Photo finish for half marathon as race returns for 40th anniversary race

Photo: James Hudson

THE Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon returned to the town last Sunday (February 19), with organisers hopeful that funds raised will return to pre-pandemic levels.

The popular running event, now in its fortieth year, is likely to have raised £20,000, Race Director Michael Youlton told the Times.

The race, which was cancelled in 2021 due to Covid-19, returned last year but with notably fewer participants. However, Mr Youlton said the race had completely sold out this year, filling all 1,650 spaces, with 1,319 finishers.

The final amount will be known once all bills and expenses are paid, but Mr Youlton hoped ‘it will be in the region of £20,000’.

“This is back to what it would have been before the pandemic.”

The race organisers, Tunbridge Wells Harriers, donate the surplus to their chosen causes, but many runners were raising funds for other charities.

Stephen Donnelly told the Times: “I managed to finish the Half Marathon in 2 hours 15 mins, which is not very quick, but I did it for Age UK Tunbridge Wells!”

Güner Kaya and Ben Ryan were also running for Age UK Tunbridge Wells. The pair work for HG Construction, which is developing a retirement village for Elysian Residences, on St John’s Road.

Gavin Fisher, Chief Executive of the Children’s Respite Trust said that a trio of runners from insurer AXA were ‘on course to reach their target of raising £1,000’.

The race was notable in that the race was won in a dead heat, with Matthew Chipping and Dillon Hobbs both recording a time of 1:11:07.

Mr Youlton said that according to race facilitators Nice Work, ‘it was the first time this happened in 20 years’.

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