Snowed off….

With snow forecast for Thursday evening, Robin, our Run Director for Sat 2 February, decided to make an early morning course inspection on the Friday. Sadly, it did not take him long to decide that our event should be cancelled on safety grounds. In snowy weather it is nearly always ice that is likely to be the main threat to our event. There was a high likelihood that the hard paths near the lake would on parkrunday be covered in an unpleasant mixture of ice, compacted snow, slush and puddles. The safety of our parkrunners and volunteers is paramount at all times.

The forecast was for the temperature to remain at or just above freezing during Friday and overnight into Saturday. Rather than hang on until first thing on Saturday for only a very very small chance that the course might be safe to use it seemed better to make the call on Friday morning and so give our parkrunners and volunteers time to reschedule their parkrunday morning. Many thanks to all those who volunteered for the event.

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2018 – A Year in Review

Review by Erica Jones
Pictures by Charles Bowley, Zena Hassell and Richard Woodfield

Despite January being a rather dark and depressing month, there’s much to look forward to in 2019, especially for those of us who are able to drag ourselves out of bed and over to Dunorlan Park for 9am every Saturday morning. (Plaudits of course to those volunteers who are up even earlier to help set up the course!)

We may complain about the early start on a weekend but we all know we love parkrun, don’t we? At least, the figures indicate we do, with 2,592 people having taken part in our event in 2018. One of those, Mark Scott, is just a few events shy of his 200th at Royal Tunbridge Wells, and not far from his bottle green 250 parkrun top – the first to be earned by a current RTW participant!

Anyway, they say you can’t look to the future without understanding the past, so we’ve taken a look back at 2018 and picked out a few noteworthy moments, because who knows what new highlights 2019 will bring?

The year started rather coldly, with a few unwelcome Beast from the East related cancellations, but we’re parkrunners and wherever possible we won’t let a little cold weather stop us.

February - and the Beast from the East created opportunities for PB descents of the first hill!
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In February we were visited by a group of students from Kent College, who enjoyed the challenge of our hilly course. March saw a more sedate highlight in the form of two young children bearing a ‘Tap for Power’ banner. They may not have been taking part in the 5k, but they were very much helping the rest of us to ‘power’ around the course!

March - "Tap for Power" - a welcome, albeit temporary, new feature at the start of Heartbreak Hill!
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Volunteering stalwart/hero Judy also deserves a mention for March, as many of you wouldn’t know it but she stepped up as volunteer co-ordinator at the end of the month and later in the year volunteered at her 200th parkrun. Our helpers really do make all the difference to parkrun and we’re grateful to every one of the 178 of you who helped out in 2018.

April saw another highlight you might have missed, when a participant in a green 250 parkrun top ran the course. Christine Gibbons, chairman of parkrun Global, had popped by to try our course while visiting friends – it’s always great to meet tourists!

April - and The Beast from the East finally gives way to Spring...
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April - 4th anniversary celebrations. Run Director, Louise, backed by volunteer pacers, thanks regular volunteer Judy for another year of service
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In mid May, we started to use the alternative course. This incorporated a diversion to avoid two striking features - which had become known, graphically, as Quagmire Corner and The Shoewash. The revised route has evoked mixed reactions, with some enjoying the reduced encounters with mud while others were not so keen on the additional (relatively slight) uphill section (which is thankfully followed by a speedy downhill). Overall the route has still continued to see a high number of PBs achieved through the year. It remains to be seen how the revised course might stand up to the combined rigours of a long wet winter and lots of tramping parkrunner feet. So, we’ll have to watch this space for any further developments.

May - A revision to the course hopefully meant that scenes like this at The Shoewash have become a thing of the past!
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And here's Event Director, Joe, tackling The Shoewash - with some panache!
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Dame Kelly Holmes stopped by in June to help us celebrate 70 years of the NHS. She did a great job of inspiring the crowd but some may have missed her if they were distracted by Run Director Francis’ historic midwife get up. Top marks to him for fancy dress effort.

