Our featured event this weekend is the 30th anniversary Paddock Wood Half Marathon on Sunday (7 April). This year the race incorporates the Kent Long Course Championships and is a Kent Road Race Grand Prix event.
Technically this is not an anniversary milestone as the 2001 race was cancelled due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease that year. However Paddock Wood Half Marathon was born in 1989 with Derek Stevens (Hastings, 1:08:04) and Sue Martin (Medway, 1:22:16) establishing the course's credentials for producing quick times.
Race director, James Ridger said: "We have come a long way in 30 years. In our first race, way back in 1989, we had 690 entries; this year 2750 people will have entered our race. This is testament to the organisation and hard work of everyone involved with the race, not only today but over the last 30 years".
The course records are owned by Frank Tickner (Wells City, 1:05:06) since 2013 and Tish Jones (Belgrave Harriers, 1:13:25) from 2014. Last year's winners were John Gilbert (Kent AC, 1:05:18) and Lucy Reid (Tonbridge, 1:16:19) as more than 2,000 runners finished in 3:35:42.
Started as a major fundraiser for the promoting club, Paddock Wood AC, the race also supports the vital life saving work of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance. The flat, rural course passes through attractive Kent hop fields and open countryside. The only significant climb is early on at 1.25 miles plus a few rises over railway bridges, notably at the start and finish.
This year the host club will be providing pacers for 1:30; 1:40; 1:50; 2:00; 2:15 and 2:30 times and main sponsors Lambert & Foster will provide the post race 'Selfie Stand' to capture those precious memories.
A crack team of well drilled goody bag packers have been busy so everything is set for another successful race. Look out for our race report in runABC South next week.
Image courtesy Paddock Wood AC