This year’s Tonbridge Half Marathon was once again a great success. The weather was kind to us, which had not seemed likely just a couple of days earlier. We are particularly grateful for the wonderful facilities provided for us by West Kent College and for all the assistance provided by Sabrina Goacher and her team, both before and on the day.
Over 850 runners headed out of Tonbridge and through the wonderful Kent countryside. They arrived in Leigh to a great welcome and musical entertainment provided by the 17th Tonbridge Scout and Guide Band. An enthusiastic and very vocal crowd awaited them back in Tonbridge as they came up the finishing straight. Guest starter Tom Bosworth was there to present them with their medals. Tom holds the British Records for walking 3k, 5k, 10k and 20k and finished 6th in the Rio Olympics 20k walk. We were delighted to have such an outstanding athlete with us for the day.
Tonbridge AC’s Julian Rendall was bidding for his fourth Tonbridge HM win, but for much of the race shared the lead with a very determined Daniel Bradley, also of Tonbridge AC, the current course record holder. However, Julian managed pull ahead in the latter stages and won in a time of 1:14:16, with Daniel second in 1:16:02 and Colin Tricker of Paddock Wood AC third in 1:17:30.
The ladies’ event was won, also for the fourth time, by Maria Heslop of Tonbridge AC in a time of 1:23:34, over 3 minutes ahead of Nicola Wilkinson in second place (1:26:42) and third placed Rebecca de Stacpoole (1:32:22). Maria finished an amazing 18th overall.
The men’s team competition was won by Tonbridge AC (), with Paddock Wood AC in second place and Petts Wood Runners third. The ladies’ team competition was won by Beckenham Running Club, with Tunbridge Wells Harriers second and Sevenoaks AC third.
One of my favourite half marathons. The organisation is excellent, the course is challenging, hilly and fun, the marshals are on the ball, the supporters at the start, end, and especially the two times through Leigh, are outstanding, and the race is friendly and open to all. Thee is no question it is one of the best halfs around. Ray Ellis
This year’s event was managed by Nice Work, an experienced team of professionals who have a large portfolio of running events such as ours. We are grateful for their expertise and all their support on the day.
This event would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of members of the Rotary Club of Tonbridge and Tonbridge Lions Club who staged the event. Most of them were out on the course as marshals and in some cases out beyond the course at key junctions, advising motorists of road closures and alternatives to driving through Leigh. Once again Gordon Hill put this formidable team together, despite this being a very busy year for him as President of the Lions Club.
There were many other volunteers and organisations that also supported this event. They included the 8th Tonbridge (Hildenborough) Scouts who manned the water stations and Chris Pratt and his two daughters who provided them with equipment and supplies; members of the Tonbridge Detachment of the Kent Army Cadet Force who helped in and around the race village, Course Director Diane Bradley and her team of Tonbridge AC volunteers who helped as race officials; Raynet whose volunteer radio operators provided radio communications cover across the whole course; the Fat Boy Football Team who set up and organised the start/finish area and cleared it all away afterwards; Nicola Ralph and her wonderful team of volunteer masseurs; Janet Playle and the ladies who manned the registration desk, Margaret Hawkins and her team in the baggage drop and Sonia Williams & Janet Sergison who managed the Spot Prize operation. Altogether over 200 volunteers turned up on the day and we are immensely grateful to each and every one of them.
Fourth time of the seven events to date for me and it won't be the last. Great organisation by Nice Work and the marshalls are 2nd to none at this race. A challenging but not the most difficult course. One of my favourite races. David Hole
Altogether, an estimated £50,000 has been raised for charity, both by the event itself and by the efforts of individual runners for their chosen charities. We are also extremely grateful to our sponsors and supporters for covering many of the costs of staging the event, which are considerable.
Well done to everyone who took part. We look forward to seeing you next year!