Evergreen Jeff Pyrah believes he is running as well now as at any time in his career.
Pyrah, of Rye Runners and Hastings Athletic Club, achieved a brilliant third place finish in the Hastings Half Marathon on Sunday at the age of 42.
He said: “I think I am. I had a bit of a gap in my 20s and 30s. I was living in London and enjoying life, and I think that’s helped me keep going strong.
“But now I’m over 40 that’s another motivation because that’s a new category and that’s really helped to push me on. I’m just really enjoying it and that’s the main thing.
“I moved down to Rye about three years ago and trained with Hastings AC. We’ve got a really good group so I think my training’s a bit better, more consistent and there’s a bit more competition. I think that’s what does it really.”
Pyrah came fourth in the 2014 Hastings Half Marathon with a time of 1:10.35, but went one place better this time around, albeit with a time 45 seconds slower.
“The position depends on who’s here really,” he continued. “There’s only one African this year and you can’t keep up with them, but you try and get with the local pack and take it from there.
“That worked well. There was a group of us up Queensway and I got away on the top. From there on you’ve just got to run hard, keep pushing and hope no-one catches you. I was really pleased I was third.”
For the second year running, Pyrah was the leading Sussex athlete and first local finisher. His Hastings AC team-mates Daniel Anderson and James Mountford were seventh and eighth respectively.
“I was about half a minute slower than last year,” Pyrah went on. “I don’t know why. It might be the wind or maybe not running quite as well, but in a way it doesn’t matter because I was still pushing hard at the end and I was pleased with that.
Now I’m over 40 that’s another motivation because that’s a new category and that’s really helped to push me onJeff Pyrah
“It was windier than I thought. I knew the wind would be with us back down the seafront which is brilliant to know that’s coming, but I think there was a bit of wind up Queensway.
“What I like about Hastings is the crowd is so amazing. Because I’ve got a Hastings vest on, you get so much support and you just really try to feed off that.”
Pyrah will now shift his focus to the Yorkshire Three Peaks Race, one of the great British fell running experiences, at the end of April.
“I really enjoy the trail stuff,” he added. “I’ve always wanted to do that and I think there’s a really good field. That’s my next target and this is great training with the hills.”