All posts by HastingsRunners

Goodness Gracious Great South Balls of Fire

With health and safety out of the window, eleven Hastings Runners donned their flammable Green & Black Vest on a mild October evening to complete the annual ritual of commencing the Bonfire Parade.

The brave souls that put their lives on the line to promote the club were Simon Weatherly, Louise Weatherly Cavill, Jon Smalldon, Neil Jeffries, Matt Edmonds, Nick Webb, Jacqueline Scott, Alison Tanner, Keith Goodsell, Julia James and Charles Bowley.

Their torches were lit from the beacon, high up on the East Hill. The runners  carefully light-footed their way down the steps and lit up the Old Town, cheered en route by spectators keen to get a front row seat for the upcoming procession.

The run was timed to perfection, reaching their destination at exactly 7:15 to hand over the torches, rest their weary arms and join the crowds to enjoy the main show. Fun was had by all, a great experience and one I can recommend myself if you ever get the chance to take part.

There were several races taking part at the weekend too. Sarah Marzaioli  was in Marathon mode (when is she not?) and travelled up North to tackle 26.2 miles in Yorkshire. Her time of 4:37:24 saw her finish first place in her age category and win a Gold Medal from the British Masters Athletics Federation.

Sarah pictured with Roger from Havant Runners.

10 Hastings Runners headed along the coast to compete in the Great South Run. Darren Barzee produced a superb performance to finish the 10 miles around the streets of Portsmouth in 1:05:15 (finish times not chip times). That was good enough for 264th place out of a field of over 8,000 runners.

It’s fantastic to see Graeme Grass back running and in fine form, crossing the line in 1:14:38 (finish time). There were PBs for Michael Norris (1:15:13) and Susan Rae (1:15:20) who had the pleasure of running the majority of the course together. Susan finished 2nd in her age category, but suspicions have been raised after some private detective work, that the winner may not actually exist.

Kirsta Barzee, Darren Barzee, Susan Rae, Michael Norris

Also in action on Sunday morning in the Great South Run were Dave King (1:16:37), Paul Wadham (1:32:59), Krista Barzee (1:38:17), Sharon Wadham (1:38:18), Sarah Holmes (1:41:56), Michelle Krombholz (1:43:21) and Hayley Ranson (1:49:09).

Paul Wadham, Sharon Wadham, Graeme Grass

Neil Jeffries and Chris Weeks chose to race the Rhinos, Baboons, Lions, Tapirs, Bisons, Gorillas and all creatures great and small in the Port Lympne Run Wild 10k. The course was very hilly with some twists and turns, adding over 5 minutes on normal 10k race times. Neil swung round the course in 51:37 to claim 1st place in the Mv60 category. Chris finished in 1:04:56 and he continues to work his way back from injury.

Monday saw the first ever Track Races. To ensure a fair chance for all, a handicap system was adopted and there were 3 different events. Simon Weatherly claimed the men’s race over 3,000km, maintaining his lead throughout. New member Andy Lancaster took the 2nd Race over 2,000 meters. Finally, after waiting patiently in the pouring rain, the ladies took their turn to compete in an exhilarating 3km race which was won by Gilda D Silva, pulling away from Marie Appleton with just 200 meters to go.

Gilda D Silva, Simon Weatherly, Andy Lancaster

This weekend is the Woodchurch 5 mile and 10 mile on Sunday. A Club Championship race which I know nothing about apart from it’s somewhere near Ashford and has a hill or two.


Blowers Blasts His Way to Tonbridge PB

Hastings Runners were out in force again at the weekend. Up and down the country the Green & Black vests were worn with pride and boy did you guys deliver. Starting up the A21 in Tonbridge with the return of the Half Marathon, part of our Club Championship, with crucial points up for grabs.

Kevin Blowers snatched the whole 200 on offer with a simply sensational performance. Tonbridge is not a flat course. 195 meters of elevation to be precise. But still, Kevin absolutely smashed his PB to cross the line in a fantastic time of 1:36:21, 7 minutes quicker than his previous best over 13.1 Miles. Kev my friend, you are a legend!

Kevin Blowers in a totally different race, but I like the photo so much I used this instead.