June - temporary midwife and Run Director, Francis, shares a joke with Dame Kelly
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Also in June, regular parkrunner Nick brought along a camera and filmed his 5k. Those of us at the more leisurely end of the timings blinked and missed him as he ran past, but it’s certainly a great way to view our event and beautifully shows off Dunorlan Park.

We got a new fastest female finisher in July, when Nicole Taylor beat the course record for women on a very hot day, achieving a time of 17.48. This may have prompted more than a few women to eye the record more closely. Could we end up with a battle for times in 2019?

In August our final finisher was much more remarkable, when Commonwealth Games judo medallist Jemima Yeats-Brown volunteered as tailwalker for the national Team parkrun event. It was great to have her join us and help emphasise that whether you run, jog or walk the taking part really is what counts.

It’s easy to forget now, but week after week through most of the summer we enjoyed warm parkrunning weather and unbroken blue skies. Many a post-parkrun sociable half hour was spent on the café balcony or relaxing on the grass near the finish funnel.

The long hot summer continues - post parkrun relaxation
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September had perhaps our most striking participants show up, when Lloyd and Suzannah brought their entire wedding party along to take part before their main event. Both wore appropriate clothing for the big day and Suzannah deserves special recognition for running 5k in a full-on wedding dress.

September - the wedding party!
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Summer gives way to autumn in lovely Dunorlan Park
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In December the other half of our duo of volunteer heroes gets a special mention because Noeline took part in her first ever parkrun when she stepped in as tailwalker at the last moment. For those of you who don’t know, Noeline is the other half of the Judy/Noeline volunteering duo, having clocked up well over 100 events as a volunteer.

Towards the end of the year a future parkrunner also entered the fold, when Run Director Louise and regular runner and volunteer, Nick, welcomed their first baby, Isabelle, into the world. Congratulations to the family!

Finally, the year ended on a high number, with Christmas Day parkrun smashing our event's previous record for participants, when 329 people came along to run, jog or walk the course before settling down to their turkey. Well done everyone!

December - Christmas parkrunners ready for action
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Christmas No 1

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Christmas Day 2018 parkrun
Event no 231

Run Report written by Judy Guest and Zena Hassell. Photos Richard Woodfield

On a beautiful crisp morning an event record for us of 329 runners, joggers, walkers, santas and herding reindeer joined in our 5k at Dunorlan Park.

The reward at the end was treats and Prosecco kindly donated by some of the runners and volunteers.

Run Director Joe Watts this week welcomed the large festive crowd, which included several tourists from Cardiff, Carlisle, Tonbridge and also from the warmer climes of Gozo and Sydney. Joe also mentioned that park runner Janet Bird (a regular at Tonbridge parkrun) had joined the unofficial 200 Club - very well done!

The path down from the cafe was slightly icy but a line of brave volunteers directed the participants around the ice. I (Judy) can personally let you know the sight of more than 300 people descending on you is not for the faint hearted! Overall, conditions underfoot included a selection box of patchy ice, puddles, squelch and mud, mud glorious mud ! It certainly adds to the challenge of RTW parkrun in the winter months. (Hooray for the days now getting longer...)

Many friends and families were there cheering everyone on but a big thank you to all 26 volunteers who gave up their time to ensure the event went smoothly. It really was a fabulous atmosphere.

By the response on social media it looks as though the Christmas parkrun was a great way to start the festive season.

"Doesn’t look like rain - dear"
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"Maybe just one more sip?"
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“Chin, chin – it’s a record attendance!"
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Peace and Goodwill to all...
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All present and correct in the finish funnel...
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Encouragement to the end...
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Pacing yourself for Christmas

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event no 230
22 December 2018

Run report by Richard Woodfield

Overhead conditions today were very pleasant - fairly mild and sunny. Underfoot, however, running conditions were certainly tough with enough slidey mud to keep even the most avid of mudlarks happy. Just six personal bests were achieved today among the 246 parkrunners.

