The 31st Hastings Half marathon took place this year. Rated as one of the best half marathons in the UK and a must for London Marathon runners, it is an important half on the racing calendar. It also has more personal reasons for me as I grew up in Hastings and my mum still lives there.
This was my second time entering the half. The first time I did this was in 2013 when I had only just started running; I was about 6 months into my new hobby. This time I was feeling a bit miserable about it. Having a recent injury, I hadn’t been able to follow my race plan. I dropped out of the Silverstone Half the week before so that I could make a go of this one.
As expected, it was a chilly day but the rain held off. There were around 3,000 runners taking part from across the country (and globe) with the Kenyan Sammy Nyokaye winning the race in an incredible time of 1 hour 5 minutes.
The course is tough, especially if you don’t do much hill training. The first 5 miles is pretty much uphill. The longest being the sweeping incline of Queensway. A lot of people tend to walk parts of this hill, but I was determine that I was going to make it the entire way.
Once you hit the 5 mile marker, the course is still a little up and down in places but it is a couple of miles of the Ridge. This is a nice stretch to recover from the hill but also a great stretch to be greeted by lots of faces, supporters and refreshments.
The crowds at Hastings are fantastic. Some of the best I have ever experienced. From family members to church goers and bands blaring out their vocals to keep you going.
The downhill soon makes an appearance, just after 8 miles. This part takes you through Ore and to the old town part of Hastings. It can be quite tough on the knees as it is quite a long stretch of downhill, but it is your final opportunity to let yourself go before the final 2 miles of the seafront.
It sounds nice, but the Seafront is the tough part. It takes you from the end, by the fishing huts, right through to the Old bathing pool at the start of the race. It was great to have a band playing by Marina Courts (the building that looks like a cruise liner) and it isn’t long before you are back on the road and can see the finish.
It was great heading over the finish line. I managed a PB of 2 hours 8 minutes. Given my injury, I’m pretty pleased with that time. Just a shame about the chaffing. Ouch!
My mum and her friend Mandy were also taking part this year. My mum was helping to raise awareness for St Michael’s Hospice, who cared for my dad last year. They didn’t plan on running it (excuses of bad knees and oldness) but instead they power walked the entire thing and came in at an impressive time of 3 hours 30 minutes.
Not only did I hit a PB ,with my leg surviving the ordeal, but I also got to see my mum cross the finish line with a smile on her face. We had a great day, in memory of my dad, and raised some well-needed funds for the hospice.
Next stop? London Marathon.