Sammy Nyokaye romped to a dominant victory in the 2015 Hastings Half Marathon this morning (Sunday).
Nyokaye, from the Team Run-Fast stable which has produced many Hastings champions in recent times, became the 16th Kenyan winner in the last 18 years and fifth in succession with a time of 1:05.27.
That left him more than four minutes clear of runner-up Tom Payn, a late entrant and athlete manager for Team Run-Fast who crossed the line in 1:09.32.
Payn and Nyokaye set the early pace, but the Kenyan had moved ahead by the one-mile mark and steadily stretched his advantage during a lonely final 12 miles.
Nyokaye had been expected to battle for honours with Yared Hagos. The Ethiopian-born Hagos entered the race, but didn’t take part, rather like talented Sussex-based runners Neil Boniface and Kevin Rojas.
Jeff Pyrah, of Rye Runners and Hastings Athletic Club, produced another brilliant performance to come third in 1:11.20. The 42-year-old went one better than his fourth place finish last year, and clinched the Sussex and local titles to boot.
James Bennett (Striders of Croydon AC) came fourth and 2006 winner Michael Coleman (South Kent Harriers) - who entered on the morning - was fifth. Hastings AC pair Daniel Anderson and James Mountford made the top 10 in seventh and eighth respectively.
Mercyline Ondieki, another Team Run-Fast talent, became the fifth consecutive Kenyan winner of the women’s race in 1:21.36. Maria Heslop (Paddock Wood AC) was second in 1:22.47 and Alice Heather-Hayes (Tunbridge Wells Harriers) came third in 1:23.25.
Almost 3,000 runners completed the 31st running of the annual Hastings Lions Club-organised event and the local community once again came out in force around the challenging 13.1-mile course to cheer them on.
Conditions were pretty good for running with grey skies and a moderate yet chilly north-easterly breeze which was into the competitors during the long uphill Queensway stretch but behind them in the closing stages along the seafront.
2015 Hastings Half Marathon provisional results: 1 Sammy Nyokaye (Team Run-Fast) 1:05.27, 2 Tom Payn 1:09.32, 3 Jeff Pyrah (Rye Runners) 1:11.20, 4 James Bennett (Striders of Croydon AC) 1:11.56, 5 Michael Coleman (South Kent Harriers) 1:12.31, 6 Matt Bradford (Lewes AC) 1:12.36, 7 Daniel Anderson (Hastings AC) 1:13.39, 8 James Mountford (Hastings AC) 1:14.58, 9 David Bradford 1:15.33, 10 Paul Tomlinson (Haywards Heath Harriers) 1:15.37.