The Poppy Run Half Marathon and supporting events drew 1,100 runners to the 11th annual races on Bexhill-on-Sea promenade on Saturday 10 November. After three years disappointing weather the only complaint was a stiff breeze as runners gathered to pay their respects on the eve of Remembrance Sunday.
Raising Money for Good Causes is the Poppy Run charity that helps to fund several Services and general charities in the local area and beyond. All the numbers were fully sold out beforehand and race HQ was again the iconic 1935-built De La Warr Pavilion on the seafront.
The half marathon course comprised two 8k loops plus the 5k lap to finish. There were also 10K or 5K options on the shorter lap and the Poppy Youth Mile, won by Benjamin Beckley (5:57.40) and Claudia Evett (7:10.15), on the promenade.
There were 187 finishers in the Poppy 5K, which opened proceedings on the seafront. First back to the De La Warr building were Richard Harper (Run Wednesdays, 17:58) and Lucy Hall (Bracknell, 21:28). Twice the distance was completed by Bracknell's Oliver Hall in 36:22 to take the Poppy 10K title. Aislinn Darvell (Eastbourne Rovers, 42:25) led the women home as 359 finished in 1:36:06.
The half marathon saw runners battling the wind throughout as Thomas Stevens (Cambridge and Coleridge, 1:12:46) built a big lead over Matt Edmonds (Hastings Runners, 1:16:30) and M50 master Andrew Green (Dartford Road Runners, 1:20:17). The top three women were Rachel Hillman (Hailsham Harriers, 1:26:59) and W45 masters Emma Hollands (Paddock Wood, 1:33:24) and Susan Aldridge (Crawley, 1:34:07). There were 489 finishers in 3:39:00.
One of the best reactions to this superbly organised event came from Lorna Triggs who said: “Thank you to everyone who made yesterday happen, from registration right through to the finish. All the marshals were great & some handing out sweets & drinks. But one stood out for me, which was the man at the first turn back. Three times we passed him & three times his support & encouragement was fantastic. 'THANK YOU' whoever you are. The refreshments in the finishers tent was really appreciated and being able to get a print out of your time & place was great. So thank you all once again, 'GOOD JOB'. I just wish someone turned off the wind machine”!