The Haywards Heath Harriers were celebrating on Sunday after stunning performances at the Brighton Marathon.
The Harriers joined 11,000 club runners, fun runners and elite athletes chasing times and fundraising targets. It was a record for the event which is now in its seventh year and brilliant sunshine made for perfect running conditions and a great atmosphere amongst the large crowds.
Harrier Paul Tomlinson stood out amongst the best athletes on the day, clocking a stunning 2:44.18 to finish 13th, and breaking a long-standing club record in the process. The performance was particularly notable given that he’s missed a good chunk of training in the past year due to injury and that this was his first marathon. It all bodes well for Tomlinson and the club.
Tomlinson commented: “I’m really pleased with my first attempt at the distance given recent injuries and hampered training. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions and after a controlled first half I was able to push on well but was certainly hanging on for the last couple of miles.”
Not to be outdone, Kim Lo was 16th amongst the ladies with another terrific display and her time of 3:12.39, also a club record.
Behind them, the winter miles and sacrifices came good as personal best times tumbled in what was a day to remember for the Harriers.
Marcus Kimmins (2:46.29), Josh Pewter (2:50.07), Glenn Driver (2:50.38) and Paul Cousins (2:50.48) put down commanding displays to smash the magic sub-three hour barrier. It was yet another age group club record for Cousins who has been in stellar form of late.
Barry Tullett clocked a brilliant new personal best time of 3:03.19 and has his sights clearly on the three hour mark for next year.
Having run his first marathon earlier this year, Michael Burke ran a great race to finish in 3:16.14, with Naomi Cikalo (3:30.44) not far behind and showing her form.
There were also brilliant new personal best times for Matt Quinton (3:37) Sarah Banks (3:51.14), Shelagh Robinson (4:05.47), Klara Boarder (4:11.31), Lisa Milne (4:29.24) and Abigail Redd (4:03.32) in what was her first marathon. Carl Bicknell (4:02.19) was pleased with his performance given his recent injury troubles and pulling a calf muscle with nine miles still to run.
There was also plenty to smile about as Harriers Phil Payne and Rob Coomber took it easy in fancy dress along with Burgess Hill Runners’ Rich Neale. Their outfits made for great amusement amongst the crowd and even sparked interest from television and radio reporters.
In the 10km race over part of the same course, Harrier Ben Gibson put in a fantastic performance for a new personal best time of 34:49 and 11th place in a strong field. Chris Glanfield was delighted with a new best time of 46:48 and he was closely followed by a great run from Hannah Chapman in 47:32.
Next up is the Virgin London Marathon where the Harriers have a number of runners out.
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