Kenyan flyer romps to victory

2014 Hastings Half Marathon winner Boniface Kongin heads onto The Ridge having completed the uphill Queensway stretch. Picture by Simon Newstead
2014 Hastings Half Marathon winner Boniface Kongin heads onto The Ridge having completed the uphill Queensway stretch. Picture by Simon Newstead

Kenyan star Boniface Kongin romped to a dominant victory in the 30th Hastings Half Marathon this morning (Sunday).

The 24-year-old breezed round the challenging 13.1-mile course in a time of 1:04:18 - the fastest since 2007 - to win by well over three minutes from Blackburn Harriers & AC talent Ben Fish.

Another Kenyan, Richard Muritthi, was third in 1:09:04, while Hastings AC runner Jeff Pyrah produced a brilliant performance to come fourth and win the Sussex title. Pyrah was the first of four Hastings AC competitors in the top 16.

Gladys Kwambai was the women’s champion in 1:16:42, beating her Kenyan compatriot Linah Chirchir by 43 seconds. All four Kenyan runners are part of the team run-fast management stable which has produced many Hastings winners down the years.

A number of past champions took part to help the Hastings Lions Club-organised event celebrate a landmark occasion, including Eamonn Martin, who was the last British man to win the London Marathon in 1993 - just weeks after triumphing in Hastings.

In all around 4,500 runners entered the popular race, many of them raising funds for their chosen causes. They were cheered on by the usual excellent turnout of spectators all around the course.

Conditions were pretty good for running with sunny intervals and only a fairly gentle but chilly breeze, although some of the later finishers may have got caught in a downpour of hail.

Top 10 finishers: 1 Boniface Kongin (team run-fast) 1:04:18, 2 Ben Fish (Blackburn Harriers & AC) 1:07:36, 3 Richard Muritthi (team run-fast) 1:09:04, 4 Jeff Pyrah (Hastings) 1:10:35, 5 Julian Rendall (Tonbridge AC) 1:11:43, 6 James Baker (Chichester Runners & AC) 1:12:18, 7 Maxwell Dumbrell (Horsham Joggers) 1:12:33, 8 Chris Minns (Beckenham RC) 1:14:15, 9 James Mountford (Hastings AC) 1:14:50, 10 Russ Mullen (Haywards Heath Harriers) 1:15:46.