Hastings is primed for the big event

NEARLY 5,000 intrepid runners are set to run, jog, walk or wheeze their way round the Hastings Half- Marathon this weekend - and thousands more will turn out to offer their support.

Yesterday, race director Eric Hardwick MBE confirmed 4,600 people had registered for the race but hundreds more could sign up by the time the starting gun fires at 10.30am on Sunday.

Mr Hardwick said last-minute hitches had been ironed out - with the speed humps on Rock-a-Nore set to be removed and the Harley Shute Road roadworks to be cleared away for the day, and he is confident the event - now in its 27th year - will go off smoothly.

A total of 18 runners who have taken part every year since the race’s inception will be donning their numbers this weekend, while there is the usual array of weird and wonderful entrants, from Neil Sadler, who is running the route 13 times for The Oliver Curd Trust, to the Hastings firefighters who will be pushing a specially-customised bed all the way round the course.

Mr Hardwick said: “There will be obvious things people see like fancy dress or the big groups running for charities like St Michael’s Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Support and Help for Heroes, but there are other stories that are less obvious, and some that don’t even come out until the day.

“I just want everyone to enjoy themselves, soak up the atmosphere and be sensible - don’t end up as a hospital case.”

And with more entertainment than ever out on the course this year, from bands and church choirs to a lone piper who will be stationed half way up Queensway, Mr Hardwick wants the Hastings public to add to the occasion.

“The spectators are absolutely incredible,” he said. “I would just ask everyone to do what they do every year to make it so unique.”