The eternally joyous Manami Cheves was also in PB mood. She ran 1:44:10, and much to her amazement, landed 1st place in the FV55 category. Simon Weatherley continued his excellent recent form with a personal best of his own crossing the line in 1:48:51.

Manami Cheves, smiling of course

Also in attendance were John Simcox (2nd HR home 1:41:39), new member Robert Gagyi (1:54:39), the man who never misses a race, Charles Bowley (1:57:21), the slightly disgruntled Marie Crawford (2:05:28), the machine Sarah Marzaioli (ran London Marathon last weekend 2:11:38), Joe Cruttenden who is back from an injury layoff, Louise Cavill (2:36:57), who kindly provided me with the race details for this report and Henry Worthington.

30 minutes up the road, Matt Edmonds, Will Withecombe and myself (Simon Linklater) were snapping selfies with Gorillas and Ladybirds. We also found time to participate in the superbly organised and well attended (over 750 runners) Petts Wood 10K. A mixture of road and trails provided a challenging route, with excellent support throughout. 

No words needed, Will, Simon, Matt (left to right).

Matt produced a scintillating performance to cross the line in 3rd place in a time of 35 minutes dead. He was shortly followed by the winning machine Will Withecombe, whose 6th place finish meant a rare weekend without stocking his trophy cabinet, perhaps it’s full already? The faint hope of a team prize was dashed on the start line when Blackheath & Bromley Harriers turned up with their A-Team, 5 runners in the top 11, thus at least making me feel better for my 79th place finish in 45:28.

With Marathon season in full swing, it was the turn of Manchester to stage the big event of the weekend. 6 Hastings Runners made the trip North and with plenty of success. Jakuk Kucharski completed the 26.2 miles in 3:46:10. The ever improving Ben Brett was rewarded for his dedication in training with a new Marathon PB of 4:15:22. Lucy Brett notched up Marathon number two and a new PB in 6:11:12. Jess Tanner raised over £1200 for the charity BEAT and ran alongside her mum Alison. They finished in 7:08:58 and 7:09 respectively. To add a donation please click on the link below. James Graham took on the challenge bare footed and came home in 5:15:12. Catherine Southgate completed her first ever half marathon in 2:44:38.

Jess and Alison Tanner

Jess Tanner – Fundraising for the charity BEAT

Back down on the South Coast, we had 4 runners in action at Brighton Half Marathon. It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned a PB, so here’s a particularly impressive one for you. Nicola Steed smashed her previous best over 13.1 miles to come home in a superb 1:43:19 (I told you it was good). Matt Beaver (1:51:03), Keith Goodsell (1:57:53) and Sarah Holmes (2:13:47) were also in action in sunny Brighton.

The Royal Parks Half Marathon populated the open spaces of London. Sadly the results table doesn’t filter by club, but I do know Marie Appleton took part, albeit running with someone else’s legs, so I’m told. Clearly I need to up my game when it comes to excuses, but Marie ran a very respectable 2:17:20. Chris Weeks was also in the capital, with his own legs along for the ride and finished the race in 2:14:42.

Sunday also saw the latest staging of the Race 4 Life in our very own Alexandra Park, Hastings. Chris White took part in the 10K and was very happy with his time of 1:10 minutes.  Jacqueline Scott took on the 5K route and came home in 28:40. 

If you ran this weekend and I’ve missed you out, let me know and if I like you, I’ll add you to the report, some of the race results are a bit disjointed in places, making it difficult to compile them.

Hastings Runners Raise Over £10,000 for Charity

How can you not be inspired? Nearly two dozen Hastings Runners took part in the London Marathon this weekend. 7 made the trip to the Capital to join in the masses, soak up the atmosphere and run past some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Over £14,000 was raised for some incredible charities, including £5,000 for St.Michael’s Hospice. Well done to Jessica Cull and Eleanor Wood for their fundraising activities for such a great cause.

Alison Anderson may have been slightly underwhelmed by her performance, but that pales into insignificance with the £3700 she raised for the Place2Be charity, helping Children with Mental Health issues in Schools.

Sarah Marzaioli completed “another” (her words, not mine) London Marathon and was part of the Abbott World Marathon Masters group. They were sent off early, treated much like the Elite Runners and rightly so. Sarah clocked the 4th quickest time among Hastings Runners at the weekend.

