Runners gear up for 1066 Relay

A runner tackles at stile at Doleham whilst taking part in the 1066 Relay.
A runner tackles at stile at Doleham whilst taking part in the 1066 Relay.

THE second annual 1066 Relay takes place on Sunday May 6, with around 50 teams expected to take part in this five stage, mainly off-road team relay organised by Hastings Runners.

The charity event follows William the Conqueror’s historic 1066 Country Walk route from Pevensey to Rye.

Starting in the grounds of Pevensey Castle, the 33.25 mile route goes past such historic landmarks as Herstmonceux Castle and Battle Abbey, before going through countryside between Westfield, Icklesham and Winchelsea on the way to the finish in Rye.

Stages vary from 3.20 to 11.08 miles in distance.

Stage starters include Rother District Council chief executive Derek Stevens, a former UK international runner who won the first two Hastings Half Marathons, Hastings-born double Olympian Sean Baldock and Hastings Half Marathon supremo Eric Hardwick.

The event raised more than £1,600 for local charities last year.

Amongst the charity and voluntary groups marshalling this year will be Battel Bonfire Boyes, Battle Muffin Club, 1st Battle Scouts, Robertsbridge Bonfire Society, Rye Sea Cadets, Battle and District, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings and Rye Lions Clubs and the 1066 Country Relay Fundraisers.

The main sponsors of the event are Holland Harper Accountants, The George in Rye, Littlewood Fencing, Rye Bay Marketing Ltd, Friday Ad, General Dynamics and the Observer series.

There will be a full programme of events at Battle’s Abbey Green and at the race finish in Gibbet Marsh car park, Rye, to keep spectators entertained.

Runners crossing the finishing line at Battle Abbey will be greeted by mayor Ron Harris and Hastings town crier Jon Bartholomew, whilst at Rye mayor John Breeds and town crier Rex Swain will be doing the honours.

Race organiser Nick Brown has already received 31 team entries including last year’s winners Beckenham RC, Dulwich Runners, Serpentine RC, Petts Wood Runners, Farnham AC and Heathfield Road Runners.

There will be a strong contingent of Hastings Runners, whose men’s vets team expect to have a tight battle with Icklesham Casuals FC for the honour of lifting the 1066 Trophy for the first local team.

The aptly named Minnesota Loons look set to take the long distance trophy for the second successive year, travelling 4,100 miles to take part in the event.

There are also places still available for non-running teams to enter, which made up 25 per cent of last year’s entries.

Unaffiliated teams can obtain discounted charity entries by checking the event website, or contacting Nick on 07918 907265.