On your marks for the Hastings Half Marathon!
It’s a sure sign that spring is here when the Hastings Half Marathon comes around – and it’s coming around this Sunday, 20 March. It’s not too late to sign up and join more than 3,000 others enjoying a run round Hastings for worthy motives. Nick Terdre reports.
This will be the 32nd edition of the Hastings Half Marathon, which is organised by Hastings Lions Clubs and has so far raised over £5 million for good causes. Some 3,000 – 3,500 runners are expected, the organiser told HOT. An exact number cannot yet be given, as applications remain open until the morning of the race.
Running the 13.1 miles of the half marathon course is a good way to get to see the further reaches of the town, not least its ups and downs. The race starts in Sea Road in West St Leonards, makes its way inland and uphill via Harley Shute Road and Queensway to the Ridge, continues east to Ore and then comes back down to the Old Town and west along the sea-front past the pier and Azur to the finish line, back in Sea Road.
Aside from the sponsorship, there are cash prizes for the winners: £400 each for the first-placed female and male runners, £300 for those coming second, £200 for third, £100 for fourth and £50 for fifth. Premier Travel Chauffeurs are offering a £1,000 bonus for those setting new course records. To mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, entrants are encouraged to dress in 1066 costume.
Typical of the entrants is Team Pestalozzi, the Sedlescombe-based charity, which will be fielding 30 students, staff and supporters, fundraising officer, James Bacon, tells HOT. Last year the team raised just over £4,000; this year, they are aiming for £6,000. The money raised will go towards the provision of educational scholarships for future Pestalozzi students.
The Pestaslozzi runners will be wearing high-performance running tops sponsored by local construction firm, Westridge. “We are delighted to sponsor Pestalozzi to help provide life changing opportunities to disadvantaged communities,” says the firm’s Laura Harffey. The team have also been widely supported by the local community, who have sourced trainers for them.
Priyansh Gupta, a Pestalozzi student who ran last year, describes the moment he crossed the finish line: “I crossed the line and for the first time in my life, I felt truly victorious. I wanted to laugh for no reason at all and wanted to cry tears of joy. The miracle isn’t that I finished, it’s that I had the courage to start.”
After years of knee injuries and a dodgy back, James himself has decided to bite the bullet and run the half marathon. “It is such an honour to be able to run under the banner of Pestalozzi and know that the aches and pains will be fully worth it, knowing that lives will be changed as a result of the sponsorship raised,” he says.
Hastings Half Marathon Sunday 20 March, starting 10.30am in Sea Road, West St Leonards. You can enter the race online up to midday on Friday 18 March, or on the morning of the race at the start location. It costs £26 for those with a UK Athletics competition licence and £28 for those without.
If you wish to support Team Pestalozzi you can donate on their JustGiving page, contact James Bacon on James.Bacon@pestalozzi.org.uk to pledge your donation or text PEST16 £10 (or whatever amount you’d like to give) to 70070.
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