the starting pen – this time for the Hastings Half Marathon (hard and hilly).

But last night was Heathfield Road Runners AGM and awards night.  And Gill and I are now living proof that running awards are not all about youth (well not in my case anyway) or speed.  I think it is fair to say that we were both absolutely delighted to share the club’s award for Female Performance of the year.

We didn’t run the half marathons for an award – we ran them for fun (yes Gill we did!!)  – but the award was the icing on the cake.  And the reason?  Because it confirmed for me what I have always believed about running and runners.  That anyone can do it.  And the running community is just the best – you are welcomed and your achievements celebrated whoever you are and however you run…………….

So if there is anyone out there still on the couch…………………

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Hastings half marathon – bring it on!!