Tewkesbury’s final Club Championship event took place at Croome Park. The outstanding National Trust gem played host to the popular Croome Capability Canter race; a testing off-road run around the vast grounds of the park.
Once again it was well-organized by Worcester’s Black Pear Joggers and despite the event selling-out within hours of opening for entries, Tewkesbury did capture 20 places. Of course, like many late season events, there are casualties and several of the club’s runners did have to drop-out before the day however, there were plenty more to fill the spaces.
The course is delightful to run over regardless of conditions. This year’s was the wettest of recent years and that meant the runners had to dig deep into their energy supplies sooner rather than later. Starting from the bottom of a field, the runners charged up towards the great house before meandering around more fields, the lakes, through the woods and ending with a hill top finish.It was with some surprise that Tewkesbury’s John Gundy took a strong early lead; John lead the 250+ runners for the first couple of kilometers before he eased the pace slightly and some of the chasers turned up the heat. John did however, manage to hold a place inside the top ten until the finish to ensure good value from his strong starting. Jon Mansfield was one who caught John after the 2 km marker and came in at 5th place with an off-form performance. Former Tewkesbury RC member Rob Bowery finished 3rd with his new club after relocating to Worcestershire.
John set off like a bull out of the gate!
Excuses by the nappy full as to why Jon failed to win.
Close rivals Nigel Tillott and Steve Maber tussled with each other for the numerous occasion this year. With Nigel habitually getter the better of Steve, it was joy for Steve as he finished with a 13 second cushion over Nigel. But Steve did have to take the blow of losing out in the V50 category by just 10 seconds!
Steve has the better of Nigel for the second year running at Croome Park.
Content with 3rd V50
Talented off-road runner Gary Duxbury excelled as he did the previous November by making short work of the soggy conditions. Stuart Dudfield maintained his form well and ran admirably to finish close to Gary at just 9 seconds behind – there must have been a feeling of déjà vu for these two though as they repeated their results from 2014.
Off-road running excellence by Gary.
Stu's late season form kept him on Gary's tail.
Fran Osborne was the lead lady for Tewkesbury by finishing 4th woman overall and 2nd FV45. The Club Captain Roy Northcott just crossed the line ahead of one of this year’s most improved runners, Paul Booth. Five seconds separated the two but Roy is always difficult to beat with the finish line in sight.
Fran's hard work gave her 4th overall woman - she would have prefered 3rd but so did the woman in 3rd!
Another improved run by Paul - more to come in 2016 I'm sure.
Roy was looking forward to a sprint finish!
The evergreen Carol Cowley was crowned the FV65 winner with another consistently high quality effort. Carol didn’t quite get to grips with Teresa Roberts who ran one of her best races of the year. Jay Russell made a welcome return to racing after some physiotherapy work on his leg injury; Jay ran a respectable time over the energy sapping 6.6 mile course. Mike Roberts had to be content by ending the run less than 3 minutes behind his wife Teresa.
Carol took the V65 prize.
Teresa topped the Tewkesbury efforts with a great time.
Mike was second-best in the Roberts household with Teresa in such form.
Jay happy to be back in the 'game'.
Karen Maber, Cathy Dudfield and Sam Connolly all ran a tight race with just 40 seconds between them at the end. Karen, who was the club’s “Improver of the year” in 2014 maintained her high effort rate to keep Cathy at bay, while Cathy also had competition from the improving Sam; he pulled-out all his stops on the day and ignored the alluring scenery to get down to business. Alas for Sam though as Cathy had the experience to keep Sam at bay.
Karen ends the year on a high as she makes the Club Championship podium for the second year.
Cathy had control of Sam before the hill finish.
Sam was in tune despite the wind.
Carly Merriman returned to Croome after a demanding baptism last year. Regardless of the wetter conditions and a firm wind she ran with improved style.
Carly was pleased to be back at Croome but her hair wanted to be somewhere else!
Selena Goulstone’s no stranger to tough events (especially considering what she has done this year) worked herself around the course comfortably. Late entry Wes Reid added another completed event to his 2015 Race Odyssey – a challenge to complete 100 races in one year. Wes, as always, finished in a fashion.
The tougher the better for Selena as she revels on the tough courses.
Wes making it look easy!