By Hilary Humphreys
On a very cold and blustery March morning, fifteen Striders bravely undertook the journey from Seaford to contest the 33rd Hastings Half Marathon. Heavily outnumbered by 3,000 other runners of all abilities and nationalities, the Striders with their superior tactics and team spirit rose to the challenge and succeeded in posting some fantastic times, with some notable personal bests (PBs).
This is a challenging course but made more so by a tempestuous wind with recorded gusts of 45 miles per hour, which ensured that this day made the record book as being the windiest in the history of the race. Starting at the western end of the seafront the determined runners followed an undulating route that includes a tough 2 mile climb up Queensway, a 3 mile steady run eastwards along the Ridge, a fast 2 mile descent back to the eastern end of the seafront, and a surprisingly long 2 mile promenade section back to the finish. With a full-on headwind, the runners had the sensation of running through treacle and the finish line has rarely been such a welcome sight. As always, the fantastic crowd support was out in force and provided the necessary boost at just the right times.
The first Strider home is relatively new to the club and by finishing 11th overall with a superb PB time of 1:21:17, Joel Eaton is quickly making a name for himself. Joel was closely followed by Josh Rudd in 1:21:37 and Gareth Hutchinson in 1:25:12. Another PB was to follow in the shape of Luke Borland with an impressive time of 1:29:15 and, not to be outdone, Dave Dunstall was second in his age group in 1:29:33. This made a total of five Striders to cross the line in under 1:30, which was especially noteworthy given the adverse weather conditions.
Next came Phil Robinson 1:38:53, and he was followed by three relatively new Striders: Josh Nisbett 1:43:48, Ben Shorer 1:45:01 and Neil Harrison 1:47:49. The honour of first female Strider again went to Claire Keith in 1:51:25, and in training for her London marathon race was Vicki Blaber in 1:53:49. Completing the sub two-hour group was Richard Honeyman in 1:55:56.
Ensuring that the Striders all returned home victorious was Hilary Humphreys who finished second in her age group in a PB time of 2:01:30, Chris le Beau who was 3rd in his age group in 2:05:22 and Emma Goodwin who did stop off to visit one of the local sights and was justifiably pleased with her time of 2:19:28.