Tonbridge Half Marathon sponsored by Porsche


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20/07/2011 at 20:32
Good Run Guide now updated!


21/07/2011 at 14:32
Thanks Andy.
10/08/2011 at 21:07
Can't wait for this one. I don't know the course (although I am only in T Wells so I will look at it soon) but it sounds perfect - challenging but interesting.

We are really lucky in this area to have so many quality half marathons - T Wells, Paddock Wood, Dartford and Hastings - and now Tonbridge. I am so pleased to see that this is being really well supported and looks like it will reach the 1,000 max entrants.
19/08/2011 at 15:20
Has anyone done a map showing the elevation changes of the course? If so could you post it?..will be my first race since may when i ran the great ocean road in oz which was a killer! Hoping its not so undulating.

Good luck everyone, see you on the start line
04/09/2011 at 16:26

As my husbands business is in Tonbridge I thought it my duty to take part in this one. I hope a few of our customers will come and cheer me on. I did Paddockwood & Bewl this year so hope I don't struggle on this one. My secret weapon is I have my trainer with me to keep me going.

Best wishes to all those taking part


14/09/2011 at 17:03

I'm having problems obtaining a sponsorship pack so that I can raise some funds for the Kent Air Ambulance. I have been waiting and waiting and have e-mailed Andy but heard nothing.

I really want to help raise some funds as the air ambulance contributed to the saving of my sisters life this year and it would be a Thank You from me and my family.

Come on I have paid my entry fee so don't let the sponsors down when someone is keen to help.


21/09/2011 at 11:55
oh no , I came on here to try and find out about the course profile, hoping it would be flat-ish and I could improve on my time for my only other Half-Marathon, in Datford in July (which was quite hilly). Sounds like its going to be just as tough. I wish races were clearly described so you could make a judgement more easily as to whether to enter. I want to improve my time, not have a tough challenge. I ran the Faversham 10k last week thinking it was flat-ish (it didn't say it wasn't) and went out fast to try and improve on my only other 10k time and paid the penalty for it. I suffered for over half the race and as a result didn't enjoy it like I should have.
Maybe some people are looking for challenges, but I am sure there are people like me who are looking for improvements in PBs and the easier the course the easier it will be to improve a PB.
I read above that someone said Paddock Wood is flat-ish, so I'll be doing that and probably not entering Dartford and Tonbridge next year (and giving Tunbridge Wells a miss if it has the killer hill somebody said above). These races aren't cheap to enter and if it just means a lot of pain, with no chance of improving your best time, it seems like a no-brainer to me.
No doubt this post will raise a lot of criticism, but I just felt it needed to be said that it is only fair to accurately describe your race up front.
21/09/2011 at 12:41
If you look on the events section of this site the profile for this race is described as undulating. I mapped the route here...

a while back so take a look as it produces the profile as well. There are a couple of short sharp hills but nothing too bad and they are all followed by down hill sections. There is nothing in this race that comes close to the hill in the Tunbridge Wells half. Take the pain now and then sign up for paddock wood next spring and it'll stand you in good stead for a big pb!
21/09/2011 at 12:43

Fraser, in all fairness, this post has been gong a while, so the info has been there. Also, the race advisor has been approachable and forthcoming when asked details.

Generally, this site has reviews on most races, and is worthwhile looking at them before making decisions, in my opinion, as it's good to hear from someone who has actually participated. Saying that, the Tonbridge half is in it's inaugural year, so the only info you would get would be from the organiser or from local people. 

I spoke to Andy through this forum as well as others, so knew what would be in-store. I also drove the course before making my decision, which was not to enter as I don't think it is right for me at this time. I am thinking about the Brighton half in February, as that is now a flattish course (there are some small hills early on, but reviews say not too bad).

The info is out there , but I do agree that if it is not what you are expecting then it is expensive.

Just out of curiosity, when did you enter ? I am assuming before you registered on this site ?

21/09/2011 at 13:11
Hi Bob and Darth,

I'm new to running this season, so still learning, and as I have found, the info can possibly be there if you dig around for it, but I'd expect to have it presented to me with the place, date and distance info.
I only registered on this web site yesterday, but had seen the race in the events section and seen it said to be undulating, which to me means not completely flat, but not hilly either. If it was one of these others it would say that instead of undulating.
You shouldn't have to go and drive it to find this out, when the organisers could have saved you the trouble quite easily by being forthcoming.
Am I being too suspicious thinking Organisers are deliberately vague so as to get a decent turnout and recoup their outlay/raise more for charity?
I don't need a hard race due to my current circumstances (recent injury=lack of training and a forthcoming trip). I know now if I try to beat my PB I will suffer for it, so do I amble around on Sunday (enjoying it but not achieving what i entered the raise to try and achieve) or drop out and waste my entry fee as its not refundable?
Maybe the hills are not as bad as TW (I don't know that hill, so cannot really tell) or Dartford, so I'll probably gamble and run it and adjust my race plan on the fly accordingly. For me though, there is a double edged sword with hills and that is I suffer nearly as much on the way down them because I have bad knees and have to take descents easy to reduce the shock on the joints, and someone described a steep drop into Leigh on this forum.
21/09/2011 at 13:44

