Continuing our theme of beautiful seaside distance races this week, we look ahead to the Eastbourne Half Marathon on Sunday (3 March). Eastbourne Half Marathon is in its fifteenth year and plans to be bigger and better than previous events, hoping for over 2,000 entrants.
Eastbourne Half Marathon is very much a community event aimed at runners of all abilities. Almost £150,000 has been donated to race charities and local good causes. The lead charity this year is Chestnut Tree House children's hospice and local schools, clubs and associations are invited to apply for small grants for beneficial projects.
The Eastbourne course hugs the coastline for most of the route but there is a 'scenic' (or hilly) excursion inland at The Meads, with 437 feet of ascent towards Beachy Head Road. After that it's all downhill and then flat, with a loop around Sovereign Harbour, before the final dash for the line beside the lake in Princes Park.
Enhancements for 2019 include more bands and entertainment along the route to add to the atmosphere and offer encouragement, plus pacers to help the runners achieve their goals. The record winter temperatures will have disappeared just in time for the start of spring and the forecast is for around 10C with a chance of rain.
Last year's locally based winners were Daniel Stidder (Brighton Phoenix, 1:15:10 PB) and Katie Hilsdon (Meads Runners, 1:26:28 PB) and there were 991 finishers in 4:17:56. Nearly 500 broke two hours, despite the testing nature of the first half of the course.
One review left on Facebook last year captures the unique atmosphere of the event: “Travelled five hours each way for this race and it was worth every minute. Really well organised (apart from the weather!!), fabulous support all the way round and a wonderful medal to reward us at the end. Loved the bag piper, singers, drummers and cheerleaders!! Already agreed to make this an annual event”.
Look out for our on the spot race report on runABC South next week by reporter Alan Newman, who will be cheering from the sidelines.
Results will appear on runABC South race listing here