I can only assume Luke Evans is related to the BBC Producer, or he paid him off. Luke was spotted several times on the gogglebox, often with his arm raised high in the air, almost as if he knew the precise moment the cameras were going to be on him. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.

Hayley Ranson is raising money for the British Heart Foundation and taking part in a trilogy of races. She has now completed the Great North Run, the London Marathon and will be running the Great South Run in a few weeks time. So far she has raised nearly £650 towards her £1000 target.

Sarah Bendle knocked 14 minutes off her previous best Marathon time to complete the course in the capital in 4:14. In the process she raised over £2000 for the charity Shelter.

Sarah Holmes continued her excellent year of endurance running, adding the official London Marathon to her Race to the Stones 100k earlier this summer.

Tim Jury completed his 60th Marathon, raising over £3000 for Farm Africa, a charity close to his heart and one he has supported for many years through his running adventures. Alongside good friends Mickey Johnson and Cassandra Colvin, they tackled two off road loops, starting from Tim’s farm in Pett and embracing the wonderful countryside around Fairlight, Icklesham, Winchelsea and Rye.

Tim announced his retirement from running after the weekend and the club would like to thank him for all the hard work and time he has dedicated to Hastings Runners in recent years. We hope to still see you around Tim.

Patience Cooper also choose an entirely off road route and was 181st overall in her age category from both the main & virtual event.

Closer to home Sally Grainger, Stuart Woolford, Sue Wilkinson and Rob Thomas ran from Hellingly to Hastings to complete the Virtual Race. Nina Lambrou, Jacqueline Mannering, Annette Fry and Nigel Thornley did a loop around Hastings, Crowhurst and Bexhill to cover the 26.2 miles.

Emily Allchurch completed the 26.2 miles in just over 4 hours and has raised close to £2000 for the charity Grief Encounter. They help children and young people support following the death of a loved one. See the link to the fundraising pages at the bottom of this article.

Deanne Smith, Victoria Sims, Emma Stubbs and Eleanor Swaine all took in the local delights to complete the challenge, with big smiles on their faces and no doubt inspiring those en route to take up this fabulous hobby of ours.

This isn’t an event to get caught up in times, instead click one of the links below and add to the amazing tally that our members have already contributed, to such worthwhile causes.

Links to the Fundraising Pages

Tim Jury – Farm Africa 

Jessica Cull – St.Michaels Hospice

Eleanor Wood – St.Michaels Hospice

Alison Anderson – Place2Be 

Hayley Ranson – British Heart Foundation

Emily Allchurch – Grief Encounter

Will Soars to Seafront Success

Congratulations to all who ran the Hastings Seafront 10k on Sunday 3 October – a grey and cool day, but dry and with a southerly breeze rather than a typical headwind on the west-bound outward 5k from the Hastings & Saint Leonards Angling Association to the turn just beyond the blue footbridge over the railway line at Bulverhythe.

Many thanks to weather gods, then – and more importantly to the Hastings Runners who helped staff the event and/or turned up to cheer on the runners. Race organisers Running And Riding did the timings manually, so we had to wait for them to formally publish the results, but they made excellent reading when they did appear online.

We already knew, of course, that Will Withecombe had won. No mean feat on any day, but even more impressive for those among us who, having noted him disappearing into the distance at the start, didn’t catch another glimpse of him until after he had turned and was heading for home. When I saw him, he was at the front of a pack of mostly red, or blue-and-red tops, all eager to catch and pass him. They never did.

Afterwards, the second-placed South London Harrier admitted that no matter what he thought he might have had “in his tank”, he could tell the man in green and black had more. Superb running, then, from a hirsute man who may look like he’d be more at home at a Black Sabbath Convention, but in reality runs as if he were escaping one.

For the three HR stalwarts a little further behind Will, the glories were just as notable. Congratulations to the next three over the line – Darren Barzee, Kevin Blowers and our fastest woman on the day, Claire Thomas. In this race, commendably, the team prize is awarded to the fastest three men and one woman. That went to Hastings AC, but our first four were just pipped by good placings for AC’s second and third men.

