Paddock Wood club members are claiming personal bests well before their 27th annual half marathon sets off from Eldon Way on Sunday (April 3). An elite team of goody bag fillers packed 2,200 bags quicker than some of the competitors will take to complete the course.
This year, runABC South has added to the contents of the goody bags to help keep runners in Kent on their toes and fully informed about events and trends in the region.
The first winners were Derek Stevens (Hastings, 1.08.04) and Sue Martin-Clarke (Medway, 1.22.16) in 1989. Current course records are 1:05:06 by Frank Tickner (Wells City Harriers) in 2013 and 1:13:25 by Tish Jones (Belgrave) in 2014. The most successful Kent runners are Medway AC’s Barry Royden with three wins between 1998 and 2004 and Susan Martin-Clarke with five wins from 1989 to 1997. More recently the female race has been dominated by Paddock Wood’s own Tina Oldershaw, with five wins between 1998 and 2013.
The flat course through beautiful hop fields and orchards provides for fast times and is an attractive distraction in itself. Many runners use Paddock Wood Half Marathon as fine tuning for a spring marathon.
The Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance are the lead race charity this year and as independent health care providers they rely heavily on public donations to raise the £6 million needed to fund the service every year.
Full details are on the race website.