Hi Fraser,

I agree that you shouldn't have to drive around - that was my personal choice as it is my local one and I wanted to make a decision on whether to run it or not as it is the first time it is being staged. I am not a fan of hills, and as a result of where I am in training have decided it's not for me this year.

But the 'hills' are gradual hills, nothing as drastic as T Wells.

I have always taken on board that 'undulating' means that there are likely to be hills, especially on road races. Perhaps that is just me.

The organisers have published the route, and have been forthcoming, so feel you are being a little unfair on their part.  Googlemaps and other tools can help to show total inclines etc.

I think your suspicions are unwarranted in this case

I am still struggling for distance, but if you have already done Dartford this year, I think you will be OK for this one. The hills aren't that bad, so if you take it steady you will most likely beat your previous PB

21/09/2011 at 14:06
Fraser suffering and PB's go together, once the PB gets near your limits. Good luck. My favourite runs are Petts Wood an Darent Valley which are very much like Tonbridge in profile but 10K. They are well organised run and supported by people intersted in the sport. . Left Tonbridge late maybe next year Andy - you present it well
21/09/2011 at 15:44
I've only run four times since Dartford though Bob (that was end of July - due to recuperation and injury), and only as far as 6 miles, so over double that distance is quite a challenge again in the circumstances. I even have considered dropping out even though I wouldn't get a refund. If the hills are gradual ones I might survive it though ;-p but I don't expect a PB this time without putting myself into hospital and risk jeopardising my forthcoming trip ;-p
I still have nightmares about Gore Road, Dartford ;-p and the last climb in the Faversham 10k last week hurt bad too because there was little in the tank at that point. These were hills where you couldn't run much faster than walking up them.
Once I set PBs I'm pleased with then I'll not be too fussed about improving them and won't mind undulations and hills in races, but at the moment I just want to set decent/respectable times for my age and the flatter the course the quicker the time.
Thanks for the suggestions Niall, I noticed the DV 10k in the events section for early next year...might be a good build up for the Paddock Wood HM.
21/09/2011 at 17:42

I always try to drive or cycle a course I've not done before, and in the case of Tonbridge I've also run the whole course once and bits of it of 4 other occasions. 

Its really not at all bad IMHO; a good course.  It certainly "undulates" but is no where near as bad as Dartford, Maidstone or Tun Wells - no way!  In fact for me its an ideal course with lots of fast downhill stretches that just happen to come after some uphill bits.  In all honesty, most of the up hill stretches are pretty gradual inclines. The worst one is a spike into and on the the return out of Liegh (at about 3.5 / 9.25 miles; steeper on the return. but it only goes on for less than 0.2 miles.  This will be my wife's first half after a hip replacement and she's certainly not been bothered by the hills.

I don't understand the complaining about 'undulations'. All the best runs (in my view) have some challenge in them. Reading has the run up to the town before the run back downhill to home, Bristol, Hastings, Great North, Tun Wells, Maidstone, Henley, Dartford, Thanet; the Bexhill, Buewater and Darenth 10ks; and as for Bewl 15!... they all have hills which make the race challenging, interesting and fun.

Brighton is pretty flat, but don't be fooled as there's a long gentle haul uphill from about 1.5 to 3.3 miles; its not the elevation gained but the fact it goes on and on.  If you want a really flat (and boring) half do the Bexhill one in November. Fantastic organisation but the race is basically four flat laps of the seafront.

I'm really looking forward to Tonbridge. What does a PB matter if you enjoy yourself?  Frankly I think a large part of getting a PB is in your mind.  And I think this course has the potential.

But Frazer, if you've only run 4 times since Dartford, whilst I'd not drop out, I'd certainly take it easy. Go out steady, a bit slower than normal, and just enjoy it.  If you try for a PB you'll almost certainly disappoint yourself, but if you start out steady and find you've got oomf left for the downhill stertches particularly in the second half I think you might surprise yourself. 

