MORE than 1,500 runners took part in the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon on Sunday (February 19), with the starter’s gun fired by West Malling’s ‘365 Marathon Man’, Ben Rogers, running his 302nd marathon in consecutive days
The race, over 13.1 miles, was won by James Conner from Kent Athletic Club in a time of 1 hour 8 minutes and 50 seconds, nearly a minute and a half ahead of second placed Dean Lacy of Cambridge Harriers.
The fastest woman was Maria Heslop of Paddock Wood AC (pictured below), who made it across the line in 1 hour 22 minutes and 29 seconds.
In order to complete his requirement of running a whole marathon every day, ‘365 Marathon Man’ ran the course in reverse. He started the race, then ran the distance again to complete his 26.2 miles.
Among the 1,523 runners were 65 aged 60 or more, with nine of the finishers aged 70 and over enjoying perfect running conditions.
The first of these across the line was David Winch of Thanet Roadrunners AC, in an impressive time of 1:33.03.
The only veteran in the over-80 category, Graham Brooks of Tunbridge Wells Harriers who was featured in the Times’ build-up to the race, managed 2:37.33.
Organised by volunteers from Tunbridge Wells Harriers, the race is recognised as one of the best in the country, with a picturesque course taking in Bidborough, Penshurst, Fordcombe and Langton Green.
“It’s a lot of hard work to pull it off, but it helps put Tunbridge Wells on the sporting map, attracting runners from around the country,” said Race Director Mark Taylor.
First-time entrant Sally Pelling said: “I enjoyed every second. The organisation was so slick and efficient and ran like clockwork.”
Headline sponsors Nuffield Health provided support before and after the event. The Times was the official media partner for the race.
Surplus funds are being donated to The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which promotes youth achievement, the Tunbridge Wells Counselling Centre and The Bridge Trust, that supports the homeless.
For full results visit www.southernrunningguide.com/race/tunbridge-wells-half-marathon