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Paddock Wood Half leaders 2021

Hot pace matched by the weather at Paddock Wood

Spring marathon season kicks off – in Autumn!

Kent's biggest half marathon ended with a number of complaints on Sunday (5th September). Race organisers decided not to provide bottled water at the finish to reduce the environmental impact but were caught out by the late arrival of summer as temperatures soared during the race.

The decision had been communicated to all entrants but many had missed the small print and their tongues were hanging out after a blistering effort in the Paddock Wood Half Marathon. A hosepipe was swiftly connected and cups were provided as a makeshift alternative. The PWHM race committee issued a swift apology and the feedback was taken on board for next year's event. 

The vast majority of comments were positive, highlighting the ample on-course water and sponge stations, supportive marshals, busy medical team (due to the extreme conditions) and the attractive course and good quality medal. 

The delayed 31st Lambert & Foster Paddock Wood Half Marathon normally signals the start of the Spring marathon season and is an ideal warm-up for London and Brighton marathons. In this odd year of 2021, it still served that purpose – just in the Autumn rather than Spring!

There were more than 2,500 entries but only 1,350 confirmed finishers in 3:46:30 – indicative of the high attrition rate and non-starters due to the weather and possibly Covid hangover.

The pace at the front was as hot as the thermometer, with a dozen men inside 70 minutes. The top three were Nick Dawson (Worthing, 1:07:51 PB) – #2072 above – Ben Savill (Lewes, 1:08:00) and Chris Thomas (Thames Valley Harriers, 1:08:08 PB). Fourth-placed Tom Aldred (London Heathside, 1:08:23) led the M40 masters' category.

Izzy Coomber (Lewes, 1:21:28) had a little more daylight from her pursuers in the women's race. Caoimhe Nic Fhogartaigh (London City, 1:21:44) and Hannah Roberts (Petts Wood, 1:24:02) were her closest opposition and W45 Debbie Jackson – also fourth overall – topped the higher age groups with 1:24:37 in South London Harriers' colours.

Race Director, James Ridger, has confirmed the 32nd Lambert & Foster Paddock Wood Half Marathon will take place on Sunday 13th March 2022 and entries will open this weekend. 

Results are available at runABC South's race listing here

Image of leading group courtesy Mark Hookway, Tonbridge AC

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