1500 runners line up for Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon

1500 runners line up for Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon
Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon takes place on Sunday

The race, organised by local athletics club Tunbridge Wells Harriers, is raising money for three local charities: Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre, the Tonbridge homeless charity The Bridge Trust and The Counselling Centre in Tunbridge Wells.

Over the last 10 years the race has also donated £200,000 to charity and worthy local causes, passing on all of the race surplus.

Now in its 37th year, the 13.1-mile circular route starts and finishes at the Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre and goes through the villages of Southborough, Bidborough, Penshurst, Fordcombe and Langton Green. It is well known for its views of the Kent countryside – and also for the challenging route, notably the 300-foot ascent of Spring Hill into Fordcombe.

In last year’s Let’s Do This Challenge Awards, the event was voted the fifth best half marathon in the south of England.

Entry for the race costs £28 and includes a technical fabric long running T-shirt, a bespoke medal, accurate chip timing and secure baggage facilities.

For more information visit twharriers.org.uk     

A brief history of the race

1983: A field of just 53 runners started the first ever Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon on January 23.

1984: The field swelled to over 500, and when the Harriers saw the race would make a healthy profit each year the club decided to donate all profits to local charities. More than £250,000 has been handed out.

1999: A classic race dual saw Barry Royden of Dartford beating Benson Masya from Kenya, who had won The Great North Run a record four times and won the inaugural IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 1992. The outcome was decided on the notorious climb up Spring Hill into Fordcombe. Royden’s time of 1hr 5min 33sec was the fastest Half Marathon time of the year in the UK, and remained unchallenged in Tunbridge Wells until 2012.

2005: The only time the race has been cancelled, was after heavy snowfalls made the course unsafe.

2009: A record number of entries, 2,500.

2012: Ethiopian Yared Hagos set a new men’s course record of 1:04.15, which stands to this day; and Helen Davies (nee Decker) set a new women’s record, beating Olympian Liz Yelling’s previous best with a time of 1:12.41.



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