Hastings Half Marathon runner-up Dean Lacy admitted he didn’t expect to be in contention to win the race.
The Cambridge Harriers talent finished just seven seconds behind Kenyan winner Peter Emase yesterday (Sunday) morning in one of the closest finishes for years.
Lacy, 28, said: “I was hoping to be at the front, but I didn’t expect to be in contention for winning it. The first couple of miles I took the race on and the four of us got away quite early.
“It must’ve been about halfway I put in another effort and we broke away from the guys in third and fourth a little bit. I tried to push on a couple of times, but couldn’t quite get rid of him (Emase) and he got away with 600 metres to go. He just had too much for me.”
Having only entered a week or so before the race, Lacy produced a tremendous performance on his Hastings debut to split the two Kenyans. Matthew Kiprotich Kimutai came third and Ethiopian runner Hailu Million was fourth.
“It was my third half marathon in four weeks,” Lacy went on. “I was 12th in Bath (on Sunday March 3) and finished eighth in Reading (on Sunday March 17). I was really pleased with my time; it was only 20 seconds slower than I ran last week (on a much flatter and therefore faster course in Reading).
“It’s a localish half marathon and I just thought I would have a crack at it really. I entered about two or three years ago, but woke up on the morning of the race with a bit of a stomach ache and never managed to start.
“I hadn’t been round the course beforehand, but a couple of guys warned me about the long drags. The hills weren’t too bad and I thought I was coping better up the hills than the Kenyans.
“I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a great course, great atmosphere and great support. It was so good to see so many people (cheering on the runners from the side of the road despite the cold weather). I think I’ll be back next year and give it another crack.”