Faceplant potential

There's a few parts on the course with considerable faceplant potential in muddy conditions. Currently, my top three are (in reverse order):

* the sharp left hand turn to go downhill after you've been along the top of the events field. My tactic is to veer slightly to the right some way before reaching the turn, thus allowing myself a very wide turning circle. (Probably not ideal if you're trying to achieve a PB - and I'm often overtaken at this point on muddy parkruns!) Today's faceplant potential 3/10

* the mini roller coaster section when the path leaves the Victoria Cross Grove area before passing through into the events field. I found that fairly manageable by keeping well to the left where the path, although very muddy, is less tilted at a slidey sort of angle! Today's faceplant potential 3.5/10.

* the U turn where, after running downhill beside the hedgerow along the last part of events field, you then turn sharp right to follow back uphill the other side of the same hedgerow. Very easy to find that, although your body obediently turns sharp right, your legs decide to carry straight on! Today's faceplant potential 7/10

Of course, the simplest way to reduce such scores to about 1/10 is to slow right down at the critical parts of the course - and, judging by the low number of PBs, that's probably what many parkrunners did today! To my mind this illustrates why it was sensible to skip having a December pacer day and to keep that situation under review for the next month or two.

Anyway, turnning from mud brown to much more festive colours like red, green and "antler brown"....

Here's a selection of festive gear on show today....
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A Happy Christmas to ALL our volunteers and parkrunners.

Today's 25 volunteers were:

Angela TYLER • Austin RUDMAN • Callum BENSON • Colin RATCLIFFE • Coral SADLER • Edward DENNETT • Emily MULLETT • Grace GOODWIN • Hannah CRAINE • Isobel WARREN • Jane FENTIMAN • John LOWDEN • Joseph WATTS • Judy GUEST • Julie CHANDLER • Laurence BUNNETT • Mark DENNISON • Molly SLOUGH • Richard WOODFIELD • Robin BARWICK • Sophia DENNETT • Steve BARNFIELD • Vicky DENNETT • Victoria MULLETT • William BENSON

 

Christmas Day parkrun in Dunorlan Park

Every year, UK 5km parkrun events are given the option of providing two additional parkrun events - one on Christmas Day and another on New Year's Day.

As with last year, we have decided to provide an additional parkrun event on Christmas Day but NOT on New Year's Day.

This decision has only been made possible thanks to the good number of people who have volunteered to help out with the running of this event on Christmas Day, so a very BIG thank you.

We invite you (and your friends and family) to join us as we celebrate Christmas in style in Dunorlan Park at the usual start time of 9am. This additional event means that we shall be offering 6 free parkrun events throughout the month of December.

Please note that the cafe will NOT be open for business on Christmas Day, however, we invite you to bring along drinks and food to share with fellow parkrunners and volunteers!

If you would like to volunteer on Christmas Day, we have roles available before (setting up the course), during (marshalling, help around the finish funnel) and after the event (collecting course markers & finish token sorting). Please e-mail our volunteer coordinator Judy at the following address: royaltunbridgewellshelpers@parkrun.com

 

Personal best pyrotechnics

Royal Tunbridge Wells
Event no 223

3 November 2018
Run report and photos by Richard Woodfield

A record November attendance of 269 parkrunners completed today's 5k on a dry, bright and cool morning. Interestingly, a number of other local parkruns also had record attendance for this month, including Tonbridge, Bedgebury, East Grinstead and Malling. The event was made possible by 25 volunteers.

The first weekend in November often finds the autumn colours in Dunorlan Park at their finest, and today was no exception...

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Preparations for the fireworks display later in the day were well in hand....

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Today, due to the firework preparations in progress on the far side of the lake, we ran the original version of the course (ie including Quagmire Corner). Whether due to this - or whether it was down to Run Director, Francis Eames, asking for pyrotechnics from the parkrunners - is unclear, but lots of parkrunners decided to to go all out for a good time. No less than 63 personal bests were achieved.