21/09/2011 at 21:10

Fraser, running is really not about just setting PB's, it is all about enjoying your runs, there is always someone faster, and few runners are going to be terribly impressed unless your times are really spectacularly quick, many of the runs in Kent such as Eridge or the North Downs Run are always going to be slow because they are so damned hard but that of course is part of the attraction. Why not just run this one as best you can, I am sure that the organisers will be doing their hardest to make sure that they put on a good race but there are few 'easy' races around and often you will surprise yourself at so called 'harder' races.


21/09/2011 at 21:57
Hi Fraser,

I also ran Dartford and I too still have nightmares about Gore Rd (I was reduced to walking at the top for the first time ever in a half marathon). Although I would have preferred a flatter one after Leeds and Dartford, Tonbridge is local so I really want to support it (because then we will have it every year). I have looked at the profile and I actually reckon this could be one of those undulating ones (like Hastings) where a decent time is possible.

There is a fine balance to be struck between undulating/interesting and flat/boring. I set my pb at Gosport which is pancake-flat but, frankly, was a hideous running experience (disused airfield anyone?). I have run Paddock Wood twice and, yes, it is fairly flat, but I have run badly there both times. And yet at T Wells (which I was dreading because I knew the course and the big hill very well), I ran really well.

So, the moral of the story is.... enjoy your running as the others have said. PBs will come as and when you least expect them. I too have struggled with injury since Dartford so I have no expectations for Sunday but this is actually quite refreshing - I can go out and enjoy the views.

If you do decide to run - and I hope you do - have a good one and don't expect too much from yourself. We all sometimes need to remind ourselves that simply completing a half marathon is a massive achievement in itself.

All the best.

21/09/2011 at 22:40

Very well said huff&puff and keef55.  Let's just enjoy it! 

Fraser;  If you want a flat PB course that is also interesting, run Wokingham in February.  Its a lovely course out into the country with next to no 'undulation' and good support on the way round even out in the country.  I've run it twice and PBd both times and never come within 4 mins of my Wokingham time anywhere else.  I thought I'd do as well at Brighton this year which I ran instead, but I was about 6 minutes slower (and the support at Brighton is not up to much)!  Bracknell is another good, fast and fairly flat but not boring one.

I must say I am truely impressed with the detail of the organisation that has gone into the Tonbridge Half.  I was (and still am) a bit disappointed that we're not starting and finishing in the castle (as I said at the beginning of this thread), but apart from that, for an inaugural race it so far looks like a very big "well done".  We've even masseurs laid on!  I hope they've also picked up on comments about Bewl and Bexhill and will be laying on great mounds of cake at the end! 

22/09/2011 at 09:24
I've never run a lapped race and I'd expect that would be boring, almost regardless of the scenery. Maybe for other people the views are a bonus, but I find I'm concentrating on the running and enjoying the participating in a large field race, so I don't mind what the scenery is (the Bluewater 10k was nothing scenery wise, but I still enjoyed that - although it was my first race so maybe that helped). Likewise undulations and hills maybe make a course interesting for some, but to me I don't need that, especially with my knees (the descents are worse than the ascents in fact), I don't want to come out of a race injured again.
It sounds though that Tonbridge isn't as bad as some other races, so hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised. I was thinking of taking it easy over the first couple of miles anyway if they are tough and just seeing how I feel and whether I think I am capable of getting close to my PB, if I'm not then I will take the pedal of the gas and just amble around and not punish myself needlessly.
I might have to travel further but it sounds like there are flatter races that are just as good and I have a chance of recording a fine time.
I'm not bothered about Cake, but I did notice there are goody bags here...just hope they have enough to go around not like Dartford (did you manage to get one there Keef?). I'll run Bluewater again just for the excellent goody bag and t-shirt they do there!
22/09/2011 at 22:22
No goody bag for me at Dartford. I didn't mind too much though (frankly I was relieved just to finish! ).

Interesting how some events do better than others on that side of things -eg free t-shirt at T Wells. I guess factors such as the cost of policing come into it.

BTW your approach to Sunday sounds spot-on Fraser. I am going to do something similar I think.
23/09/2011 at 10:43
I got a free t-shirt at the Faversham 10k last weekend, but it wasn't a quality one like the one I got in the Bluewater 10k, which was branded (Adidas) and wicked, so it could be used for running. As a result I am unlikely to ever wear the Faversham 10k outside the house. I figure its a good advertisement (as some people will wear the t-shirt out and about) for the charity that sponsored the event (Cystic Fibrosis) and costs next to nothing to produce.
As the Faversham 10k was in aid of Cystic Fibrosis you wouldn't want a great t-shirt and goody bag at the expense of the charity. But a big event like Bluewater 10k can attract sponsorship from Gatorade and Sweatshop so they probably pay for extravagant enticements for people to enter.
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