In short: Great race. In full: First thanks are due to Race Director Andy Blundell, those who took responsibility for the race, those who helped on the day and the marshals. All of these all gave up their day so that we could take part in a race.
This was the first time I've done the Tonbridge half marathon. I hope it won't be the last.
There are a few hills: my Garmin made the gross climb 138m; for those who've done other local half-marathons, this is a lot hillier than Paddock Wood, and a lot flatter than Tunbridge Wells. The weather was pretty good; pretty still, warm, not hot, but little or no sun.
The roads were closed which was a great. The course was a pleasure to run. K College is a great venue. My impression was that this race, which filled up this year a week or two in advance, could get much bigger. The course could take a lot more runners. K College seemed unstressed with the numbers. I'm not so sure about the car parking, but that seemed OK too. The race HQ is very close to Tonbridge train station, which helps. Perhaps the organisers could think about raising the entry limit a hundred or two for 2014?
The whole day was brilliant apart from the prize-giving, which was a shambles. It's a great idea to have representatives from the sponsors to present the prizes. Unfortunately too many of the prizes and trophies were either awarded initially to the wrong person, or just not awarded at all. I was talking at the end to the man who had won the MV60 trophy in just over 1:30, beating all-but-one of the V50s. A fantastic achievement, but one which went unrecognised, as the prize givers seemed not to be aware that there was a prize and trophy. The MV70 prize and trophy were also not awarded at the prize-giving ceremony. I like it when the announcer gives the times of the prize-winners too. A small point perhaps.
The chips don't seem to be as reliable as one might hope and this could cause some problems. For example the leading V50's chip did not seem to have worked, so I don't think he was awarded his prize or trophy on the day.
Overall these were two fairly minor drawbacks to a great race. The support in Leigh was fantastic! Date of review: September 28, 2013
In short: Well Organises and good route In full: As good as last year but nicer weather. Disappointed there was no goody bag and that water was in cups not bottles, makes it hard to drink. Similar races often have a t-shirt, medal and goody bag. What happenned this year?
Still got a good time considering I had just flown in 1800 miles with no sleep! Date of review: September 25, 2013
In short: After this you'll know all about "undulations" In full: Super organisation with a superb base venue. Very short queues for the loos, great atmosphere, plenty of parking as long as you're not late (in which case there's a shortish walk from a town centre car park). Lots going on around the start / finish area to keep people occupied and interested too.
The course is hard. It's all on tarmac and quickly snakes out of Tonbridge town centre into the countryside, but you have what are euphemistically called "undulations". Think "hills". None, bar one around the 18km mark, are killers, but you'll end this race knowing that Tonbridge's surrounds consist of rolling countryside. All the roads are closed, so there is no traffic to worry about, and the support along the way is pretty good, except in two places: the village of Leigh is undoubtedly the best support I have encountered on any race I've been in with a large and noisy ygathering that is truly uplifting. And what's great is that you go through twice! Then again, at the finish, even though I was just ahead of the 2:15 mark when you expect crowds to be getting bored, the support was vocal and carries you over the line. Date of review: September 25, 2013
In short: Loved it In full: A really well organised event. Lovely scenic route on closed country lanes with great support from locals and marshalls. The course is undulating particularly in the last few miles but nothing too challenging (I got a PB!). Will be back next year. Date of review: September 23, 2013
In short: A superb course and really well organised. In full: This was the second time I've run the Tonbridge Half and will definitely be back for a third. It is quite a demanding course particularly the last few miles due to the undulation but there isn't a single 'big hill' to worry about. The start/finish venue is the best, a huge College with plenty of parking or a short walk from the station. Lots of toilets and other facilities and without the best organised and secure baggage area ever. My one tiny gripe is that the water cups are hard to drink from if you want to keep your pace, but other than that a perfect race and good value. Thanks to all involved. Date of review: September 23, 2013
In short: Great organisation, lovely course, terrific support In full: It was my first time running this event but it is impossible to fault it. I kept hearing about the hills from mile 10, but the terrain was definitely undulating rather than hilly. Worth saving some energy for; not worth expending energy worrying about!
Great organisation - it ran like clockwork. Loved that they pinned the times up immediately. Wonderful encouraging marshals. And what can I say about the residents of Leigh?! Fantastic support. Thank you. And thank you to the bellringers, too. That was a lovely touch.
The fact I PB'd made a terrific day even more enjoyable.
In short: Superbly organised and friendly event In full: Well done to everyone for making this such a great event. It was the reviews from previous years which made me sign up and I'm glad I did. The first really hilly race I've done and found miles 9-12 pretty tough going and felt a great sense of achievement at the end. Great to see what seemed to be the whole village of Leigh out on the streets supporting us! Good use of K College and to have somewhere big enough to accomodate all the runners. Thanks to everybody involved in making this a great day. Date of review: September 23, 2013