Runners on marks for Poppy Half Marathon

Runners set off in the wind and rain at the start of last year's Poppy Half Marathon. Picture by Simon Newstead
Runners set off in the wind and rain at the start of last year's Poppy Half Marathon. Picture by Simon Newstead

The 10th Poppy Half Marathon races, organised by the charity Raising Money for Good Causes, will take place today (Saturday).

The popular annual event on Bexhill seafront will again comprise a half marathon, 10k, 5k and children’s races.

Competitors will be hoping for kinder weather than they were greeted with last November.

Competitors will be hoping for kinder weather than they were greeted with last November.

Day entries will only be available for the children’s races. Registration will take place in the main hallway of the De La Warr Pavilion from 8.45am.

The 5k will start at 10am, the 10k at 11am, and from 12-12.15pm there will be a children’s golden mile and 500m fun run (registration will be required for the golden mile, but not for the 500m).

The National Anthem will be sung by former X Factor contestant Hannah Bradbeer at 12.20pm followed by a two-minute silence and last post. The half marathon will get underway at approximately 12.30pm.

In a new addition for 2017, pacers will be on the course for times from one hour, 45 minutes up to 2:30 - a great way to keep runners on pace.

All three races will follow a flat seafront course, starting and finishing at the De La Warr Pavilion.

The 5k will see runners head west along West Parade to the far end of the lower promenade before returning to the start via a short climb up the path onto South Cliff.

Runners in the 10k will complete two laps of the 5k course, while those in the half marathon will tackle one lap of the 5k course after two laps of an 8k course following the same path as the 5k course but with an additional stretch east along De La Warr Parade.

The flat nature of the courses offers a very good opportunity for personal best times - if the wind doesn’t blow!

Among the competitors will be Dean Baker, Ant Bell, Dean Leighton, Paul Weeks and race director Lee Holdaway, each of whom will be carrying a World War I Bergen pack weighing 50Ib (23kg).

Baker will be running the half marathon in memory of his grandad, who fought in World War I. At the end of the month he is off to Peru to compete in the gruelling Marathon des Sables.

Representatives of Yazoo milk drinks will be at the finish line handing out a range of their products and GMP Accountants is once again marshalling and sponsoring the main aid station.

The Poppy Half is not the only distance running event taking place in the town today because Hastings Athletic Club will play host to round two in the Sussex Cross-Country League at Bexhill Down.

Top distance runner Adam Clarke, who is second claim with Hastings AC, is expected to come down from London to contest the senior men’s race. St Leonards-based Ross Skelton, who runs for Brighton Phoenix, is also likely to be in the field.

The action will begin with the under-11s at 11.45am and the under-13s at 12noon before finishing with the senior men at 2.35pm.

Hastings AC has high hopes for the likes of Jonas Judah (under-13 boys), Maya Ramnarine (under-15 girls), Isaac Elam and James Crombie (under-15 boys), George Pool (under-17 boys), Lizzie Clarke (under-17 girls), Stacey Clusker (senior women), and Gary Foster and Rhys Boorman (senior men).