Harriers make history as Hobbs storms to victory

Harriers make history as Hobbs storms to victory
Billy Hobbs wins the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon

After the start was delayed by an hour to allow the worst of Storm Dennis to pass, Hobbs himself stormed away from the field.

His victory improved upon his second place finishes of the last two years and confirmed his form ahead of the London Marathon in April.

In the extremely wet conditions, his finishing time of 1hr 13min 16sec was just one minute slower than his time last year.

It gave him a winning margin of more than a minute over Andrew Cumine of Belgrave Harriers (1:14.27) with Matt Chipping (1:14.46) of Tunbridge Wells finishing third.

Tunbridge Wells Harriers also won the team event in the men’s race with strong support from team-mates Alex Jeffreys – who ran a personal best (PB) of 1:16.53 – in fith place and Patrick Bareham (1:18.13) sixth.

In the women’s race, there was a dominant display from Helen Gaunt of Tonbridge Athletic Club, who was the first woman over the line with a time of 1:23.44, and who was 19th place overall

The runner-up was Ali Farrell of Kent AC (1:30.47) with  Jemma Whyman of Medway & Maidstone (1:30.54) in third place.

Tonbridge AC took the women’s team race title, with Nichola Evans in fifth and Sarah Cronin in seventh backing up Gaunt’s effort.

Jillian Holford was first woman Harrier home in 1:36.42, to place third in the over-45 category. She was followed closely by Hayley Larkin (1:38.49), with Rose Sawyer (1:55) also competing.

Three other male harriers finished in the top 50, Mike King (1:24 in 21st), Mike Cardall (PB of 1:26.59 in 30th) and Kelvin Desmoyers-Davis (PB of 1:26.14 in 34rd) .

There were also PBs for fellow Harriers Andrew Shepherd (1:34), Tom Bushell (1:44), Tom Fox (1:47), Nicholas Cole (1:51) and James Horne (1:56).

There were 999 finishers alongside hundreds of volunteers including many marshals along the route, who stood out in the stormy conditions for upwards of three hours.

Three local charities, Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre in Tunbridge Wells, The Bridge Trust homeless charity in Tonbridge and the Tunbridge Wells Counselling Centre, will benefit from all the surplus funds raised by the race, which is organised by Tunbridge Wells Harriers.


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