Hastings athlete lines up alongside Sir Mo Farah - and is inspired to half marathon best

Hastings elite athlete Ross Skelton – recently transferred to HY Runners - took on the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in Northern Ireland on Saturday alongside Sir Mo Farah.

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 8:30 am
Ross Skelton (far right of picture), Sir Mo Farah and others head to the start

There was a great UK international field lined up for this elite-only event, with entry by invite.

Skleton’s time of 64.37 was a big PB for himself. The only Hastings-area runner to ever a run a comparable time is Adam Clarke, who secured 64.06, also this year, at the Vitality Big Half.

Skelton was tenth athlete over the line just a few minutes after Farah, who broke the tape with a time of 60.27.

Ross Skelton during the race

He was interviewed about his great effort after the race...

Can you tell us a little about the circumstances around this race and how it went for you?

“It was the first time that I have been flown over for free and had everything catered for, from food to accommodation and shuttle bus to and from the race. So that was nice because obviously there were less stresses to worry about. The race itself was quite undulating with a south-westerly wind, so it meant we had the wind in our face in both directions – not ideal. I believe I could have run faster with perfect conditions. I kicked with about a mile to go in the small group that I was in and managed to pull away. Looking back, I probably could have pushed on with about 3 miles to go and that would have perhaps put me closer to obviously low 64 or under but I now know for next time.”

Can you tell us how you feel about running in such a quality field of athletes?

Sir Mo and Ross share a joke

“Finishing 10th overall behind some international athletes, obviously the likes of Mo and a few others, will do me a world of good in terms of boosting my confidence. I will move away from this race knowing that I can run with these guys. I've taken a lot away from this weekend, things are starting to really come together on the road and in the longer distances.

Can you tell us how it felt to meet Sir Mo?

"We had a bit of a chat before the race. On the way to the start line, he was asking about my shoes, this was obviously quite nice. Growing up and seeing him on the TV and then staying in the same hotel as him, warming up together, speaking to him and then racing together was quite surreal. This guy is a double Olympic and World champion and has won Sports Personality of the year. So, to come up and acknowledge me before the race was a nice touch."

How do you see your future panning out?

On the start line...

"I was one of the top English finishers even though I was 10th overall as lot of the guys ahead of me were of other nationalities, so it does put me up there in terms of raising my profile. Now I'm starting to get a little bit more attention and by stringing these races together, marathon and half marathon distance, my aim is to get invited to more prestigious events. I feel I am very close to getting an England vest. I have a great support system of family and friends behind me, and I couldn’t do it without them."