Tonbridge Half Marathon sponsored by Porsche



  • 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 image

    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

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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. 

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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! 

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hi Fraser

    I'm very local and have sussed out the route for Ton - no where near as hilly as Dartford, I agree that it is undulating rather than hilly with a couple of little spikes in it - should be a good one! 

     Brighton half is very flat save for the gradual but fairly long incline towards the marina - but its early on and what goes up must come down, so coasting back to the pier recharges the legs.  The downside is the weather - last year it was attrocious which made it quite a challenge, this year perfect and loads of people got pbs.  Bit of a gamble as in Feb.  That said - Brighton doesn't have a lot of character IMHO - not like Bewl 15 which is fantastic.  Was slower at Bewl but much preferred the whole experience, despite the challenging hills in the last third! 

     Paddock Wood is supposed to be ideal for definately going to have a go next year.

  • Cooks wrote (see)

    Hi Fraser

    I'm very local and have sussed out the route for Ton - no where near as hilly as Dartford, I agree that it is undulating rather than hilly with a couple of little spikes in it - should be a good one! 

     Brighton half is very flat save for the gradual but fairly long incline towards the marina - but its early on and what goes up must come down, so coasting back to the pier recharges the legs.  The downside is the weather - last year it was attrocious which made it quite a challenge, this year perfect and loads of people got pbs.  Bit of a gamble as in Feb.  That said - Brighton doesn't have a lot of character IMHO - not like Bewl 15 which is fantastic.  Was slower at Bewl but much preferred the whole experience, despite the challenging hills in the last third! 

     Paddock Wood is supposed to be ideal for definately going to have a go next year.


    I am thinking of Brighton as my re-introduction to half marathons, as previously had bad experiences on my only other 2 the last couple of years (Fitness in both, and course in one ). Would you say that Brighton is a good 'beginner' half, as like Fraser I am not a great lover of hills at the moment

  • Hi Bob

     IMHO Brighton would be good for getting back into hms..........although there is the risk of the weather.  It was my first ever half last year and I did struggle (basically didn't flex my pacing to allow for the weather and the 3-4 mile drag along the front into the strong wind & rain did for me).  But take 2 this year was a very easy flat run and snagged a pb by 8 plus mins.  The hill, as someone else mentioned in the thread, is about a mile or two in and last for about a mileish but is pretty gentle and gradual.  That said I'm a bit of a fan of hills and my training usually takes in undulating/hilly routes.............Worth browsing the event reviews on here - should get a better feel for the detail pretty quickly.

     Of course Paddock Wood is supposed to be flat as a pancake and being at the end of March, less risk from the weather, so if you're relatively local then maybe worth considering.......I'm going to sign up with a view to a pb attempt but I do live fairly locally to PW..............

     Which HMs did you do sir?


  • Hi Cooks,

    I am local, in Tonbridge.

    I did the 'Run to the Beat' in 2009, as my first ever run (for charity) and the 'Royal parks half' in 2010. Both were in extremely hot weather, and if I am honest, my training never took me past 8 miles, and was sporadic to say the least. The run to the beat had a horrible hill going into greenwich park( I think) and that was after about 5 miles I think - that had a big effect on me, and I strained both calf and hamstrings, but did complete !

    I managed to get similar injuries for the royal parks as well, around about 7 miles, again most likely because of lack of training.

    I decided to be a bit more comitted this year, and to try and run/train 2 or 3 times a week, with the view to getting some miles under my belt to hopefully make life easier. I have only been doing 10ks this year, with a view to mileage rather than speed, but thought that after a year, maybe I should try a hal again. (And I am in the London Marathon ballot - but highly unlikely that I will get a place)

  • Hi Bob

    It's a small world!

    Great stuff on getting around!  I tried to get into the Royal Parks HM this year but was one of the unlucky ones in the ballot.........  It sounds as if your training mileage is on the light side but if you've been doing 10ks this year (did you do Weald? Now there's a hilly one!) you've probably got a good base to build on - 3 times a week obviously better if you can fit it in..... Not sure what you do for planning training but worth looking at the BUPA plans, they do beginners, intermediate & advanced plans for 10ks through to maras and they're dead easy to follow, the half programme got me through my first half pretty well!  And plenty of time to build back up for Feb/Mar next year...........................

     Will keep my fingers crossed for you re London!

  • PS Very  sorry to see that you are a Lion! Up the Eagles!! image
  • Cooks wrote (see)
    PS Very  sorry to see that you are a Lion! Up the Eagles!! image

    I'm very sorry that I am a Lion as well at the moment !

