There is still time to secure an entry for the 31st Lambert & Foster Paddock Wood Half Marathon, an annual sell-out London Marathon tune-up. This year's race is scheduled for Sunday 5 April and entries are flooding in for this 2,500 runner contest.
A glance at the former winners reveals the quality of this mainly flat 13.1 miler, with course records by Frank Tickner (Wells City Harriers, 1:05:06) in 2013 and Tish Jones (Belgrave Harriers, 1:13:25) from 2014. Previous international winners include Russian Vladimir Shyrts, Eritrean Biriam Ande and Kenya's Nicholas Kirui.
Last year's winners were Nick Torry (Serpentine, 1:05:34) and Eilidh Bell (Team Bath, 1:19:00) as 2,050 finished inside three and a half hours. In 2019 there were more than 270 sub-90 minute runs and 1,275 broke two hours. The results are always littered with PBs as runners sharpen up for Spring marathons in the glorious Kent countryside (pictured above).
The most prolific Paddock Wood winners are Medway AC stars Barry Royden, with three wins between 1998 and 2004 and the inaugural female winner winner Sue Martin-Clarke, with five wins between 1989 and 1997, since matched by Paddock Wood's Tina Oldershaw (1998 - 2013).
Now is the time to finalise your training and racing programme if a Spring marathon is the next milestone on your running journey. Ample free parking is available at Mascalls School, less than a mile jog from the start and the railway station is a five minute walk to the start in Eldon Way.
Trophies are awarded to the first three men and women, plus age categories up to M70 and W65 and the first three club teams. The Joe Cartwright Trophy is awarded to the first male and female under-23 runner and any new course record attracts a bonus payment.
Sports massage is available for a donation to the race charity Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance and the main sponsors Lambert & Foster Estate Agents will have a team competing.