Yet what makes Hastings Runners a truly great club is its wide range of abilities and aspirations. It’s never just about positions and times. It’s about the support every one of us gives to others. While her partner James Graham was lining up the post-race Jaffa Cakes and drinks, Catherine Southgate was heading towards him empowered by the cheery waves and supportive shouts of fellow Hastings Runners who had passed her after their turn.

Well done, too, to Henry Worthington who – having just passed the Parkrun start on his way west – I saw take a few seconds to stop and watch the fitness class in action by The Bathing Hut Cafe. At the finish line his thoughts turned instantly to his next race as he asked about the Tonbridge Half in seven days time. Dedication everywhere you look…

Hastings Seafront 10k Results_HR only

Rye to Hastings? No worries!

Hastings Runners is wonderful isn’t it? The time and effort offered for free, by Chief Marshall Alan Croucher and his team of volunteers making these club races possible. Thank you to all those that slipped on your luminous jackets, patrolled their area and gave us the support we needed to tackle the 11+ miles from Rye, back to our home town.  The Country Park dog walkers were left wondering who the loony women was at the top of the hill, hollering encouragement, but boy did we appreciate it.

The morning began as we boarded the coach, the Green and Black coach of course (good choice Rob). As we mumbled through our face masks, nodding to our friends, pretending to hear what they said, our starting point got ever closer and the nerves began to set in.

Colin White

We reached our destination with plenty of time to spare. Some of the more serious runners set off for their warm ups, whilst the group discussed the challenge ahead. Terry Kitson was on hand to set the runners off precisely on time as we headed out towards the Nature Reserve with a slight cooling breeze in our faces.

The first 5k provided a flat terrain as we found our rhythm and watched in awe as the quicker runners effortlessly disappeared into the distance. Then came the Sea Wall. A narrow uneven path that runs alongside Pett Level, the English Channel on the left and beautiful countryside to the right.

Darren Barzee

We should have been enjoying the view, but deep down we knew what was coming, what we had been dreading the most, the climb up to Fairlight and through the Country Park. It’s safe to say it got the better of many of us, but we dug deep and with the support of the Marshalls encouraging us all the way, we continued to push on, edging closer to the summit.

Our hard work was rewarded as we picked up our pace and soared down Barley Lane with the finish line now our only focus. The quickest down the hill was Colin White, who carefully plotted his way along the route, avoiding any wrong turns and completing the course in 1:22:52, thus winning the Rye to Hastings race for the first time.

Sally Grainger

Darren Barzee was 2nd home and claimed the Male Vet prize in an excellent time of 1:24:30, three minutes ahead of 3rd place Martin Noakes 1:27:53. 2 more runners broke the 90 minute mark and landed top 5 finishes, myself (Simon Linklater) and Martin Snape who battled on bravely after twisting his ankle earlier in the race.

There were impressive runs from new members Shane Treger (7th: 1:33:07), David King (11th: 1:39:36) and Malcom Smith (1:40:42). Welcome to the HR family.

Sally Grainger was the first female home in a fantastic time of 1:41:18, followed in 2nd and 3rd place by Claire Maplesden (1:51:36) and Hannah Hayler (1:51:37). Sue Wilkinson took home the Female Vet’s prize with a strong performance, coming home in 2:01:39.

Emma Stubbs (left) Sue Wilkinson (right)

We can all be proud of our efforts, taking on such a tough course and coming out on top. Thank you once again to those that helped the event run smoothly. Without you these club races wouldn’t be possible. Until next time.

Results: –


The Hills Are Alive…..With The Sound Of Running Shoes

If they’d told us in advance that there were free jelly babies at the end, I might have run faster. The first male and female Hastings Runners home at the inaugural Great Northiam Run 10k, though, needed no such motivation… Many congratulations to HR stars Kieran Price (third overall in a time of 41 minutes 36 seconds) and Susan Rae (second female, first in age category and 15th overall in 49 minutes and 25 seconds).

The event was a logistically simpler replacement for the Northiam to Bodiam Castle point-to-point. Think of it as a Northiam hill-to-hill via Ewhurst Green (171m ascent). The Race Director was Eric Hardwick MBE – Mr Hastings Half Marathon, so no stranger to making people run up hills – who was overheard admitting to Kieran in advance of the start that the course was “er, a bit harder” than its predecessor.

