The course hasn’t changed, it is still 5km long and Dunorlan Park’s infamous hill remains just as steep.
But Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun, a free weekly event to encourage running and fitness opportunities, has come a long way in its four year history.
At the latest count, 5,148 different runners had crossed the line with the average runner completing the course six times.
And, on Saturday [April 28] the balloons were out for the 199th edition, which marked the event’s fourth birthday.
William Benson, Chief Executive of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, spoke at the start and praised the scores of volunteers who make the event possible every week.
Judy Guest, who has been Volunteer Coordinator since day one, said: ‘We started with just a few people, to see who would come, and it has increased and increased.
‘The community part of it is unbelievable. Some of those who come are from running clubs, but others are trying it for the first time.
‘It is a lovely family event. There is an 86-year-old man who runs and there is another man in his 70s who cycles from Langton Green to take part.
‘I have never left there not smiling.’
parkrun is free, open to anyone and has a non-competitive focus. All runners sign-up online and print off a barcode. This must be presented at the end to receive a time.
There were several first timers among the 227 who finished on Saturday, and a few tourists who had come from as far as Whitstable to take part.
A special cake was presented while local companies donated food for a post-run buffet and a special raffle was held.
‘It went very well, there was a lot going on,’ Ms Guest continued. ‘It was totally volunteer driven and it a good team.
‘We get about 200 runners usually. We are never going to be huge because we are quite remote and not near a station.’
Jamie Bryant crossed the line first in 16min 48 and the first female finisher was Sonja King in 23min 04.