Today's volunteers were:

Amy DOBSON • Angela TYLER • Annie TAYLOR • Bethan CHANDLER • Callum BENSON • Colin RATCLIFFE • Coral SADLER • Francis EAMES • Grace GOODWIN • Hannah CRAINE • Huw JONES • Isobel WARREN • Jane FENTIMAN • Judy GUEST • Louise FITZGERALD • Marian KEEP • Mark SCOTT • Molly SLOUGH • Noeline SIMS • Oliver DAWE • Richard WOODFIELD • Robin BARWICK • Ross MARSHALL • Steve BARNFIELD • Yvonne RAPTIS

 

Raising Your Spirits

RTW parkrun
Date 27 October 2018

Run Report Writer and Photographer Zena Hassell

If you have been coffin and spluttering recently, leave the medicine bottle at home in the bathroom cabinet and head to your nearest parkrun, where a weekly alternative prescription is sure to make you feel much better. Although local G.P, Dr Acula, was unable to attend this weeks event, due to a high demand of blood doning at his late surgery, several of his patients took his advice and resurrected their bodies at Dunorlan Park. Amongst the 263 parkrunners were several high spirited individuals, interacting with no less than 16 Pace Invaders!

The Final Countdown – 16 Pace Invaders! (RW)
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While the temperature hovered just above a bone chilling 0c degrees, run Director Joe Watts welcomed parkrun tourists from Ipswich and Ireland. He also congratulated Colin Ratcliffe on engraving his 100th run onto the Milestone Club scoreboard. Congratulations also went to George Moore joining the 10 club, Penelope Dobson and Prem Konteczny joining the 50 club. Did anyone spot newcomer ‘Wonky Bear’ enjoying his 1st visit to Royal Tunbridge Wells? (More about him later...)

Bury any negative thoughts – It’s a Saturday Mourning
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Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
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Heartbreak Hill – “Better the devil you know!”
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All smiles as a pumpkin carves around the events field
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Eat healthy for strong bones and fast finish
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Back to ‘Wonky Bear’ who very much enjoyed his visit to RTW Parkrun. He is a special bear made up of recycled hi vis volunteer vests and travels around to different parkrun events! To find out more checkout RTW parkrun/Twitter and Facebook.

Wonky Bear Relaxing
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Please note that next week's parkrun (3rd November) is on as usual, however, the Pembury Road Car Park will be much busier to accommodate vehicles for the setting up of the fireworks display later that evening. It would be advisable to try and car share, cycle, jog or walk if possible.

This week 263 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 43 were first timers and 31 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 28 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 39 volunteers:

Mark SCOTT • Daniel WITT • Joseph WATTS • Jane FENTIMAN • Kelvin DESMOYERS-DAVIS • Judy GUEST • Zena HASSELL • Croz CROSWELL • Simon KEEP • Marian KEEP • Richard NASH • Alexander HOLMES • Dominic HOLMES • Charles BOWLEY • Richard WOODFIELD • Chris MULLALEY • Marianne CROKER • Francis EAMES • Amy WHITE • Noeline SIMS • Lizzy ADAM • Colin RATCLIFFE • Huw JONES • Hugh STEPHENSON • Carolyn PRICE • Erica JONES • Robin BARWICK • Bethan CHANDLER • Angela TYLER • Rose SAWYER • Juanita MCFARLIN • Jonathan HAWKER • Maisie VERNON • Gemma STILLIARD • Amy DOBSON • Molly SLOUGH • Hannah CRAINE • Grace GOODWIN • Annie TAYLOR

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by William LEVETT who recorded a time of 16:12 on 8th April 2017 (event number 149).
The female record is held by Nicole TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:48 on 21st July 2018 (event number 209).
The Age Grade course record is held by Cath WHEELER who recorded 86.98% (21:23) on 15th September 2018 (event number 216).

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,904 participants have completed 36,897 parkruns covering a total distance of 184,485 km, including 6,581 new Personal Bests.

 

The Runaway Bride and Groom

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event number 218
29th September 2018

Run Report Written by Judy Guest   Photographer Richard Woodfield 

On a very autumnal morning, Louise (and bump) quietened everyone to welcome 310 participants. It was lovely to see 49 first timers, with tourists from Bushy Park, Bromley and Dulwich.