Nick Brown – who took pictures at the 2k/8k point – put it more matter-of-factly: “A tough course with some severe climbs.” But hey, we’re from Hastings so we know all about that, right?

Kieran and Susan were followed to the finish line by the alphabetically arranged Determined Dozen of Krista Barzee, Patrick Bermingham, Louise Cavill, Richard Cross, Bill Edmondson, new recruit Robert Gagyi, James Graham, Ian Lee, Catherine Southgate, Simon Weatherly, David Witcombe, Jan Young… and yours truly.

With 14 tops to be seen, Hastings Runners was easily the best represented club in the field of 87 – a fact which helped us pick up both the male and female team awards.

10K is never enough for our 100 Marathon Club representative Sarah Marzaioli who completed the Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon in 2:10:47.  Sarah described it as a “great race” which started and finished in the Palace grounds.

The Great Northiam Run was the 11th of 19 races in the 2021 Hasting Runners Club Championship race calendar. The 12th is next Sunday: the 11-and-a-bit-mile Rye to Hastings.

Neil Jeffries

Northiam 10K Race Results

Something for everyone in Rye this Weekend

As the summer draws to a close and the nights draw in, the Green & Black army were out in force at the weekend. From the 5K Rye Summer Series on Friday, to the Brighton Marathon on Sunday. The challenges may have been hugely different, but the one constant was the Hastings Runners vest, worn with pride and style.

Rye Harbour was the destination on Friday evening for the final event of the Summer Series. A 5k dash out towards the Nature Reserve and back to the finish in front of the Sailing Club. Battling an on-going calf injury, Will Withecombe put up a brave fight to finish in 4th place in a time of 18:27.

Hastings Runners at Rye 5K Summer Series.

Kieran Price continued his fine summer with yet another PB, crossing the line in an excellent time of 19:08 and 7th place overall. Claire Thomas was the 1st female Hastings Runner to finish, clocking another impressive 5K time of 21:09. There were personal bests for the racing machine Nicola Steed (21:56), the PB queen herself, Susan Rae (22:06), karaoke king Michael Norris (21:06) and newly promoted top group track star, Simon Weatherly (23:27).

A different breed of runner headed to Rye just over 36 hours later to tackle the Rye Ancient Trails. I was fortunate enough to participate in this event myself and it was a superb route, linking the Norman churches of Rye, Iden, Beckley, Northiam and Peasmarsh. We ran through vineyards, woodland, footpaths, trails and quiet country lanes. Some of our very own club members were on hand to help out the flawless organisation by Nice Work and Running Forever, offering encouragement and refreshments to those of us taking part.

Simon Linklater at Rye Ancient Trails 30K.

In the 15K race Simon Newstead came home in 7th place in an impressive time of 1:12:29. Despite a less than ideal preparation the previous night, Kevin Blowers smashed it with a time of 1:20:33 to claim 1st place in his Age Category. In the 30K event I was delighted to cross the line in 2:50:23 and a finishing position of 32nd. Hot on my heels and 2nd in her age category was Sally Grainger, comfortably under the 3 hour mark, by a whole 2 seconds, nicely timed Sally.

50 miles along the coast a select group of Hastings Runners completed an additional 10k to finish the Brighton Marathon. It was great to see Jamie Kennedy back in his Green & Black vest, sneaking under the 4 hour mark. Matt Smith, Rob Thomas, James Graham, Lewis Wadham and Lily Share also took on the course, which due to a misplaced cone at a turnaround point, was 600 meters too long. Oops.

Lily Share at Brighton Marathon. Photo by Sharon Wadham.

In slightly cooler temperatures Marie Appleton and Danny Firth both completed the Great North Run. Results from those two events are hard to filter by club, so if I have missed anyone out, please let me know.

Race Results from the Rye 5K and 15/30K Rye Ancient Trails

Too Hot For Running – BBB10K Report

As the summer reaches a climax, the evenings are drawing in and the temperature is dropping. Another long winter of doom and gloom. But luckily this Sunday we were blessed with clear blue skies and beautiful sunshine. What a delight for all. Except us runners it seemed.

