Watt breezes to big race win

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Runners battled through very strong winds in the Poppy Half Marathon on Saturday.

A total of 984 hardy souls finished the seventh annual staging of the popular TL Sports Events-organised race in Bexhill.

Third-placed Greg Cole (left) and eventual winner Daniel Watt set the early pace in the Poppy Half Marathon. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-141011-205355002)

Third-placed Greg Cole (left) and eventual winner Daniel Watt set the early pace in the Poppy Half Marathon. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-141011-205355002)

Spectators also came out in good numbers to watch a primarily seafront-based race which took place against a backdrop of large waves crashing high up the beach.

In fact, although organisers cleared the promenade of stones on the morning of the event, the sea came up onto part of the promenade, bringing stones with it, just as the race got started.

Daniel Watt, of Tonbridge AC, put all that to one side to triumph by more than three minutes in a time of 1:16:04. A mere three-and-a-half seconds separated second and fourth with Gary McNamara just leading home Greg Cole (Tonbridge AC) and James Miles (Brighton Phoenix AC).

Elizabeth Lumber was the first lady in a time of 1:32:57. Caitlin Block and Kim Lo (Haywards Heath Harriers) weren’t far behind in second and third respectively.

The race was held over a fast, flat course of three 7k loops, all on the promenade and nearby roads. It started outside Coast Bar & Grill on De La Warr Parade and runners headed west along the seafront before moving onto the lower promenade. They then turned and headed back to the start via Richmond Avenue and The Polegrove before repeating the route twice more.

There was also a quarter marathon, 5k and children’s races. The races were preceded by a two-minute silence and there was a singing of the national anthem by local X Factor star Hannah Bradbeer.

In addition to supporting the Royal British Legion, nearly £1,000 has been raised for the “Help the Wounded Royal Marines” charity.