Congratulations go this week to Julian Clements, Kate Thomson and Simon Marshall who had joined the 50 club and a big cheer to our wedding couple Lloyd Collier and Suzannah Kinsella who joined the 100 club - once they had completed their wedding parkrun.

Lloyd and Suzannah met through running, so many of their friends from Tunbridge Wells Harriers and family were there to join them running around the course, before setting off for the wedding in the afternoon.

The Wedding Group
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It was also our monthly Pacer Day. A big thank you to the pacers who helped us see 64 new Personal Bests.

Congratulations to those of you that took part in the Hospice in the Weald 10k last Sunday. It was a very wet run.

Perspiring "vicar", clad in a heavy cassock, accompanies the couple up the last hill
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Every little helps
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Today’s event was made possible by 39 volunteers including some new Duke of Edinburgh volunteers. Thank you to you all.

Mark SCOTT • Daniel WITT • Joseph WATTS • Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • Croz CROSWELL • Gloria RICHARDS • David CUNNINGHAM • Nick FITZGERALD • Gabrielle RICHARDS • Richard WOODFIELD • Coral SADLER • Matthew NEWMAN • Chris MULLALEY • Marianne CROKER • Callum BENSON • David EDWARDS • Noeline SIMS • Colin RATCLIFFE • Huw JONES • Hugh STEPHENSON • Isobel WARREN • Matthew DUBERY • Oliver DAWE • Robin BARWICK • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Bethan CHANDLER • Victoria CAGLAR • Rose SAWYER • Sophie WAIGHT • Jonathan HAWKER • Maisie VERNON • Amy DOBSON • Hannah CRAINE • Grace GOODWIN • Annie TAYLOR

Tranquil - the next few weeks should see the autumn colours at their finest
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Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by William LEVETT who recorded a time of 16:12 on 8th April 2017 (event number 149).
The female record is held by Nicole TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:48 on 21st July 2018 (event number 209).

There have been four occasions since RTW parkrun was launched that we've had over 300 parkrunners. Two of these events were in September 2018.

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,777 participants have completed 35,878 parkruns covering a total distance of 179,390 km, including 6,430 new Personal Bests.

 

The Greatest Show on Earth

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event 216
15 September 2018

Report Writer Zena Hassell. Photographs Zena Hassell and Richard Woodfield

No – not the visiting circus, but ‘parkrun’ and its worldwide weekly performances, bringing people together from all walks of life, to enjoy the outdoors and to exercise.

It’s great to be back, whether you dipped your toe into some parkrun tourism last week, went to the gym or possibly just had a lie in for a change? Our Saturday performances are now reinstated due to the departure of the ‘Vegas Circus’ with all its bright lights, showcase acts and magic now a distant memory.

Familiar faces parkrun touring at Bedgebury last week
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This week at Dunorlan Park our Ring Master was Steve Barnfield, taming all 240 runners at the pre-run briefing and informing us of parkrun tourists journeying from Basildon, Southend and Nottingham. Steve also welcomed Oliver Dawe to our Volunteer Crew. Oliver is working towards his DOE Silver award and will be volunteering for the next 26 weeks.

Hitting the jackpot this week for a milestone t-shirt were Gabriela Baguley (Volunteer 25 Club), George Altshul (Junior 10 Club), Kevin Jones and Steve Barnfield (50 Club). Very well done to you all!

‘Getting Hitched’- best of luck to visiting ‘Bride to be’ Louise in October 2018 - accompanied by Lou's Ladies!
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‘Noeline's Northern trip’ – Back on volunteer duty after completing ‘The Great North Run’ last week!
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Remember to bend and stretch before parkrun!
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Enjoying some down time...
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Royal Dunorlan Park – What’s not to love ?
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‘Goodbye’ to another sunny parkrun
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A reminder that next Saturday (22 September), is a West Kent GP practice taster day. GPs and their practice staff are invited to attend local parkruns in any capacity - walk, jog, run, volunteer, or just watch to see what goes on! The physical and mental health benefits have already been recognised, as a number of GP surgeries up and down the land are already actively prescribing a regular "dose" of parkrun for their patients!

