Event of the Week

Penshurst Place Manor House 2024

Salad Days And Relays

runABC's Alan Newman remembers summer relays in Kent and previews a new event...

Our news writer Alan Newman fondly remembers arriving in Kent in the early-1990's and enjoying regular summer relays in attractive venues. He recalls: "I was once trying to impress my new team mates in Medway AC and was going well on a balmy summer evening relay at Tunbridge Wells – or so I thought until an express train in a red Invicta East Kent vest came flying past. That was the first time I had ever 'met' Mike Gratton, the 1982 Commonwealth Marathon bronze medallist and 1983 London Marathon champion!"

Those relays were great fun, and highly competitive, with teams often including international class athletes whom cunning team managers tactically deployed for the greatest impact on the overall result. Sadly, such joys have been largely lost in the Garden of England, so Alan's present club Tonbridge AC has put together a new event on an entirely off-road course within the grounds of stunning Penshurst Place and Gardens near Tonbridge, Kent.

The 14th-century Manor House, once the property of King Henry VIII, was left to his son King Edward VI, and then granted to Sir William Sidney in 1552. The Sidney family has since been in continuous occupation for more than 470 years. The State Rooms, Gardens, and Parkland are open to the public and the rolling hills will provide a good trail for the first-ever Tonbridge AC Midsummer Relay on Wednesday 3 July 2024.

The course has been tested in club training and competition by Tonbridge AC members, so the host club is ready to challenge the best teams in Kent and beyond to a jolly midweek joust over 3x4K legs on a multi-terrain route in historic surroundings.

Birketts Solicitors, Amicus Accountancy, and The Springbank Clinic are joint sponsors of the inaugural event. Entries are invited at £21 per team with a maximum of 100 teams allowed. There will be male, female, and mixed team classes, with the top three teams in each category and individual fastest male and female runners winning prizes.

There is plenty for supporters to do at Penshurst Place, where parking will be free. The grounds are delightful and great refreshments are available at the Porcupine Pantry Cafe. The Toy Museum, Adventure Playground, and Woodland Trail will keep the family occupied if you time your visit to coincide with the opening hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm for outdoor activities and 11:30am to 4:00pm for the Manor House and Toy Museum.

Full details at Tonbridge AC here and on runABC South here.

The email address for any queries is summerrelay@tonbridgeac.org.uk

Photo courtesy Penshurst Place and Gardens on Facebook

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