In short: Brutal but brilliant In full: I'd heard there were a fair few hills on this course, but having run around the hillier areas of the south-east, came unprepared! Wow, this is a monster of a course, with uphill climbs for the majority of the first nine miles. At mile two I was on top of the world, running with the first fifty of the pack, but by mile four I was being passed by all and sundry and was thinking about quitting.
What made me carry on? Well, aside from sheer determination and the desire to rid myself of the poor taste that February's Brighton Half had left in my mouth (the Brighton course was a complete fiasco this year), the crowd support was utterly tremendous. Well done, people of Hastings!
The support was often directed at the Hastings Runners in particular, and I did find myself surrounded by club runners, so I felt a bit lonesome as an unaffiliated entrant at times, but with brass bands, orange segments, jelly babies, church choirs blasting out of local buildings and people blasting music and support out of their back gardens, I just don't think the locals would let you quit.
They fib to you all the way up the nine miles of long, grueling ascents, claiming 'the worst is nearly over,' long before it actually is and then when you reach the nine mile area, the local pub at the top of the last hill are playing motivational music and shouting out support over the PA.
There's then a quad-busting downhill section for about two miles before a long, hard and hot flat along the seafront to the finish. Despite being all flat it was still utterly energy sapping after the long hills and hot weather: the finish felt like it took forever to come and I nearly stopped and walked even at mile 12!
I'm glad I didn't though as I felt a true sense of achievement as I crossed the finish line that I haven't got from other half marathons. I came in at around position 350 with a time of 01:37, which while no quite a PB, I was significantly more proud of than better times in other, similar events.
Tough race. Great race... But maybe never again...? Date of review: March 26, 2012
In short: Best Half Ever In full: The support from the crowd is what makes this race so good,this was my first year and friends had warned me about the hills, it is tough but great fun, I will be back next year for sure and to top it all I got a vets PB by four minutes! :-) Date of review: March 26, 2012
In short: A nice course but small touches let it down In full: A nice and challenging course with some nice views at times. Hills are tough particularly as the organisers say the significant climbs are before 5 miles, they keep going until 9. People of Hastings were very vocal and good fun, although they do lie.
The big issue for me is just how busy it is. Not on the course but the start/finish area was packed, making it very difficult to get some water at the finish, perhaps they need to extend the runner only finish enclosure further and put the water in there.
Parking was a pain, got there an hour before to find the car parks full and had a good 15 min walk from where I parked on the streets.
It does makes me question if this site can handle the number of people this brings in. Date of review: March 26, 2012
In short: Absolutely fantastic from start to finish. Loved the Brass Band half way up the hill and the good people of Hastings amazing support that made this such an enjoyable event! Date of review: March 26, 2012
In short: Cracking race In full: Thoroughly enjoyed yesterday. Very well organised and a brilliant atmosphere. The locals that turned out really spurred you on with very vocal support. They were pretty much present along most of the route. The course was very challening, not an easy one for PBs. I almost got mine, had I have got it on a course like that I'd have been elated! That will keep me coming back :-) One minor criticism was the lack of bottled water at the stations being such a warm day. Maybe if they could get sponsorship from a company willing to provide bottles would be great. Other than that couldn't fault it. Cracking race and would recommend to anybody. Date of review: March 26, 2012
In short: 2011,2012 and plan on returning in 2013 In full: Ran this for the first time in 2011, found the hills tougher than I expected. Returned in 2012 better prepared and knocked 11mins off my previous time. The crowds are supportive but agree that some of the "nearly at the top" comments could disappoint/hamper runners who've not seen the course before. All in all a well organised event, my wife and two young son's also enjoyed their day at the coast so we'll all be back next year! If you're thinking about running a half marathon, definitely consider Hastings. Just be ready for the uphills and you'll enjoy your day. Date of review: March 26, 2012
In short: Excellent Event but oh so tough In full: This was a fabulous event but the course is very tough. I had done it before so I knew what to expect but I felt so sorry for newbies who would have been heartened by the "it's all downhill from here" shouts only to find they were untrue (why do people do that? It doesn't help).
The only improvement would be a proper baggage drop.
Missed my pb by 10 seconds (!) but in the final two miles I was so completely cooked by the sun and the preceding climbs that it was a miracle I even finished! Date of review: March 26, 2012
In short: Great course, wonderful crowd support as usual and good organisation. In full: My first half marathon in nearly 3 years following radical surgery to Achilles and Peroneal tendons. I had meant to mark my return to half-running with my local Tun Wells half but was too ill to do it. In retrospect this was a much better race to re-start with. I've done it before and was awed then by the level of crowd support, which, as someone else said, rivals that of the big national events. Support was even better this time as the weather had brought more people onto the street.
It's a challenging course with a fair bit of uphill, mostly in the first 5 or 6 miles, but the town seems to breed liars after the 5 mile point who tell you at the top of each rise that this is "the last hill"! Don't trust them :-)
The bands, the orange segments, the jelly babies, the high-fiving, etc, all make the run go quickly...but then you're hit with that last 2.5 - 3 mile drag up the Esplanade as a real sting in the tail. It's virtually flat, but in the sun (as yesterday was) it's really energy-sapping and just goes on forever. And the best of the crowd support's now behind you. At least there wasn't the huge headwind that we had last time I did it.
Still, a fantastic race, without doubt the best half I've ever run, though not for me a good PB prospect. No goody bag but I'm not worried about things like that...I'll trade that for good organisation, a nice course and brilliant crowd support any day! Date of review: March 26, 2012