Kenyans take first places but everyone’s a winner in the Hastings Half Marathon
The 32nd Hastings Half Marathon took place on Sunday, with Kenyan runners taking first place among both men and women. Despite the overcast skies and chill air, it proved a great success, not least in numbers, attracting just under 3,500 participants. Nick Terdre reports.
Run over 13.1 miles, the Hastings Half Marathon is partly a leading international long-distance event, attracting runners from around the world, and partly an excellent opportunity to raise money for good causes – which is what motivates the vast majority of participants.
Race director, Eric Hardwick MBE of Hastings Lions was very pleased with how it all went, telling HOT it was “one of the best we’ve ever staged. The weather was good, the organisation worked well, there were very few complaints, the feedback from the runners was very good, the crowd support was better than ever, the general atmosphere was really pleasant and everyone was happy. It’s the best such event in the country,” he said.
Kenyan athletes took the top prizes, with Robert Mbithi putting in a dominating performance to finish in one hour, four minutes and 51 seconds – more than six minutes ahead of the second placed. His compatriot, Lenah Jerotich was the first woman home, and ninth overall, in 1 hour, 16 minutes and 51 seconds.
Among local runners, Rhys Boorman of Hastings AC took third place in 1:12:48, followed by fellow club members, Daniel Anderson and Gary Foster in fifth and eighth respectively. The first local woman home, and sixth among the females, was Stacey Clusker of Hastings AC in 1:27:36. No course records were broken.
Another 82 took part in the 1.6-mile mini-run along the sea-front for younger runners of 11-16 years.
Altogether 2,822 runners finished the half marathon course – at least while the time-keepers were still there. But a total 3,486 registered to take part, HOT was told by Sport Systems, which is responsible for registrations and timings. In addition the event relies on hundreds of local people, including droves of scouts and guides, who help as marshalls, first aiders and in other support roles. “This all gives it extra heart and a feel-good factor,” said Mr Hardwick.
This year the Half Marathon – Hastings’ biggest fund-raising event – will have raised some £100-150,000, according to Mr Hardwick. It is too early to have any more precise estimate, but a clearer idea should have emerged by the time of the prize-giving ceremony at Azur restaurant on Sunday 24 April, when prizes are awarded for all sorts of categories. Before this year’s event, the 32nd, the Lions reckoned it had raised some £5 million for charity.
The feeling of satisfaction and togetherness that comes from taking part in the half marathon can be seen clearly in the feedback HOT has received from Team Pestalozzi. Pemba Dorji from Bhutan was their star performer, completing the course in 1:30:27. “The moment I finished the marathon, I felt a great sense of achievement, not just for myself but the whole Pestalozzi family,” he said. “We are one team and that community spirit was ever so clear on the day.”
Meanwhile trustee Roger Ward crossed the finishing line in 1:51:51, coming first in his age category. “The day went without a hitch and every single one of our runners
did Pestalozzi proud; with our 18 students, two trustees, four staff, one alumnus and six external runners completing the marathon with a great sense of achievement on their faces,” fund-raising officer and staff runner James Bacon told HOT.
“I cannot express how proud I am for all of our runners completing the marathon. Everyone deserved the medal that they were presented with. And a huge thank you to all our supporters for being so generous in donating to our charity.”
Diary date The next Hastings Half Marathon will be run on Sunday 19 March 2017.
Did you take part? Did your group raise money for a good cause? Why not send us a comment telling us how you did?
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