Hendy Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon – Race Report
For the second weekend in a row racing around the country has been disrupted by bad weather. However, despite how much Storm Dennis huffed and puffed, it wasn’t quite enough to prevent the Hendy Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon taking place.
With numerous weather warnings in place up and down the country for most of the weekend, it was touch and go as to whether or not the event would take place but a late call on Saturday evening gave the event the green light.
Just seven of our Thanet Roadrunners braved the conditions and made the long journey up to Tunbridge Wells. There was more frustration around the communication of the race early in the morning as all runners were advised that the race had been postponed for an hour which was to allow the wind to drop and a further assessment of the course to take place. Although this was a frustration to a lot of runners not knowing if the run was going ahead or not, this decision turned out to be a masterstroke as the wind and rain had eased and the race got under way at the revised time of 10:00am.
The course itself is an incredibly picturesque one lap circuit through some of the finest of the Kent countryside but also one that has plenty of challenges along the way. There were a number of hills that had to be negotiated with Spring Hill on the approach to Fordcombe being the main culprit.
Although the rain had eased in intensity, it remained consistent throughout the race and meant that there was plenty of water on the course especially at Fordcombe where ankle deep water across the road kept things interesting. From mile 10 onwards the course flatness out and offers a quick finish to anyone with anything left in the tank.
Although the conditions were challenging and no doubt put a number of runners off from attending, but at no point was the safety of the participants was put at risk. The organisation on the course was fantastic and all of the marshals and volunteers were incredible. Due to the delayed start, I’m sure that many of the marshals were out in those conditions longer than most of the runners, but their enthusiasm and encouragement was infectious and really made the difference.
A massive thank you to Tunbridge Wells Harries for putting on this race in difficult circumstances. The race was a huge success and saw 999 very wet finishers safely complete the course.
The race was won by Billy Hobbs from Tunbridge Wells Harriers in a time of 1:13:16. The first female to finish was Helen Gaunt from Tonbridge AC in a time of 1:23:44.
For our Thanet Roadrunners, it was Max Hubbard who was first to finish in a time of 1:34:44, proving that the Vaporflysstill work even when fully submerged in water. Hot on his heels was Phil Stevens with a time of 1:36:42. Dave Winch was third to finish ducking under one hour forty in a time of 1:39:52. Dave Winch also continued to demonstrate that age is just a number and picked up 1st place in the V70 category. Philip Cope also had a great race and claimed second place in the V70 category with a time of 2:11:43. Steve Suttle also ran well and claimed 3rd place in the V60 category with a time of 1:42:56.
Well done to all our TRACies that took part and represented the club in this Kent Grand Prix race. The results for our Thanet Roadrunners were:
119th Maxwell Hubbard – 01:34:44
136th Phil Stevens – 01:36:42
186th David Winch – 01:39:52
226th Stephen Forshaw – 01:42:20
236th Stephen Suttle – 01:42:56
652th Mark Hadden – 02:00:51
820th Philip Cope – 02:11:43