Hellingly 10k Sunday 14th September 2014p
Many of you probably have not heard of this race which this year celebrated it’s 30th Anniversary. Hellingly (pronounced Hellinglie) is situated on the edge of the South Downs in East Sussex a round trip of approx 400 miles from Stone! The nearest large town is Uckfield and Hellingly is a stones throw away from Lower Dicker and Upper Dicker. The nearest coastal towns are Eastbourne 15 miles and Brighton 30 miles.
The race is organised by Hailsham Harriers and now carries the title “John Faulds Hellingly 10k in memory of one of their active runners who died in 2002 whilst out training on the Cuckoo Trail from where the race starts. ( The trail is a Sustrains 14 mile route running from Hellingly to Eastbourne along the old railway track).
This year as in previous years, the race was full with 300 runners. The route is interesting and consists of hills, followed by hills and more hills before descending the last 2 miles to the finish at Hellingly Village Hall. It is primarily country lanes with very little traffic, similar to our Flying Fox route and it skirts around Ten Acre Wood, Boniface Wood, Ladys Wood, Jarvis Wood, Sandrock Wood and Nobodys Wood. If that is not enough, you also pass Sandpit Wood, Squirrel Wood, Starvecrow Wood, Giddys Wood, Little Gensing Wood, Great Gensing Wood and finally Coneyburrow Wood, as you can guess the views are brilliant especially if you like trees. Now, I know why a fellow runner mentioned to me prior to the start of the race, when I asked what the course was like they replied it is a race you “wood” enjoy!!
During the race it was good to see no familiar faces as the majority were local club runners, hence no pressure, but unfortunately not as friendly as us in Staffordshire especially when I tried to tell them a joke or two!! The day was hot 21C and the numerous hills sapped your energy. The last 200 yards was halfway down a recently ploughed field which itself was challenging hence my finishing time of 51:10 ( 158/282 finishers) but 1st in for Stone MM and my wife Margaret finishing in 60:51.
The icing on the cake were the huge range of homemade cakes on offer afterwards, all large pieces and the Jam and Cream Sponge was soon gone and fortunately I just managed to get the last piece! Tea and Coffee were also available and everything was priced at only 50p each, not surprisingly the queue stretched all through the village hall.
This was our first race in East Sussex and hopefully not our last as overall we thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are ever down there in September, we would recommend it, especially if you like hills.
A good day out at the start of our weeks holiday in the area.
Richard and Margaret Shaw