parkrun tourists get a taste of our hills! by Anne-france Rix

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun – 26th April 2014

Despite a grey and drizzly start to the day, Tunbridge Wells dragged itself out of bed to put on a sterling effort at its inaugural parkrun!

As with all parkruns, there was a friendly and excited buzz from the 179 runners and 18 volunteers, as they lined up to be part of what is sure to become an established community event in our town. 

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We welcomed many local and regional running clubs who came to show their support as runners or volunteers, including my local club - “Sarah’s Runners” in Tunbridge Wells, and parkrun tourists from Tonbridge, Whitstable, Bromley, the ‘Orpington Road Runners’, and ‘Meopham & Malling Ladies Joggers’.


Some of the Orpington Road Runners: Harrison, Annette, Caroline, Kevin & Rupert.

Visit for info on the ‘Orpington High Elms 10k’ on Sunday 15th June 2014!


Whitstable parkrunners: Shirley Pullen, Karen Hoult, Andy Phillips & Anthony Ansell.

It was great to see Richard and friends in their red ‘CPRC on tour’ t-shirts from ‘Chineham Park Running Club’ in Basingstoke (pictured below). They are aiming to complete 50 different parkruns by parkrun’s 10th anniversary in October!


parkrun is also about families having fun, getting fit and achieving goals together. A special mention goes to Alex (6yrs) & mum Manuela Alfagene, with Jamie (11yrs) and Jake (8yrs) & mum Ros Tucker, all from Paddock Wood. It was the boys’ first ever parkrun, and Jake completed it despite having had pneumonia twice not that long ago!

Ros and Manuela are delighted their boys are following in their footsteps by getting into running, and are themselves setting a great example - as these two mums have gone from “0 to 60” in just over 1 year – from hardly being able to run for long, when they joined the ‘Meopham & Malling Ladies Joggers’, to completing the Paddock Wood half marathon last month!


Jamie, Ros, Jake, Alex & Manuela from Paddock Wood.


Sarah & Anna (8 yrs) Barker from Tunbridge Wells (Sarah’s Runners club).


Johnathon & Felix McArdle-Hodge from Tunbridge Wells.


Gary & Dylan Manser – on their first ever parkrun!

There is a lot to look at on your parkrun, to take your mind off your aching muscles! The course is a scenic mix of well-kept tarmac, meadow and field trails, undulating around the 6 acre boating lake full of graceful swans and honking geese, and through pretty landscaped gardens, trees, marshes, fountains, grecian temple, sculptures, and many other features in this Grade II Heritage Historic Park, which has not changed much since the 1850’s. The tea pavilion awaits you at the finish line, to reward you with refreshment and a lovely view over the course as you enjoy a well-deserved rest.

I’ve always been impressed watching the speed of the first few finishers crossing the line at Tonbridge parkrun, but am even more sympathetic when the finishing stretch involves the killer hill at Dunorlan park!





Many more photos from the day, by our volunteer - Darren Matthews, will be uploaded soon to the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun event page:

Well done to all 179 of our runners at the inaugural run and especially to the 55 runners who attended a parkrun event for their very first time – we look forward to welcoming you all back soon! 

Will Levett of Tunbridge Wells Harriers was the first male finisher, although he forgot his barcode!


Nicole Taylor of Tonbridge Athletic Club was the first female finisher.


And of course thanks go to our many volunteers, including Joe Watts (Event Director) and Jacky Macdonald (Kent Ambassador for parkrun) (pictured below), for making this weekly event happen, and to run smoothly.



Mike Hughes (finish token support) & Judy Guest (barcode scanning)


Jane Fentiman (barcode scanning), Steve Barnfield (back-up timekeeper) & Claire Lawrence (timekeeper)

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