Why it's boom time for athletes in Hastings
Athletics is positively thriving in the Hastings area.
The town has four clubs who are reporting increases in numbers wanting to run and take part in events – and significant improvements in members’ performances.
Where some sports have perhaps struggled to keep interest levels up during the lockdowns of the past 16 months, athletics seems to have seen the opposite trend.
It’s boom time for Hastings AC, Hastings Runners, HY Runners and Heart and Sole – as their weekly reports and pictures in the Hastings Observer show.
The feelgood factor features many juniors who are taking part in races and meetings and producing fantastic results.
The past week or sums up what a busy and prosperous time it is for local athletes.
Hastings AC members had some outstanding performances by athletes across track and field in a Southern League match in Brighton.
Steve Baldock, the club’s sprint coach, smashed the HAC club record in the over-50s 800m with 2min 03sec.
The club said: “It’s so encouraging to see so many HAC athletes motivated to compete and placing so well, showing what good training and dedication achieve.”
For Hastings Runners, a busy weekend kicked off with an excellent turnout for their second championship race of the year. Some 21 members took part in a 10k at Robertsbridge in a field of 101 runners.
In the 5k race, Will Withecombe came third out of 60 runners in 19.02, just 12 seconds behind the winner.
The course was a real stamina test and Darren Barzee defied his injuries to finish sixth, just ahead of Simon Linklater in ninth and Vincent Reed tenth.
Claire Thomas was the first female finisher in 15th place. There were age category wins for Ben Sallows (MV45), Neil Jeffries (MV60), Irene Kitson (FV65) and Sarah Marzaioli (FV70).
Elsewhere, it was another great weekend of racing for the relatively recently formed HY Runners.
Head coach Terry Skelton said the displays members were producing in a range of events were ‘fantastic’. He said. “This is what I love about our club. We had such a wide range of runners competing last weekend in different events on different days and each one of them did the club proud yet again.
“We had 19 athletes competing over three days at four separate events and there is more to come next week too. The club is getting stronger all the time and it is great that we get to see the kids competing well too.”
Skelton picked out Carl Adams and Sam Brown for praise, as well as Barry Buchanan, who tackled the Dirty Rotten Scramble wild running event in Kent.
Skelton said: “They are the yardstick, and we have lots of similar standard athletes and loads more that just enjoy competing and being involved. Well done everyone.”
It was also a busy weekend for Heart & Sole team as ten took on Dirty Rotten Scramble.
In addition Claire Moor made her post-lockdown comeback and smashed out a 5k in 30.52 at Robertsbridge.
The Observer’s message to local athletes is: Keep up the great work – and keep telling us about it!
Read the latest reports on pages 70 and 71 and see more today and tomorrow at hastingsobserver.co.uk