Billy Mead succeeds on The Meads
Billy Mead, of Leighton Buzzard AC, improved from third last year to win the 16th Eastbourne Half Marathon on Sunday (1 March), making light work of the 437 feet of ascent at The Meads towards Beachy Head Road.
Organisers Primo Events had kept a wary eye on the forecast after two successive weather affected events and finally mother nature obliged. The race website boldly announced: “So sign up now and we look forward to seeing you on no doubt a beautiful spring morning”.
However, race organisers had to cope with more than weather conditions. The devastating fire at the Claremont Hotel on 22 November 2019 had caused the Grand Parade promenade road to be closed near Eastbourne Pier, resulting in the race route being diverted onto the pedestrian promenade for a few hundred yards.
Eastbourne Half Marathon starts in Princes Park at Royal Parade and soon heads west for that challenging climb with rewarding coastal views. A rapid descent follows before returning east for a tour of Sovereign Harbour at 10 miles and a final promenade dash to the finish.
Journeyman athlete Billy Mead includes sprints, jumps and throws in club appearances but he is now making progress in endurance events. Despite a chilly wind and the hills his winning time (1:16:50) is his best to date with a victory margin of 58 seconds over Myles Preston (Mornington Chasers, 1:17:48). Ross Brocklehurst (Hailsham Harriers, 1:18:18) completed the men's podium.
The women's race saw Katie Sloane (1:25:50), Coralie Antille (1:32:58) and Kim Lo (1:37:07) on the rostrum. Swiss triathlete Antille was also runner-up last year.
There were 906 finishers in 3:37:49 and nearly 400 runners beat two hours. Live bands on the route and pacers were provided and the event has raised nearly £150,000 for charities over the years. The main beneficiary this year was Chestnut Tree House Children's Hospice Care.
Full results at runABC South race listing here
Eastbourne Half Marathon details and 2021 entry available here
Image courtesy Eastbourne Half Marathon