As I sat there on the concrete wall, head in hands, frustrated at my poor race tactics, I listened to the moans and groans of fellow participants of the Paddock Wood Half Marathon. Many, like me, appeared to struggle on the quiet Kent Country Lanes. It was like a game of Chinese Whispers. The more gripes I heard, the warmer the day had been.

I’m pretty sure one runner even claimed the temperature had hit 35 degrees and they’d nearly passed out at the 10 mile marker. Oh how we love to moan.

Regardless of the heat, the Black and Green crew were out in force this weekend. Over 40 Hastings Runners limbered up outside Battle Abbey in preparation for the tough challenge that ahead in the BBB10K.

There were some excellent results. We had no fewer than 6 runners inside the Top 20. Colin White continued his excellent form to finish in 6th place in a time of 37:46. This landed him 1st place in the Male Vet 40 category.

There was a real battle developing between 3 of our track regulars. Darren Barzee who has been struggling with a few niggles of late, rediscovered his form, to finish in 10th place, in a time of 40:07. Darren claimed 1st place in the Male Vet 50 category.

Hot on his heels were Kieran Price & Vinny Reed who had been switching places heading down North Trade Road and it took a sprint finish from Kieran down the high street to come in 5 seconds ahead. Their respective times were 40:15 and 40:20.

Claire Thomas ran a superb race to finish 3rd Lady in a time of 45:49. In form Susan Rae was the 2nd Hastings Runners female to cross the line in 46:43. A brilliant effort by everyone involved given the tough nature of the course and apparently it was quite hot.

20 Miles up the road a small contingent of Hastings Runners were taking part in the Paddock Wood Half Marathon, which had been rescheduled from Spring 2020. We had 8 runners toe the start line, all of whom survived the tropical conditions, rumoured to be even hotter than Battle. Although I can’t prove that claim.

1st home for the club was Simon Linklater (me) in a new PB of 1:37:49, some 20 minutes quicker than my previous best from February 2020 #justsaying.

We had 3 female competitors and randomly they were all called Sarah. The first home you ask? Sarah of course. You want the surname? Bendle, Sarah Bendle, crossing the finish line in a time of 2:01:46. I bumped into her afterwards. She moaned it was too hot. Well done Sarah(s).

Helen Munday and Eleanor Wood wanted more miles and more sunshine, so opted for the Bates Green Gallop in Arlington. A 3.5 mile loop course and 6 hours to run round as many times as you choose fit. With the tans topped up, they called it a day after 4 loops and 14 miles in the bag. Awesome work.

Congratulations to everyone who took part over the weekend. Fear not, it will soon be freezing cold, gail force winds and driving rain on race weekends. Lots to look forward to.


Make Mine a Pint – Kings Head 5K Canter

We all run for different reasons. Some enjoy the social side, some runners are looking to shift a few pounds, some find it helpful to clear a cluttered mind, some simply love running, others just need an excuse for a cheeky pint.

The race began in Chiddingly and took place in the local country lanes. A gentle hill greeted runners for almost 5k, before descending to the finish in East Hoathly. 

In form Will Withecombe left home with aspirations of running a 5KB PB. However he soon realised this was crazy talk when driving the route pre race. Still a fantastic time of 17:31 was good enough for a 7th place finish overall. I mean a personal best on this course? No chance.

Ye of little faith. The Black & Green Army are made of sterner stuff. Of course there were PBs. Susan Rae continue her fine form. Spurred on by a new rival, sporting an Arena 80 AC vest, Susan crossed the line in a fantastic time of 22:16.

Fresh off her Barry Richards 10K on Thursday, Marie Crawford ran another great race,  producing her quickest ever 5K time in 25:39. Well done to all those that took part. I hope your pint was worth it.

The Kings Head 5K Canter Results:

Will Withecombe 17:31, Martin Noakes 19:57, Kevin Blowers 20:52, Neil Jeffries 20:58, Susan Rae 22:16, James Graham 24:16, Marie Crawford 25:39, Ruth Spiller 26:18, David Bratby 29:21, Jacqueline Scott 29:23, Sarah Marzaioli 29:26, Irene Kitson 34:15, Catherine Southgate 36:49, Terry Kitson 42:03