Club history

Although a club called Tunbridge Wells Harriers was founded in the late 19th century and existed until the 1930s, the origins of the current club may be traced back to the running boom of the early 1980s.

Tunbridge Wells Harriers in 1887Tunbridge Wells Runners was formed by a small group of individuals that had trained together for the first London Marathon in 1981, originally meeting at the Coach Road lay-by in Rusthall or at Major Yorks Road car park. After the marathon, the training runs continued and the club was formed - with many club runs then starting from the Cross Keys PH in St Johns Road.

Organised races attract new members

The club staged its first half marathon in January 1983, with 53 runners using a variation on the current course with a start near the Wellington Hotel. The club membership continued to grow, and the difficulties that this brought about at the Cross Keys necessitated a change in venue. In 1985, the club moved to the Tunbridge Wells Borderers Sports Club - the purpose-built pavilion at St Marks Recreation Ground on the Frant Road used by the Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club and the Borderers Cricket Club.

As the club developed, so its range of activities changed, and cross country, track and field, and triathlon were added to the Club's origins in road running.

The club's profile continues to grow

The Half Marathon continues to grow in size and stature, with the increase in field to a now sell-out 2500 entrants. The event, a recognised 'pre-London' race in February, has hosted the Kent Championships, South East Athletic Association Half Marathon Championships, and has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity. The race won the the 'most improved event' award at the Runner's World 2009 awards.

In addition to the Half Marathon, the club has an excellent record in the hosting of cross country events, with inter-club events, league meetings, county championships and the British Veterans Championships all having been promoted by the Club. Each September the club organises The Eridge Park 10 Trail Challenge, a favourite of off-road runners through an historic deer park and ancient woodland. In 2009 the race came 1st in the Runner's World UK's Best 50 Races of 2009 listing, and in 2010 was honoured to be hailed as the 'Best Race in the World' by the Observer newspaper.

Runners become Harriers

1997 saw members voting to change the name of the Club from Tunbridge Wells Runners to Tunbridge Wells Harriers. The name change was but a small part of a development plan that has taken the Harriers further into this century with as much success as the original Harriers had in the last. Recent success has included the men's road running team winning the Kent Grand Prix in 2008 and 2009.

A new home for a growing club

In 2006, the club moved to a new base at the Nevill Ground off Warwick Park, sharing facilities with Tunbridge Wells Cricket and Hockey clubs, providing improved facilities for the growing number of Harriers running each week. The club now has over 300 members over the full range of abilities.