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Sevenoaks 7 competitors

Super Sevenoaks Seven

Sevenoaks' half marathon replacement is an endearing and enduring race...

Kent-based runABC reporter Alan Newman has a soft spot for the Sevenoaks 7. It was one of the first races he did after moving to Kent. His wife, Sue James, came down from Blackpool to win the 1993 inaugural event in sub-50 minutes and was interviewed for Athletics Weekly! Alan's best was seventh in 1995 (41:05).  

The event has hardly changed in 30 years, still comprising two laps of undulating grass and tarmac paths through the Knole Park Estate, where up to 400 fallow and sika deer roam in 1,000 acres of meadowland and woodlands, including the largest oak tree in the UK – one of the seven oak trees that gave rise to the town's name back in Anglo-Saxon times.

Sennokians (as Sevenoaks folk are known) are justifiably proud of their superb surroundings, with the highlight being the National Trust-owned former archbishop's palace Knole House, built on the highest point of Knole Park.

The race starts in the valley, west of Knole House. From Knole Paddock, it winds steeply uphill around Echo Mount, past the North side of Knole House, up the gentle incline of Broad Walk to the highest point near the top of River Hill. From there, competitors have a delightful canter down 'The Gallops' before turning right to ascend Broad Walk again. The second lap always seems to flash by and soon it's time to storm down 'The Gallops' (pictured above) to the finish.

The 29th race is on Sunday 7 July 2024 and entries are available via the official website. This is a runABC South featured race and you can find race details and past results here.

Sevenoaks 7 was introduced as a replacement for the Sevenoaks Half Marathon, moving the race off busy roads and into the tranquil surroundings of Knole Park. There were 200 competitors in the first race and over 500 runners have been seen as the race peaked in popularity in the early 2000s. 

Famous competitors include the former European 5,000m champion Bruce Tulloh in 1998 and prolific winners include Sevenoaks AC's Darrell Smith and Tina Oldershaw of Paddock Wood AC. Last year's champions were Matthew Taylor (Tonbridge AC, 38:24) and Nathalie Gaudillat (Beckenham RC, 52:12).

For full race details and entries, including the free-to-enter Junior 3.5K Race, click here

Photo courtesy Sevenoaks AC

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