Battle at Hastings
A group of kite surfers at full tilt to the wind off the Hastings coastline was a good indication this was not going to be the ideal day for some fast road running but, given this was the Hastings Half Marathon famed for its hills, perhaps that was never in the equation!
A small band from Phoenix travelled down to take on this iconic race with no great expectations; some attempting to run a fast HM time, others for a marathon paced session and some no doubt for the pure joy of the experience.
The course starts on the prom and heads West before turning inland to make a large clockwise loop of the greater Hastings area before dropping back to the prom for the last 2.5 miles westbound. There are hills from quite near the start, some short sharp ones, one long steady one and several others along the way. If you're like me this provides some stimulation over flatter courses and feeds my inner goat!
I started my race well and had some company for some of the first 4 miles but my running mate for the long drag up to Mile 5 must have expended all his energy and I was then on my own. However, as anyone who has run this race will testify, you never feel alone at the Hastings Half such is the great support from the whole community at every point on the course.
So despite the lack of running company, I was spurred on to close the gap to those ahead. Thanks to the downhill section that took us back on to the prom I caught up with the 2 guys that I had in my sights for most of the race. This I thought may be useful as the ferocity of the wind was now really apparent as we ploughed onto the finish line along the prom. I exchanged some motivational words with my new running companions as one does in dire situations but despite my enthusiastic words for the battle that lay ahead they soon edged away from me so it was just me against the wind for the final onslaught. The finish line finally came and I was thankful to be home. With the meaty Horse brass finishers medal in my possession I retreated to the shelter of the tent to await the rest of the team, eager to hear of their race experience.
A week after the race it was a pleasant surprise to receive an email from the race organiser to say we had won a prize for 3rd place vet team so Mark Cossey, Steve Selby Paul Wishart and I look forward to receiving our unexpected award at the prize giving on Easter weekend. Mark will be going to accept the honour so photos please Mark. Well done team and all that battled the course on the windiest day in the race's History.
Thank you Donald Maclellan for this report