Poppy Half Marathon: More than 1,000 runners tackle Bexhill races

Runners set off at the start of the 2018 Poppy Half Marathon on Bexhill seafront. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Runners set off at the start of the 2018 Poppy Half Marathon on Bexhill seafront. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Well over 1,000 people took part in a fabulous sold-out day of distance running along Bexhill seafront on Saturday.

There were 489 finishers in the Poppy Half Marathon, 359 in the Poppy 10K, 187 in the Poppy 5K and 50 in the Poppy Youth Mile.

The sun was shining but the wind was still strong by the start of the Poppy Half Marathon on Saturday

The sun was shining but the wind was still strong by the start of the Poppy Half Marathon on Saturday

All of these races started and finished from the lawns outside the De La Warr Pavilion, and followed a seafront course in between.

See also: * Poppy Half Marathon: Bexhill seafront event sold out

* Anticipation building ahead of Bexhill races
* Beckley 10K: Jeff Pyrah powers to dominant victory

The heavy rain of Friday night thankfully cleared in time, although the strong winds did remain with a headwind on part of the seafront making the course very challenging indeed.

The Poppy 5K kicked things off at 10K and Richard Harper (Run Wednesdays), who went from the gun, was the winner in 17 minutes and 57 seconds. Craig Hardwick (Hardwick 100) came second in 18:08 and Martyn Reynolds (Bexhill Runners & Triathletes) third in 18:48.

Some more of the half marathon competitors set off on their 13.1-mile challenge

Some more of the half marathon competitors set off on their 13.1-mile challenge

Lucy Hall (Bracknell AC) was first lady in 21:28, Nicola Morris (Tunbridge Wells Harriers) second in 21:39 and Maddie Brandt third in 23:01.

The Poppy 10K followed at 11am and young Oliver Hall (Bracknell AC) led home a large field in 36:21. Ed Plager was second in 36:57 and Ross Brocklehurst (Eastbourne Rovers AC) third in 37:51.

Aislinn Darvell (Eastbourne Rovers AC) was first lady in 42:26, Amy Moore (Hastings AC) was second in 43:17 and Amy Skelcey third in 44:14.

Soon afterwards came the Poppy Youth Mile, which was won by Benjamin Beckley in a very respectable 5:57. Claudia Evett was the first girl - and third overall - in 7:10.

Thomas Stevens on his way to victory in the 2018 Poppy Half Marathon

Thomas Stevens on his way to victory in the 2018 Poppy Half Marathon

All involved then paid their respects by playing the National Anthem, followed by The Last Post and a two-minute silence. At 12.30pm, Bexhill Mayor, Cllr Azad, fired the horn to start the 2018 Poppy Half Marathon.

Thomas Stevens (Cambridge & Coleridge AC) was the clear winner in a decent time of one hour, 12 minutes and 46 seconds. Matt Edmonds (Hastings Runners) was second in 1:16.30 and Andrew Green (Dartford Road Runners) completed the top three in 1:20.17.

Rachel Hillman (Hailsham Harriers) produced a great run to finish first lady - and 10th overall - in 1:26.59. Emma Hollands (Paddock Wood AC) was second lady in 1:33.27 and Susan Aldridge (Crawley AC) was third in 1:34.18.

For the first time, the event also featured a 100k team challenge, in which 10 teams of three runners each ran the 5K, 10K and Half Marathon consecutively, each athlete running 36k in total. There were some fine performances and the winners were Team Hardwick in a total time of 8:41.49.

Rachel Hillman on her way to finishing first lady in the 2018 Poppy Half Marathon

Rachel Hillman on her way to finishing first lady in the 2018 Poppy Half Marathon

This year’s event - the 11th running of the annual Poppy Half Marathon - marked 100 years since the signing of the Armistice which ended World War I.

Once again, to commemorate, eight runners tackled the half marathon carrying an Army Bergen weighing 50lb (22kg). Hats off to Dean Baker, race director Lee Holdaway, Paul Atkinson, Tony Pitt, Mark Jordon, Thomas Jordon, Jonny Burke and Kate Mitchell.

After the last runner came across the line, everything was packed away and attention turned to the inaugural Poppy Charity Music Show at the De La Warr Pavilion. Headlined by local bands The Cavaliers and Chandeliers, the dancing went on until late in the night.

The Poppy Half Marathon was supported by Hastings Direct, Gibbons Mannington & Phipps LLP, Yazoo, UK Elite Sports Timing and TL Sports Events.

The charity organisers of the Poppy Half Marathon would like to say a huge thank you to event sponsors Hastings Direct, Gibbons Mannington & Phipps LLP, drinks company Yazoo, The Club at the Waterfront, UK Elite Sports Timing and TL Sports Events.

Leading finishers (gun times) - Poppy Half Marathon: 1 Thomas Stevens (Cambridge & Coleridge AC) 1:12.46, 2 Matt Edmonds (Hastings Runners) 1:16.30, 3 Andrew Green (Dartford Road Runners) 1:20.17, 4 Paul Hunt (Clapham Chasers) 1:20.53, 5 Bryn Jones (Fulham) 1:22.00, 6 Jon Boxall (Burgess Hill Runners) 1:23.38, 7 Darren Bird (Haywards Heath Harriers) 1:23.59, 8 Gabriel Wood 1:26.15, 9 Marcus Holloway 1:26.29, 10 Rachel Hillman (Hailsham Harriers) 1:26.59, 11 Adam Hughes 1:27.08, 12 Steve Saunders 1:27.18, 13 Mark Griffin 1:27.40, 14 Daniel Lynch 1:27.42, 15 Alan McCarthy 1:28.32, 16 Alastair Maher 1:28.43, 17 Stephen Scobie (Petts Wood Runners) 1:28.53, 18 Rolando Hutchinson 1:29.23, 19 David Kofoed 1:29.56, 20 Matthew Flay (Ashford AC) 1:29.58.

Poppy 10K: 1 Oliver Hall (Bracknell AC) 36:21, 2 Ed Plager 36:57, 3 Ross Brocklehurst (Eastbourne Rovers AC) 37:51, 4 Craig Hardwick (Hardwick 100) 40:02, 5 Tom Foster (Legs Miserables) 40:07, 6 Josh Hobbs (East Grinstead Athletics Club) 40:52, 7 John Owens (Abingdon AC) 41:00, 8 Jake Bourne (Hastings Runners) 41:13, 9 John Baldock 41:41, 10 Jack Chivers (Haywards Heath Harriers) 41:48, 11 Dan Gilkes 42:01, 12 Neal Hardwick (Hardwick 100) 42:18, 13 Aislinn Darvell (Eastbourne Rovers AC) 42:26, 14 Leigh Smith (Burgess Hill Runners) 43:02, 15 Dan Isted 43:03.

Poppy 5K: 1 Richard Harper (Run Wednesdays) 17:57, 2 Craig Hardwick (Hardwick 100) 18:08, 3 Martyn Reynolds (Bexhill Runners & Triathletes) 18:48, 4 Tom Foster (Legs Miserables) 19:06, 5 William Carey (Bexhill Runners & Triathletes) 19:25, 6 Jack Chivers (Haywards Heath Harriers) 19:33, 7 John Baldock 19:34, 8 Aaron Carr 19:39, 9 Mark Dobbs (Hastings AC) 19:52, 10 Andrew Barber (Legs Miserables) 20:10.

Next year’s event will take place on Saturday November 9, 2019.