THERE was a bumper turnout for the Hastings Half Marathon presentation evening last week where individual achievements and fabulous fundraising took centre stage.
Azur on The Marina, St Leonards, was packed for Sunday evening’s event (May 1) where Martin Brockman, a rising decathlon star and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, was on hand to give out a host of awards.
And with prizes for the elite runners and age category winners right through to the best fundraisers and the most eye-catching fancy dress, it was a fun reflection of all aspects of the hugely popular race, organised by the Hastings Lions.
“It was a super evening with as good a crowd as we have ever had and a lovely family celebration of the event, race director Eric Hardwick MBE told the Observer.
“It was absolutely terrific to have Martin Brockman, he was great with the kids and he certainly looked the part towering over us all at six feet six inches. He’s a smashing person and we were so lucky to have someone so enthusiastic come down and support us.”
Samantha Alvares was arguably the star of the show taking home four awards in total – the second placed local runner, the winner of her age category and two team awards with the Hailsham Harriers, while Daniel Anderson took the prize first local man to finish. Two of the fancy dress winners even came in costume to collect their prizes – Paul Teague as Fred Flinstone and Ricky Wallace as a dolphin.
The Dyer Charity Shield for the best fundraising effort went to the 52-strong Hollington Sport for Good Causes team, a new charity backed by England football star and local lad Gareth Barry.
They collected more than £8,800, and Mr Hardwick said: “It’s a fantastic amount of money for their first time in the event – there was a good mixture of runners and there was a wonderful atmosphere between them. That charity will do a lot of good for the area.”
So far the total collected has matched last year’s £125,000 but with money still rolling in organisers hope it can top the £170,000 mark.
“The race helps more than 100 local charities and good causes – there is the big famous ones that everyone’s heard of but there’s a lot of smaller groups who benefit too,” Mr Hardwick added.
The Lions club thanked all the sponsors , helpers and runners for making the event such a success and entry for next year’s race is now open – visit http://www.hastings-half.co.uk to sign up.