Meet the Pitcairn-Knowles, otherwise known as the P-Ks, who are all nuts about running. Three generations with double-barrelled surnames and a shared sports passion that often leads to some logistical challenges but a whole lot of fun.
Arguably the most accomplished athlete is family patriarch, Richard Pitcairn-Knowles, 83, a retired osteopath from Sevenoaks. Richard brought team gold medals home from the Masters International cross-country at St. Asaph in 1998 and Bideford in 1999, representing England’s M65 team but perhaps his greatest achievement was an M65 team gold for GB in the World Masters cross-country at Gateshead in 1999.
Richard’s personal choices of best performances are more varied, as he explains: “I was first in the Vets AC 1500m in 1999 ahead of the former Olympian and world record holder, Sir Christopher Chataway. I also enjoyed getting lapped in a parkrun last year by my grandson, Bede, as I continue my quest to complete 250 parkruns by Christmas!”
Now the P-K baton is being passed to the next two generations through Richard and Pamela’s son Mark (50), his wife Lucy (51) and daughters Ellen (19) and Polly (17) and son Bede (15). All are keen members of Tonbridge AC who also enjoy regular excursions to parkruns around the country. Ellen, Polly and Bede have all represented Kent at County, Regional and National level.
Although Mark cannot recall an occasion when all the family have competed at the same time there was a less than glorious outing for three generations when Bede, Lucy, Mark and Richard ran as a 4x100m relay team in one of the popular series of Tonbridge open meetings.
Mark believes that family support has been vital to their success to date and says: “I feel very lucky that we have been able to all be involved together in the same sport. The fun runs are vital and the social life that the children have had at Tonbridge has been fantastic encouragement on wet, cold evenings. The only down side is that I always seem to end up cleaning five pairs of spikes!”
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