Rhys Boorman dedicated his superb second place finish in the 2017 Hastings Half Marathon to his late grandfather.
The Hastings Athletic Club talent went one better than his third position last year with a terrific run in the Hastings Lions Club-organised event on Sunday, crossing the line in 1:14.48.
He said: “I would like to dedicate this result to my grandad, who passed away over Christmas. He got me into sport and into running, and I would like to dedicate it to him.
“I’m ecstatic really. It’s been a tough winter. I’ve had lots of injuries over the winter and I’ve been doing more training in the gym on the treadmill, but I was feeling good coming into this race and I’m really glad with this result.”
Boorman finished nearly five minutes behind winner Ben Fish, but was some 55 seconds clear of third-placed Alex Money (Orpington Road Runners).
“When I saw Ben had entered, I knew he would go away,” Boorman continued. “My main priority was to get better than last year and that’s what I got so I’m really happy.”
The 24-year-old was part of a small group of runners tussling for second place at the foot of Queensway, but broke away near the top of the long uphill stretch and gradually pulled away from his pursuers over the remaining eight miles.
Boorman, who was also runner-up in the Eastbourne Half Marathon two weeks previously, is very comfortable on the hills and said he felt strong, but admitted the windy conditions made things ‘really tough’.
“The wind felt like it was pushing against you the whole way, even along The Ridge (where runners ought to have benefited from it),” added Boorman, who considered the event a key priority in his 2017 running schedule.
“It was really tough going down Old London Road and Harold Road, it (the wind) just seemed to be pushing me back up the hill.”
Boorman was the star turn on what, as expected, was a good day for Hastings AC. The club also filled fifth, sixth and seventh places via Gary Foster (1:17.56), Kieron Booker (1:18.35) and Daniel Anderson (1:19.19).
Foster finished three places higher than he did last year, while Booker underlined his vast improvement with a rise of some 74 positions on 12 months ago with a time that was around eight-and-a-half minutes quicker despite the challenging conditions.
Hastings Runners also fared very well, with two members in the top 10. Matt Edmonds was eighth in 1:19.37 and Ashley Jury ninth in 1:20.02.
Edmonds’ time was the fastest by a Hastings Runners competitor for 10 years and his position was the club’s highest since the 1990s. In all, Hastings Runners provided 157 finishers.
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