THE thousands of runners who take on the Hastings Half Marathon this year will receive a medal featuring one of the town’s most talked about new additions.
The race’s famous brass – given to all those who finish – will be decorated with the Banksy mural which appeared on Hastings seafront last July. The world-famous mystery graffiti artist painted a scene of a little girl playing with sandcastles marked “Tesco” on a portion of the promenade wall opposite St Leonards Parish Church.
And after massive media attention, half marathon race director Eric Hardwick MBE decided it would make the perfect image for the race brasses.
He told the Observer: “We always choose an image that is unique to Hastings, we want them to be meaningful and each brass should tell a story. We were going to have a picture of John Logie Baird, the inventor of television, but changed our minds at the last minute.
“This is something completely different, a really modernistic take on things and the Banksy is on the Half Marathon route at the 12.5 mile mark. Anyone who doesn’t want to stop on the home straight can go back and look at it later!”
Mr Hardwick also considered an image of the pier for this year’s brass after October’s fire, and previous medals have featured The West Hill Lift, the net huts and scenes from the Bayeux Tapestry. He said: “The Banksy is a one-off, a visitor attraction and now is exactly the right time to do it because it is so new.
“People do collect the brasses and you sometimes see them for sale on Ebay so they need to look special. I have seen this year’s brass and it looks excellent.”
So far some 1,500 people have signed up for this year’s 13.1 mile challenge which takes place on Sunday March 20. Mr Hardwick expects thousands more to enter before the big day and had a message for anyone not yet convinced about the idea.
“It is a good motivation to have a target and a great way to get fit for the New Year,” he said. “There is plenty of time to train for it and there are some excellent training plans on the website so there is no excuse.”
Visit www.hastings-half.co.uk for more information and to enter.