Julian Rendall (Tonbridge) and Maria Heslop (Paddock Wood) both enjoyed their third victories in the Tonbridge Half Marathon on Sunday (2 October). The event hosted the Kent Championships and Grand Prix and started from inspirational Dame Kelly Holmes Way within the magnificent facilities of West Kent College where the Race Village was housed.
Cool, cloudy conditions at the start gave way to bright sunshine for the finish as experienced ultra-marathon international, Julian Rendall (1:14:29) finally got the better of his Tonbridge team mate Dan Bradley (1:14:54). The bronze medal went to fast finishing Nigel Ling (M40 Dartford Road Runners, 1:16:16).
The women’s race was decided early as W45 Maria Heslop (Paddock Wood, 1:22:00) stamped her authority on the field from the start, finishing 12th overall. Club mate Tina Oldershaw (W45, 1:28:25) was second and Sophie Tomaszczyk (West 4 Harriers, 1:29:16) completed the podium.
The race attracted a record 1,117 starters and it is estimated that between them they will raise around £65,000 for local charities. There were 77 runners inside 90 minutes and Julie Stoppani (W45 Maidstone Harriers, 1:57:07) was the halfway marker.
One unusual twist was that the race medals were not presented on the day as the race director, Mick Barlow, deemed them to be below standard. New medals will be ordered and posted out to all finishers.
The sixth annual race was started by Tonbridge’s Mayor, Mark Rhodes. Tonbridge Lions Club and Rotary Club jointly organise the race with full support from Tonbridge AC. Rotary Club President, Brian Piner, said: “I would like to thank the 220 volunteers who helped out on the day as without them we simply wouldn’t be able to run what is now a major date in the town’s diary.”
Full details and results at Tonbridge Half Marathon website.
Image courtesy Tonbridge Half Marathon