World indoor rowing champ is back in the race - in fancy dress

mark mitchell in the hastings half marathon
mark mitchell in the hastings half marathon

From the heat of the world indoor rowing championship in Boston to the chill of Hastings at the start of its annual half-marathon on Sunday - Bexhill’s Mark Mitchell has done it all this month.

Scarcely had dust settled on his towering achievement in becoming a world champion - having beaten a Spanish Olympian rival over 2k - than he was back in the game, this time dressed as a reindeer and pushing a cart with Olaf, the carrot-nosed comic snowman from Frozen, languishing inside.

What’s more is that even with the cart and outfit Mark finished faster than many runners trying their utmost to clock up a decent time.

It’s an event Mark has done every year, mostly pushing one of his two daughters in front, but this year he said neither Hannah or Izzy wanted to take part.

Mark, 40, of Plemont Gardens, said: “Sadly they think they are too old. It’s been the first time running without pushing them in six years. Was great fun, lots of runners wishing me well, and saying things like - you overtook me here last year!

“It was a surprise to get under 1:50 as I’ve only done one run, so fortunately the rowing has helped...And I can’t stop singing ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’”

Mark found out later in the week that he came in 1072 in 1:49.33, and he was pleased that he wasn’t overtaken the whole way round.

“I worked out that I managed to overtake 1600 people - and they all gave me words of encouragement, or said - not again! Followed by a pat on the back. Such an amazing atmosphere. Will be back again next year.”

Mark’s success in the world indoor rowing championship followed the British Indoor Championship held in mid-February at the Olympic Velodrome when the Bexhill Rowing Club oarsman created a new national record.

Having cracked that one he flew to Boston to take on the world title, racing over the standard Olympic distance on the rowing machine, and pitting himself against some 2200 competitors.

Rowing as a lightweight Mark was drawn up against the new World Record Holder Jesus Gonzalez-Alvarez who is part of the Spanish Nations squad. Jesus broke the world record earlier this year so was in top form coming in to this event. The pair were level with 300 metres to go but Mark managed to find that bit extra and pulled off a dramatic victory.