On Sunday the Harriers had the 3rd edition of the Hastings to Tunbridge Wells run. About 30 of us met in Tunbridge Wells and boarded a coach at 8 am to drive down to Hastings. The first train doesn’t leave until after 9:15, so hiring a coach is the only way to manage this! The run started at 9:00 at Hastings Train Station. The route is almost entirely off-road, but shadows the railway line, stopping at Battle, Robertsbridge, Stonegate and Wadhurst stations. This allows runners to choose how far they want to run, as they can stop at any station and then take a train back to Tunbridge Wells. The event is basically unsupported, although a few generous club members were out in their cars, meeting us at train stations with fresh water and encouragement.
Last year I ran the entire route, setting a new personal record for longest run (40 miles in 8 hours). This year my aim was to complete the route, but a little faster. It is not a race, but I’m training for Stour Valley Path 100, and wanted to run more and walk less and reduce my time if possible. However it is also a social event, and I did want to run with a group rather than make it a solo effort, so I was hoping to find a few of the club’s faster marathon runners would be taking part.
We set off along the coastal path, and soon Ed, Pete and I had established a lead over the rest, as we started to make our way inland and up a few hills to Battle Abbey. At the station we topped up with water and cake, and then set off towards Roberstbridge as the second group of runners arrived.
We only got lost once, following an inviting track down a hill, and not paying attention to Derek’s clearly written warning “DO NOT TAKE VAGUE GRASS TRACK TO R”. My fault for racing ahead to take some photos!
After this minor detour we got back on track, but had now been caught by the second group, so made our way together passed Mountfield and on to Roberstbridge.
At this point I had a last minute change of plan. We had been offered a second-hand treadmill, and had collected it on Saturday afternoon. However fitting it through the front door proved too challenging and it had to spend the night on the pavement. My wife was going to try and find instructions on the Internet for taking it apart, or negotiate with the neighbours to take their fence down so we could get it into the house, and phone me if she had any success.
It was a very hot day, and my hay fever was particularly bad, not helped by the stinging nettles and brambles scratching my legs to bits, so I was somewhat relieved when I received a text saying she had found instructions to fold it flat, and please be home by 2pm.
I arrived at Roberstbridge Station at 12:45 to learn there was a Tunbridge Wells train leaving in 5 minutes, and decided to drop out at that point, so I could get home and move the treadmill… and have a very welcome cold beer!
- Day 30: 20 miles in 3:30
- June Total: 228 miles