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The Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon was 35 years old in 2018

2018 Race Report by Alan Newman

Simon Goldsworthy set the pace for nearly 1,500 runners in the 35th Hendy Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon on a crisp, sunny Sunday morning (18 February). Simon (1:11:21) was only 18 seconds outside his PB, set at Woking last year, as Maria Heslop (Tonbridge, 1:22:25) recorded her fourth victory on this notoriously hilly course.
Simon Goldsworthy quickly established a lead from the start outside Fusion Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre and headed for the hills that are such a feature of this challenging course. After an opening mile on the A26 through busy Southborough the route passes pretty villages like Bidborough and Penshurst before the 300 foot ascent of Spring Hill to Fordcombe.
From here the runners visit Langton Green and Rusthall, with views from Mount Ephraim across High Rocks, before the welcome descent to the finish. Tunbridge Wells Harriers (TWH) have honed the event organisation over the years and provide pacers from 1:30 to 2:20 as well as free massage and a technical long sleeve top for all finishers.
Although the temperature stayed in low single figures the sun shone and there was very little wind, so conditions were just about perfect. With the winner setting a brisk pace there were impressive times behind as local favourites Billy Hobbs (TWH, 1:12:44 PB) and former winner Julian Rendall (Tonbridge, 1:13:16) completed the podium.
Maria Heslop completed a hat trick of consecutive wins, having also won in 2014. The W50 master was two seconds faster than last year and her time is among the top 10 UK all time in her new age group. Heslop was followed home by team mate and fellow W50 Tina Oldershaw (1:25:03), who is the most successful athlete at this event with five victories this century. Georgina Frost (Orpington RR, 1:27:11 PB) was third, improving her 2010 best at Hastings by an astonishing 10 minutes!
More than 100 athletes broke 90 minutes and Graham Brooks of the host club had the honour of closing the race in 3:30:38 to head his category as the sole M80 finisher.

Full results and race information are available at runABC South race listings

Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon

Famed for the scenic and challenging route (the 300 foot ascent of Spring Hill at Fordcombe is to be mentioned), meticulous organisation, value for money and friendly marshals, it was voted the ‘Most Improved Race in the UK’ in 2009 and was voted the No.2 Half Marathon in the UK in 2011 by Runner’s World readers. It is one of the biggest events in the UK organised by a running club and Tunbridge Wells Harriers are very proud to have hosted the event for over 30 years. Over the last 5 years the race has also donated over £150,000 to charity and some worthy local causes directly from race surplus. We are hugely grateful to all of our sponsors and partners particularly this year to Hendy our sponsor for the 2018 event. Our race is organised by volunteers from Tunbridge Wells Harriers. We donate all our surplus to charity. This year we are supporting the Pickering Centre as our main charity, with The Bridge Trust and Tunbridge Wells Counselling Centre. Other local Charities we support are the TW CAB and Compaid, Any donations with your entry will be shared between the 3 headline charities. Thank you very much. For £28 (or £26 for England Athletics Affiliated Club Member) inclusive with entry fees, competitors will receive a technical fabric long sleeved running T-shirt, a bespoke medal, accurate chip timing, secure baggage facilities and entry admin fees. Below you can find details of the course, information for on the day, the prizes and trophies, last years report and the results. If you have any questions not answered in the sections below or the FAQ page, please contact us.


Half Marathon Contact

"DCIM101GOPRO"A selection of aerial photos and videos from the 2015 race are available on the Tunbridge Wells Harriers photo site at, made possible by the kind participation of Blayne Jackson at X-Cell Aerial Surveys