Runners came from as far afield as Doncaster and Bristol to compete in the second annual Bexhill Starfish Races on Sunday.
The event included a marathon, half marathon and 10.5k relay, and raised well over £5,000 for the children’s charity Tree of Hope, which was founded in Bexhill.
The charity’s CEO Gill Gibb, who competed in the half marathon, said: “My personal thanks to all who entered and helped us raise so much money, plus my gratitude to our amazing volunteers at the Starfish Races - everyone was helpful, encouraging and full of smiles.”
The weather was not as kind as last year, but it didn’t stop Lee Rogers returning to successfully defend his marathon title. Despite a fairly strong wind, Rogers also smashed his own course record and achieved a personal best marathon time of 2:56:53.
The ladies’ marathon was won by Sharon Barnett, of Maidstone Harriers, in a very respectable time of 3:38:18.
In a letter to the Bexhill Observer, she said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to praise Sunday’s local event. I travelled from Maidstone to participate in the marathon having seen the event advertised in Southern Running Guide and was keen to enjoy a local ‘run’ marathon for a change in contrast to the likes of London. This is my 16th marathon since 2008.
“A huge thank you to everyone involved with the marathon and races held in Bexhill. It was a fantastic day! As a budding new event in its second year, it is thriving. Shooting in all directions with enthusiasm, smooth organisation and ease for participants.
“The marshals, every one of them, encouraged all runners, paid attention throughout the race and gave their all in supporting and ensuring we all went in the right direction, and repeated!
“Arriving at HQ (great venue with plenty of resources - and no toilet queues - huge bonus!), everything was calm and organised.
“The locals of Bexhill need praise too, many intrigued asking marshals about the event, polite and made space as and when necessary, dogs under control etc.
“I’d highly recommend this race to others, and will. I think the mix of races and in particular the team events, add extra for all abilities, providing lots of lively banter too.
“Water stations were frequent, all well marshalled, fruit and replenishment at the end of the race also well received.
“A great day out! Thank you to all organisers, charity involvement and volunteers. I wish Starfish Races all the best for the future.”
Attila Adam won the half marathon in 1:23:29, finishing more than two-and-a-half minutes clear of runner-up Darren Tickner (1:26:10). Thomas Holloway was third in 1:27:27.
The 10.5k relay proved very popular with 15 teams entering this year. The banter at the changeover area and during the race was enjoyed by all.
A special mention to Steve Hadfield, who represented the event sponsors Booker & Best in his first half marathon, crossing the line in a time of 2:58:49.
He said: “It was great fun, very hard but very rewarding, I’m now determined to do it again next year and beat my time.”
His director, Lee Cobb, travelled from Crawley to support Steve. He added: “A great event and enjoyed by many people on the run - let’s hope it grows next year.
“Remember it’s not all about cramp and personal bests - “Starfish” is all about helping children through the Tree of Hope charity. Well done to all those involved in making it a success.”
The event started and finished on the lawns outside the De La Warr Pavilion. Runners followed a seafront course which headed to the far western end of the promenade before turning and going east over Galley Hill and just past The Beach Cafe.
Junior races were held over a shorter distance just before the main races got under way in mainly cloudy skies.
The event organisers said: “The initial feedback from runners has been very positive with many saying how friendly and relaxed the event was.
“Although the weather was not perfect, we would like to thank everyone who supported the event, especially Gill and Mike Stokes of the Bexhill Runners & Triathletes Club.
“Any event like ours cannot take place without the volunteer marshals who gave up their day and were superb, unfortunately too many to mention individually.
“We also need to thank Lee Holdaway for supplying the equipment, as well as Dean Baker and Dan Renner for their efforts behind the scenes, plus Matt Hellier of Vivid Promotions, Bexhill Rowing Club and the De La Warr Pavilion. We are already looking at planning next year’s event.”
Leading finishers: Marathon men - 1st Lee Rogers 2:56:53, 2nd Myles Preston 3:10:05, 3rd Michael Whyte 3:11:58.
Marathon women - 1st Sharon Barnett 3:38:18, 2nd Rachel Cottam 3:49:13, 3rd Dawn Davis 3:58:45.
Half marathon men - 1st Attila Adam 1:23:29, 2nd Darren Tickner 1:26:10, 3rd Thomas Holloway 1:27:27.
Half marathon women - 1st Natalie McCreath 1:48:48, 2nd Wendy Collyer 2:01:37, 3rd Jaclyn Ginn 2:15:45.
10k team relay - 1st Alfie’s Striders 3:15:36, 2nd Ola and the A Team 3:24:37, 3rd Bodyshock Fitness 3:32:47.
Junior boys’ 500m - 1st Max Phipps, 2nd Charlie Jones, 3rd Joseph Appleford.
Junior girls’ 500m - 1st Hazel Doherty 2:41, 2nd Ruby Adams 2:43, 3rd Scarlett Lansley 4:14.
Junior boys’ 1km - 1st Yama Besmel 4:02, 2nd Harrison Alvey 4:09, 3rd Brodie Barnard 4:24.
Junior girls’ 1km - 1st Claudia Evett 4:15, 2nd Natalie Besmel 4:37, 3rd Wida Besmel 4:58.
Junior boys’ 2km - 1st Mark Griffin 7:51, 2nd Sam Gillam 7:56, 3rd Jake Hemsley 7:57.
Juniors girls’ 2km - 1st Hope Sankey 8:06, 2nd Kizzy Rollings 8:29, 3rd Sophie Ashby 8:38.
Full results, times and photos can be found at www.starfishraces.com
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