Cranbrook Town News

Runners raced to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee

By Geoffrey Hayward
Cranbrook Town News

The fun runners in Cranbrook County Park
Image by Ben Tucker

On Thursday, runners raced through the Cranbrook Country Park to celebrate the queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The turnout was excellent, and the mood was thoroughly jubilant.

The Cranbrook Running Club commemorated the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee by organising a morning of races with an afternoon of BBQ, music and ceremony.

Competitor Paul Keatley said, “I enjoyed the [day’s] festival atmosphere and camaraderie amongst the runners. I think an event focused on something such as running that all ages can engage with was a great way to celebrate the Jubilee”.

The festivities began at 9:30 am with a 2km family fun run. Families ran together, a total of 136 participants, enjoyed the sunny Jubilee weather. At the start line, near the train station, runners got given a fun warm-up organised by a fitness instructor from the local Oliver Joseph gym and Derek the Otter.

A photo of the fun run warm-up
Photo by Ewa Hayward

Dad Paul said, “I ran with my 6-year-old daughter Thea. It was good fun chasing the Otter and the children were excited by the balloon finishing line and getting a medal”.

A finish line photo with Derek the Otter
Photo by Ben Tucker

The family fun runs first female finisher was Sharna Joyce with a time of 00:12:07. The first male finisher was Barnaby Baxter, with a time of 00:10:33.

Run Director Matt Rowett said, “Seeing all those children being active outside with their families was fantastic. The very best part [of the day] was seeing all the happy faces”.

At 10 am, the Jubilee celebrations continued with a 5km race over a mixed terrain Cranbrook Country Park course, described as “an interesting mixture of off-road, gravel track and a little on the pavement” by Paul Keatley. The race had 127 competitors. Jess Courtney took first female place, with a time of 00:21:21. Ultra-marathoner Adam Tango took first male finisher, with a time of 00:17:58. Adam’s win in this race was quite remarkable.

Adam Tango crossing the finish line
Adam Tango crossing the finish line. Photo by Ben Tucker

Adam Tango said, “I had a different start to everyone else. After running with my 4-year-old daughter in the fun run, I waited for my wife to finish with our [not yet 2-year-old] toddler”. Then at a little passed 10:00 am, Adam dashed 800 meters to the 5km race’s start line. The race had started without him. Adam Tango said, “[it took me] 1.5 miles to [get to] 2nd place and 2.6 miles [before] I made it to the front”.

The 5 km race also saw two junior runners finish in the top ten.

Isaac, age 11, with a time of 00:19:29, finished 8th. Isaac said, “it was a good course. Although I did find it difficult in some of the grass sections as the grass was long, I managed to push through it”. Isaac’s a very keen runner and has finished in first place at over forty junior parkrun events. On asking Isaac, how did today’s 5km compare to running a junior parkrun, Isaac said, “It is much harder than the junior parkrun as it is much longer! [But] I think I ran well, and [I] took it much easier to start with than in a junior parkrun. I gradually increased my pace as the race went on and managed to save some energy for a sprint finish. I haven’t had my time yet, but I think it was sub 20 minutes, so I’m pleased with that on such a hot day”.

A photo of Isaac
Junior runner Isaac. Photo by Geoffrey Hayward

Noah, who came 10th, said, “I enjoyed the good feeling of the crowd. It was a bigger event [than a junior parkrun] with more people [both] running and watching. I ran with my dad behind me, coaching me on my pace.” Dad Paul added, “Noah is an excellent runner and [is] learning to pace himself over a 5km run. We recorded a time of 00:20:24, which was a tough run for me. I thought I might have to let him drop me at one point, but we stayed together to the end”. Noah has taken up running to give himself the edge on the football pitch.

A photo of Noah and Dad Paul
Junior runner Noah and Dad Paul (right). Photo by Geoffrey Hayward

At 11 pm, the Jubilee celebrations continued with a 10km race. The race had 99 competitors. The course took runners two and a half times around the Cranbrook Country Park in hot sunny weather. Ann Whittaker took first female place, with a time of 00:45:22. At the same time, Adam Tango took his second win of the day, with a time of 00:37:05.

Ann Whittaker crossing the finish line
Ann Whittaker crossing the finish line. Photo by Ben Tucker

Adam Tango said, “I found [the 10km race] a lot easier [than the 5km race as I was] starting with everyone else and not having to catch up. I followed another [runner] for the first two miles [before] taking the lead [and] going on to win [it]”.

The principal organiser of the event, Matt Rowett, said the day’s turnout was “absolutely incredible. It was great to welcome everyone to the [Cranbrook] Country Park. We’re so lucky to have it on our doorstep and share it with those visiting the town for the first time”.

A photo of Matt Rowett next to a cardboard cutout of the queen
Matt Rowett. Photo by Ben Tucker

Matt Rowett added, “I sincerely thank all the volunteers. Everyone who gave their time in preparation or on the day has been a tremendous help. One of the main comments I received from the runners was how amazing and supportive all the volunteers were. Thank you”.

A photo of all the volunteers
Photo by Ben Tucker

Matt Rowett said, “I would also like to thank Taylor Wimpey and Otter Brewery for being the event’s main sponsors”.

After all the running had finished, the racers, spectators and volunteers headed up to the Jack in the Green for a well-earned festive feeling BBQ and awards ceremony.

Paul Keatley said, “It was a great atmosphere at the Jack [in the Green]. We met with several friends who had run the Fun Run, some of whom we had not seen since before the pandemic, so it was a fantastic event for bringing together the local community”.

On asking Matt Rowett what had inspired him to put on a set of races to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, he said, “Paul, from The Jack in the Green, approached me. He wanted to put an event on to celebrate the Jubilee, their 30th birthday, and raise money for Force Cancer Charity. We had a chat about an event, and I was on board instantly”.

Matt Rowett added, “Paul and I share an ethos of providing quality events while raising as much money for charity as possible. I think we made a great team, and along with Paul and Andy from Courtney’s Cider, provided a wonderful day out”.