In 1964 The West Hill Boys Club set up Hastings AC under the leadership of Brian Griffin. In December 1966 it was decided that athletics in the town would be better served by renaming the group as Hastings Athletic Club. The Club’s first chairman was John Alexander and the AC came to William Parker School to use the newly opened running track in 1968, opened by Olympians Robbie Brightwell and Anne Packer.
Today, Hastings Athletic Club continues to grow with its grass roots ethos helping athletes of all levels achieve their potential. Hastings Athletic Club is open to all age groups from 8 upwards, who are keen to participate in or help in all areas of the sport. All aspects of the sport are covered, Track and Field, Road Running and Cross Country. Hastings AC regularly enters teams and individuals into various County and National Events covering all disciplines from age 11 up. We have a team of qualified coaches and run various sessions over each week for all abilities.
We have had some incredibly inspiring athletes from the club who have gone on to represent us at National and International Level:
Brian Hull: Schools Triple Jump
Derek Stevens: Marathon
Luke Veness: English Schools Cross Country and 3000m Champion as 16 year old: 1500m and 3000m Internationally
Nick Dawson: 200m
Sean Baldock: Former British Sprinter: Competed 2000 and 2004 Olympics: Winning Commonwealth, World Indoor and Wold Cup Medals
Cara Pain: Schools 300m Hurdles
Elise Lovell: British Heptathlon/ Long Jump
Grace Baker: Cross Country
Louisa James: Hammer
Adam Clarke: U23 National 5,000m champion and in 2015 a finalist in the 1500m British Trials. Represented Team GB at the European Cross Country Championships 2018 and on the track.
In December 2020 Hastings Athletic Club was awarded Charitable Status. The Trustees of the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) ‘HASTINGS ATHLETIC CLUB’ are delighted with the news and are looking forward to taking the club forwards.
Club President, Steve Roberts, has been instrumental in helping guide the club over the past 12 months. Steve’s debut performance for the club was in 1971 and he went on to compete in track and field right up until 2009. Steve is one of nine Trustees for the Charity, all of whom have been involved with the Club in various ways over the years.
As well as Steve, the Charities Trustees are:
Bob Beaney, who joined HAC in 1973, was mainly active in track events but he also ran cross country and 10 mile road events (which was then a common distance to race over) and later 10K and 5K races. Bob retired from competition in 2010.
Peter Emanuel, whose son Lee gained his passion for track and field through the support of Hastings AC and went on to enjoy an athletics career which saw him crowned British Indoor 1500m Champion and Silver medallist at the European Championships in the 3000m among other successes. Peter’s career was in Financial Services and lasted for 36 years before he retired in 2013.
Lionel Parr who joined Hastings AC in 1981 after his daughter joined the club and went on to join the Committee and served as Chairman for just under a decade. Lionel was involved in the early conception of the Hastings Half Marathon and was a Timekeeper at County events, as well as holding other roles in the Club and competing as a V60.
Katie Arnold who has been on the Committee of Hastings AC since 2017 and competes for the club alongside her two children. Katie holds the club 400m V35 record and enjoys competing in middle distance track events, cross country and all road distances. Katie is looking forward to working alongside the Trustees and Management Committee to ensure the continued success of the club.
Sara Whitney who joined Hastings AC in 1978 and ran in sprints distances of 100m 200m and 400m as well as competing in field events. Sara held the 400m club record for many years, being the first lady in the club to run sub 60 seconds. In the winter months, Sarah also represented the club in cross country. Sara knows what a positive impact athletics has had on her own life and how important the club's future is for everyone in Hastings.
Mary Sanderson first joined HAC in 1985, having grown up barefoot running in Papua New Guinea (PNG), running on the track, cross country, and road until the late 1990s and was also a qualified athletics coach. Mary’s interest in Hastings AC was recently rekindled as her eldest son now competes for the club.
Beverley Smart’s family has been associated with HAC since 2010. As a family they enjoyed travelling to watch the children and adults competing both on the track and cross country. Bev works as a Business Manager in a local special school and is the current Treasurer for HAC.
Derek Stevens joined HAC in 1977 and has represented the Club at every distance up to marathon, and nearly all field events. Derek was the first HAC athlete to complete at international level, and he still holds the club records for the Marathon (2:12:41), Half Marathon (1:04:03), 10000m and 3000m. Outside of athletics Derek held a very senior position in Local Government. Since retiring in 2013, Derek has become involved in a number of voluntary organisations and was made a Deputy Lieutenant of East Sussex in 2014. Derek is delighted to have become a Trustee for Hastings Athletic Club and looks forward to assisting the club in its governance and passing on his experience of distance running to current and future athletes.