There was a good finish for Rye to the Hastings Half (marathon, that is). Jeff Pyrah, coach for Rye Runners, came in fourth, the fastest man from Sussex, in 1hr10.35 min. We are all proud to have him as a coach. The winner was from farther afield – Kenyan Boniface Kongin, with a time of 1hr04.18 min.
I came 2,391st. But I did it in 2hr14min. Not bad for my first half marathon. My goal was 2hr 30.
I almost didn’t expect to finish as I had an inflamed IT Band, a very common injury in runners training for a long race when the iliotibial ligament that runs down the outside of the leg gets overused. When it’s inflamed it feels like a trapped nerve in the knee, and is irritating and painful. However, the loud and supportive crowd, handing out water, jelly babies and high fives melted the niggles away. Boy and Girl Scouts, orange peel, empty cups and discarded sweets and Gel Wrappers littered the route.
Music from Diamond Disco blared out as we finished the dreaded Queensway, a Beatles Tribute band jollied us along near the ridge and Hastings drummers Sambalanco paced us, in authentic Hastings Festival style, as we passed Winkle Island.
Sam Murphy, also one of our coaches and Jeff’s wife, was there to cheer us all on half a mile before the finish line, shouting “Do the rest at level 4” – a technical term meaning go almost as fast as you possibly can (but not quite, as that would be level five). Sam was not running as she’s doing the Paddock Wood Half next Sunday.
I’ve watched the Hastings Half from the sidelines since I was 11, always hoping I’d do it one day.
Six months ago I couldn’t run a mile. Rye Runners inspired me, and my boyfriend Ted Wilson – a fellow marathon virgin, as Sam called us – to finish our first ever race. We both ran for charity: I ran for Refuge and have raised £231 so far; Ted ran for Reunite and has raised £162. Our donation pages are still open if you think we deserve a pat on the back.
Marathons are infectious. We can’t wait to run another. We have caught the marathon bug!
* The last person to cross the line in position 3,459 did so in a time of 04:05:23