    I am doing 4 runs a week now, and trying to be sensible with the increases, up to 16 miles/week at the moment, with 6 my longest, although that long run will be increasing over the next month.

    Got the Brighton 10k in November. Did Bedgebury trailblazers and the Great British 10 k a few months ago.

    Also ahve bedgebury and the london bupa 10k lined up for next year

    Good luck to you also, and thanks in advance for our 3 points on new years eve ! image

  • I'm in for Brighton & London 10ks too - great minds and all that.............

     As for NYE - you're most welcome image

  • thank you Cooks and Bob in advance for your 6 points each image  Paul Jewell seems to have finally  sorted out the shamblesimage

    well it was undulating wasn't it! and if you were light on training like I was, those last couple of undulating miles really hurt in the warm weather we had for it.  Still managed a PB though (by three quarters of a minute), but just missed going under 2 hours by an agonising 23 seconds.  A cooler day or more training would have made the difference, or a flatter course.

    Well run event, well looked after and great getting your medal from Dame Kelly.  Well Supported and enjoyable to have the roads to ourselves and not have to worry about traffic (although I think cyclists should also be prevented from using the roads - when your body wants you to stop and the best you can do is to keep going in automatic mode, its a nuisance to have to contend with somebody on a bike who thinks they are no trouble to anyone).  It would be great if all races had no traffic.

    Hope everybody else had a good run/positive experience.

    That's me done now until the Spring, see you at Paddock Wood possibly.

  • Andy

     I would like you commend you on a fantastic race. It was superbly organised, great testing course which had a bit of everything. Support was fantastic all around the course and goody bag impressive too, even street entertainers for the kids which i thought was a nice touch. Great to see Dame Kelly starting and handing out medals - top girl. Definitely best race I participated in for a long while, it had everything, great value for £20, rather you not increase it though image

    @Fraser -glad you did it, enjoyed and set a new pb. I think the challenges which undulating courses provide only make you a better runner, I always have a personal battle to power up the hills. I'm sure you will improve your pb several times more!

     see you next year image

  • If anyone uses MapMyRun, I've mapped the Tonbridge half route on there now:
  • @Skippy's right peg (and anybody else).

    Not the right thread, but picking up on something you've said....

    I see you've run Bedgebury Trailblazers. I've looked at that for this year but it seems inordinately expensive - £30 for a 10k - £5/mile!  They 'give' a shirt, but who needs yet another running shirt; and car parking is included, but that means if 2 of us enter and come in the same car we are effectively paying parking for 2 cars!  

    When you consider that against some of my favourites, eg: Bluewater 10k, and the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Halfs where they also throw in a shirt and car parking is free, and the Reading and Brighton Halfs where you can buy a shirt and pay for car parking, Bedgebury seems incredibly expensive. I certainly don't know another 10k that's that pice.

    If they were to reduce the price and do the same as Reading and Brighton and offer a shirt if you want to buy it and sell a car park ticket if you want one, then maybe I'd do it.

    How otherwise can you justify paying £30 for just a 10k run?  Is it really worth it for a gentle jog around woodland?  Please convince me!

  • Ouch! with you all the way on that grandadnohair, I was looking at Darent Valley 10k for £15 and thinking that was quite expensive, esp in these times of financial austerity!!
  • @Knockoff NC.

    Can well recommend the Darent Valley 10k.  No fuss, small, great people, totally friendly, well organised, and a beautiful run with a great 2 mile downhill to the finish.  And probably the most attractive medal ever, being a different local scene (in colour) each year.

    Go for it!

  • Bedgebury Trailblazer out, Darent valley in! I am a local too, or was so I expect to participating and great timing for the london taper...great little race, parking is brilliant too and free!

  • @knockoff NC and @grandadnohair :

    Yes bedgebury is a tad expensive, but I think it's because it's geered up to reduce in price if you do all 3 in the series, although it is still not that cheap. It's a nice run and I enjoyed it last year, and will be doing it again, despite the cost.

    I am also doing Darent Valley, typically because it goes through areas that I used to frequent as a kid, both through school field trips and later as a drinking teen !

    Did sevenoaks 10k a couple of weeks ago which was also a nice run - I have been told that although there is a hill through a farm(?) at Darent, it's a little easier than sevenoaks. Hope so !

    Also got Bupa 10k in London lined up and am thinking about the spartan sprint and eridge 10, as my work has entered a team into the north west tough mudder in november, so need to get stronger and better !

    Enjoy your running guys !

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