Hastings celebrate stunning success

Runners tackle appalling conditions in the Sussex Cross-Country Championships at Bexhill Down on Saturday. Picture courtesy Lee Hollyer
Runners tackle appalling conditions in the Sussex Cross-Country Championships at Bexhill Down on Saturday. Picture courtesy Lee Hollyer

Hastings Athletic Club celebrated its best ever results in the Brooks Sussex Cross-Country Championships 2015.

The local club boasted a top three finisher in every single race, as well as several individual and team victories, at a very wet and muddy Bexhill Down on Saturday.

Organisers from Hastings AC were up early setting up for the event, and had to deal with the wind and rain which continued throughout the day, making conditions the worst for many years.

The first race was the under-13 girls’ event, which was dominated by Harmony Cooper from gun to tape, her best performance to date. With Olivia White taking bronze and Amalie Primdal in ninth place, Hastings AC won team gold. Evie Clements crossed the line 15th.

George Pool dominated the under-13 boys’ race and led all the way to win gold. Pool’s performance, helped by team-mates Dylan Boltonin eighth and Carlos Nieto-Parr in ninth, also clinched another team gold. Erik Griffiths-Thompson was 30th.

The under-15 girls won team gold too with Becky Smart and Ellen Brooker taking third and fifth respectively, and Kiera Aslett finishing sixth. Hannah Cook was 11th and Molly Gransden 12th.

Joe Body produced another great run to win the individual gold medal in the under-15 boys’ race and another team gold for Hastings AC with the help of Aaron Judah in fourth and Alec Goldstone in 10th. Harry Lucas was 13th.

Sophie Markwick had a great race to finish third in the under-17 girls’ event with Louise Nash taking fourth after a long lay-off in training. Josephine Edmonds came ninth and the club scooped another team gold medal.

Luke Cooper took bronze in the under-17 boys’ race followed by Matt Herring in fifth.

In the senior men’s race, Max Thomas judged the race really well and came through to collect a bronze medal after a sprint finish. Thomas, a 1:50 800m runner, and Kevin Rojas (Brighton & Hove), a 2:19 marathoner, battled it out and were still locked together for the final sprint where Thomas outkicked Rojas to claim third by one second.

Paul McCleery came 52nd, Carlo Forte 59th, Kevin Aslett 87th, Pete Blomfield 91st and Mick Clark 98th. Jack Butcher was ninth among the under-20 men.

The senior ladies and under-20 women’s races were run together, and Grace Baker claimed both titles after a great battle with Worthing athlete Emma Macready.

Baker recovered from a fall to catch and pass Macready on the last big hill, eventually winning by 11 seconds. Sarah Roff, who has just come back from injury, came sixth with Karen Murdoch 29th and Jo Campbell 52nd.

Erica Body and Shannon Hopkins-Harry came second and fifth respectively in the under-11 girls’ race, while Joe Frankham and Adam Morrisy were seventh and 14th in the boys’ equivalent.