The 27th Paddock Wood Half Marathon saw 2,115 finishers on the warmest day of the year so far, after a capacity entry of 2,750 runners registered for the fifth consecutive year. Tracy Barlow, of Thames Valley Harriers - second in the recent Bath Half Marathon - recorded the third fastest women’s time (1:15:49) around the Kentish hop fields in an excellent tenth overall.
Ben Shearer, of Kent club Cambridge Harriers, broke the tape in Eldon Way in 1:09:28 with 15 seconds to spare from Robert Wilson (Highgate Harriers). Daniel Gaffney (South London Harriers, 1:09:58) also ducked under the 70-minute mark to complete the podium. A total of 172 athletes went under 90 minutes on this flat, fast course. Among the age-category winners was over-70 Tony Rea of Dragons Running Club (1:45:52).
The women’s runner-up was Maria Heslop (Paddock Wood, 1:20:55) who is second on the UK over-45 rankings at this distance. Nicole Taylor (Tonbridge, 1:22:25) was a clear third, in only her second venture at 13.1 miles.
The host club, Paddock Wood AC, mustered 50 course marshals and a small army of helpers to ensure another successful event. Despite the distractions of race promotion the club fielded 21 runners and their top man was Steve Chivers (1:24:31). Tilly Bulpitt, of Paddock Wood, was the mid-placed runner in 1:58:45 and the last finisher recorded 3:44:56.
Race director, James Ridger said: “The half marathon would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of so many people. The race committee would personally like to thank the members of Paddock Wood AC, the local Paddock Wood community and all of our sponsors."
Full results are at runABC South Race Listing page.