Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon 2024

Tonbridge Top At Tunbridge Wells

'Fearsome climbs' tackled by 1,344 in Kent half marathon...

Tonbridge AC athletes dominated the team and individual prizes at the 41st Hendy Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon – hosted by the Tunbridge Wells Harriers club for more than 30 years.

The Fusion Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre off St John's Road provided a welcoming Race HQ for the 1,344 runners and their supporters who cemented this race's reputation as one of the largest events organised by a running club, now with additional race management assistance by Nice Work.

This race has always given back to the community through charity donations. Over the last 10 years, the race has donated around £200,000 to charity and worthy local causes directly from race surplus and this year's primary charity was West Kent Mind.

Conditions were damp underfoot but it was mild as the colourful throng set off for a single lap of 13.1 hilly miles through Southborough, Bidborough, Penshurst, Fordcombe, Langton Green, Rusthall and back to Royal Tunbridge Wells – with the fearsome twin climbs of Smart's Hill and Spring Hill at halfway.

A hot pace was set at the front as Tonbridge AC team mates Michael Ellis and Stephen Strange battled for supremacy. Ellis prevailed (1:10:17) by 11 seconds from Strange (1:10:28) with the defending champion Matthew Chipping (Chapel Allerton Runners Leeds, 1:10:38) running 29 seconds faster than his winning time last year for third place. Tonbridge AC clinched the team award when Dan Bradley (1:13:02) crossed the line in sixth place.

W40 Helen Gaunt (Tonbridge AC, 1:20:10) – the 2020 and 2022 champion – secured the top women's prize with almost five minutes to spare over club colleague Nichola Evans (W40, 1:25:03). Charlotte Johnston (Maidstone Harriers, 1:26:01) enjoyed a PB in third place. W45 Lizzie Owen (11th, 1:33:18) closed the winning Tonbridge AC team.

This was the fastest female winning time at Tunbridge Wells since Ipswich Jaffa's Helen Davies set the course record (1:12:41) in 2012! 

Despite the 'challenging' course, there were 126 athletes inside 90 minutes and the final few finishers were home in just outside three hours.

Results and previous event reports are available via the runABC South race listing here.

Photos courtesy Tonbridge AC coach Mick Bannister (top) and Tunbridge Wells Harriers (below)

Tunbridge Wells Harriers pacers 2024

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