Dame Kelly Holmes breaks Hastings course record

Dame Kelly Holmes (second-right) with Run Together's Jess Austen, Jacqueline Scott and Karen Williams at the Hastings parkrun on Saturday.
Dame Kelly Holmes (second-right) with Run Together's Jess Austen, Jacqueline Scott and Karen Williams at the Hastings parkrun on Saturday.

Dame Kelly Holmes paid a surprise visit to Hastings parkrun on Saturday.

The double Olympic champion at Athens 2004 took plenty of time to pose for selfies and encourage other runners at the weekly 5k seafront event.

Coming home third in a time of 17 minutes and 48 seconds, Holmes shattered the previous VW45-49 record and her age graded score of 91.95% eclipsed even Great Britain international Adam Clarke’s previous record (90.63%) set when running 14:14 in December 2017.

See also: * Hastings talent clocks country’s fastest time
* Hastings aces in dominant form at record-breaking Bexhill race

So it was a memorable anniversary for Holy Trinity Hastings’ church running group, who staged their second volunteer takeover, providing the vast majority of the 20-plus helpers who are needed each week; aided and abetted by regular run director Arrianne Callow.

Against this backdrop, 45 Hastings Runners and 32 Vegan Runners were taking part in a friendly “mob match” which was settled in VR’s favour once the weighting allowance was calculated.

Tom Carpenter, from Vegan Runners, who has come first in no fewer than 133 Maidstone parkruns, was a comfortable winner in 16:10.

Nearly 6,000 runners have taken part in Hastings parkrun since it started in April 2015. The event starts and finishes at Grosvenor Gardens, St Leonards, every Saturday starting at 9am. To register and download your free barcode, visit www.parkrun.org.uk

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