Finally, best of luck to all competing in the Hospice in the Weald 10K next Sunday. Maybe there will be an increase in volunteers next Saturday ...?

This week 240 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 35 were first timers and 40 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 22 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 26 volunteers:

Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • Steve BARNFIELD • Karin GIANNONE • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • Zena HASSELL • Gloria RICHARDS • Nick FITZGERALD • Richard WOODFIELD • Eve DUBREUIL • Noeline SIMS • Colin RATCLIFFE • Huw JONES • Matt PARRETT • Richard HAYCOCK • Oliver DAWE • Robin BARWICK • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Jasmine PARRETT • Angela TYLER • Julie MARCHANT • Maisie VERNON • Amy DOBSON • Jessica STREETER

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by William LEVETT who recorded a time of 16:12 on 8th April 2017 (event number 149).
The female record is held by Nicole TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:48 on 21st July 2018 (event number 209).
The Age Grade course record is held by Cath WHEELER who recorded 86.98% (21:23) on 15th September 2018 (event number 216).

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,688 participants have completed 35,328 parkruns covering a total distance of 176,640 km, including 6,324 new Personal Bests.

 

Summer Souvenir Special – a parkrun summer to remember!

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun

A Souvenior Run Report for Summer 2018 assembled by Richard Woodfield
Pictures by numerous different RTW parkrunners!

The Summer of 2018 has broken a good many weather records, not least for the prolonged period of drought. Here at RTW parkrun we've benefitted, week after week, from plenty of warmth, sunshine and blue skies. At times we may even have regretted the heat as we toiled round the second lap of the course with the prospect of Heartbreak Hill lying ahead of us! Before our memories start to become a little hazy it seemed a good time to capture for posterity the remarkable summer of parkrunning. So here is a the simplest form of record. One picture from each parkrun during May, June, July and August. There's one slight gap - for Saturday 7 July. We had a cancellation then. I have cheated somewhat by including a picture taken at a 10k race down at Rye Harbour on parkruneve, ie 6 July. Did anyone go parkrun touring on 7 July and take a picture which shows the weather for that morning? If so, do let us know!

5 May - we begin our series when the leaves were only just in full bloom and The Shoe Wash and Quagmire Corner were still very much a thing! A fabulous clear sunny day, even tho we were probably thinking that one swallow doesn't make a summer...
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12 May - the sun may have been a bit elusive, but it was certainly a very bright morning - with shadows clearly visible in this pic.
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19 May - no ambiguity about the colour of that sky!
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26 May - undoubtedly a bit murky at 0900, but the sun was out brightly by the end of parkrun
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2 June - sunshine! OK, perhaps it was a somewhat hazy variety of sunshine!
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9 June - rather indeterminate weather. Warm, hazy and bright for our NHS 70th Anniversary parkrun but it would be stretching a point to describe it as sunny!
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16 June. RTW parkrun was cancelled that day so this one was taken at East Grinstead parkrun where a number of our regulars went parkrun touring
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23 June - a beautiful sunny morning according to the run report
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30 June - yet again, warm, dry and sunny according to the run report!
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7 July - bit of a cheat this one! I took this pic on parkruneve (6 July) at a 10k race at Rye Harbour on a warm, cloudless evening. RTW parkrun the following day was cancelled, but did any of our parkrunners take a pic - showing the weather - while doing a spot of parkrun tourism that day?
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14 July - yet more bright blue
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21 July - a sunny day when Zero to Hero running group came visiting
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28 July - a narrow squeak - heavy rain just a couple of hours earlier had cleared in time for another sunny parkrun
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4 August - plenty more sunshine - of a somewhat refined or subdued kind - on offer at today's parkrun.
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11 August - this sky was about as blue as Nick's running top!
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18 August - oh dear oh dear, a bit of a let down! No beating about the bush, it was a gloomy - even dingy - sort of a day
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25 August - an intense deep blue sky greeted our pacer special day on the last day of August
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That brings us up to date at the end of August. Who knows - we may yet have an Indian Summer to add to the collection.

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