Ross Skelton smashed the course record in the 11th annual Hastings Runners Five-Mile Race on Sunday morning.
The St Leonards-based Brighton Phoenix Athletics & Triathlon Club talent made the most of gloriously sunny conditions to clock a super quick time of 24:33.
He was more than 40 seconds inside the previous record of 25:14 set by Paolo Natali back in 2012, but only eight seconds clear of runner-up Christopher Zablocki, an American representing Chichester Runners.
Skelton and Zablocki were neck-and-neck for most of the race, but Skelton pulled clear over the closing stages and dropped to the ground in a heap of exhaustion seconds after crossing the finish line.
Third place went to Skelton’s team-mate Patrick Acaye in 27:57 and Brighton Phoenix also collected the men’s team prize.
The ladies’ race was more clearcut. Sue Fry, of Hailsham Harriers, triumphed in 31:16 ahead of Invicta AC’s Sarah Gruber (32:12) with Vicki Clark, of Arena 80 AC, third in 32:54. The ladies’ team prize went to Hailsham Harriers.
The junior men’s prize went to Oliver Prior, of Ashford AC, with a fine time of 29:38 and the junior ladies’ honour was won by Lizzie Baxter, of Wadhurst Runners, in 38:21.
Among the many age group winners, mention must be made of Michael Middleton, the oldest man in the field at 83 who won the over-80s category, no mean feat on such a hot day.
The popular annual event, in memory of former Hastings Runners member Keith Chandler, got under way from outside Hastings Town Hall and runners headed west along the seafront before returning east to the town hall for the finish.
Entries came in from as far afield as Cornwall and even Elgin in northern Scotland, and glorious sunshine and warm temperatures brought out large numbers of spectators.
Hastings Runners would like to thank all of the sponsors, including main sponsor Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, sports retail store Wisdens Ltd for the magnificent spread of trophies, and John Nurse and Michael Hall Associates for the splendid commemorative medals. Further thanks go to all who helped in any way to organise another fine event.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to St Michael’s Hospice. Next year’s race is likely to be held on Sunday May 7, 2017.
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