Hastings Half Marathon goes ahead - but not as we know it

With the Hastings Half Marathon cancelled for a second successive year because of the Covid pandemic and the associated lockdown restrictions, organisers decided to stage a virtual version instead.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 7:18 am
Kevin Blowers saved his Hastings Half for a rainy day...

Runners were able to cover the distance on their own and post an official time. In total 278 athletes entered the Virtual Half Marathon, and 23 youngsters entered the mini run. Some 133 posted a finishing time in the half, and 20 in the mini run.

Dale Saxby posted the best time of 1.23.42, followed by the evergreen Darren Barzee of Hastings Runners in a time of 1.26.14. Barzee has run in every renewal of the Hastings Half and didn’t want to miss out this year. David Brook came third in 1.28.44, followed by the second Hastings Runners member Kieran Price in 1.29.03.

See a list of all finishers and their times in this week's (March 26) edition of the Hastings Observer

Eric Hardwick was free of race organisation duties for a change so was able to do his own half marathon - on the proper course

The best time recorded by a female runner was Paula Blackledge (Brighton and Hove AC) in 1.32.52, followed by Yolanda King in 1.37.18, and Joanna Arscott from Bishop Stortford AC in 1.45.36.

Others who kept up their record of taking part in all events since the first one included Ray Grief, Sean Tyler and the amazing Sylvia Huggett.

First international guest to finish was Harm Kuipers from Holland in 1.43.51.

There were also finishers from Cyprus and many running clubs around the UK, including The Lonely Goat RC and clubs in Waverley and Bishop Stortford among many others.

Race director Eric Hardwick posted a time of 3hr 7min 21sec on the actual route.

It was the first time he had been allowed to take part for 20 years!

The best time posted in the 2km mini run was by Lucienne Simkin Day in 6min 14sec.

Very importantly, many entrants raised money for their own special causes and charities, with significant sums netted by many.

More than £200 was donated to the Hastings Lions Club as a result of the event.

Race boss Hardwick said: “We trust that everyone enjoyed the experience and the Hastings Lions Club would like to thank those for taking part and fundraising at the same time.

“We will now hopefully look forward to March 20, 2022, for the next Hastings Half Marathon, which we trust will go ahead.

“Runners can enter now at www.hastings-half.co.uk – it is expected there will be a great demand for entries, bearing in mind we have now had the last two events cancelled. And it is likely numbers will be limited.”

One of the half marathon sponsors AfterShokz, a leading producer of bone conductor headphones,offered to donatea pair of headphones each to a male and female from the virtual event.

Winning names were picked at random from the finishing list – and Rob Thomas and Katy Matthews will be presented with them at Wisdens Sports in due course.