Hastings Half Marathon champ joins select group

Ben Fish crosses the line to win the 2017 Hastings Half Marathon. Picture courtesy Frank Copper
Ben Fish crosses the line to win the 2017 Hastings Half Marathon. Picture courtesy Frank Copper

Ben Fish joined a select group of two-time Hastings Half Marathon winners after powering to a dominant victory yesterday (Sunday) morning.

The Blackburn Harriers talent led from start to finish to win the Hastings Lions Club-organised event by nearly five minutes in a time of one hour, nine minutes and 52 seconds.

Fish became the seventh man to have won the race twice in its 33-year history having previously triumphed in 2010. He also came second in 2014 and third in 2012.

“It’s always been a nice weekend,” said Fish, who arrived in Hastings with his wife (who he first met by travelling to Hastings) late on Saturday afternoon and made the approximately 300-mile trip back to Lancashire today. “I quite like Hastings; it’s got a nice character and the atmosphere’s fantastic.”

No man has ever won the event three times (Birhan Dagne was the leading lady in 2007, 2006 and 1998) so Fish potentially has a chance to create a slice of race history in the future.

“It would be very nice to win it three times,” he continued. “I wasn’t sure I would ever win it in 2010 and it would be nice to win it another time if possible.”

Fish was in a class of his own as he left the rest of the field trailing in his wake. He had already opened up a gap by the first corner at the end of Sea Road and was well clear after the opening mile, steadily increasing his advantage thereafter.

He said: “I wanted to go out hard and get a fast first mile in. I knew it would be a head wind on the way back so I didn’t really want anyone near me on that bit.”

Fish’s time was around a minute-and-three-quarters slower than his previous Hastings victory, but it may well have been quicker than in 2010 had it not been for the very strong headwind along the finishing seafront stretch.

“I felt alright going up the hills and it was as fast as I’ve run the first 10 miles in the past,” he continued. “But when we ran down to the Old Town, just past the casino bit, that’s when it (the wind) really blasted at me and I knew it was going to be a long two-and-a-half miles (to the finish).”

Having won the previous weekend’s Bath Half Marathon in 65:16 and recently set a course record at the Ron Hill Accrington 10K with 31:42, Fish is enjoying a real golden run of form at the age of 34.

“I’m really happy with how my form’s been going recently,” he said. “I think I’m running as well as at any point of my career.

“I’ve probably not been running well for a couple of years so it’s nice to be back in good form. I’ve managed to get some consistency behind me. I got married last year so I’ve settled down as well.”

Fish isn’t planning on competing in any of the spring marathons having focused on shorter distances in a bid to regain form. He will instead focus on the 3,000m and 5,000m disciplines on the track during the summer with a view to probably doing a marathon next spring.

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