Tewkesbury Running Club members brewed up a storm last weekend in the Gloucestershire Cross Country League fixture at Blackbridge, Gloucester.
A predominantly flat course was made all the more tougher by strong headwinds which threatened to blow Tewkesbury's runners off course. If that wasn't enough there were also steep banks, muddy inclines and a monstrous gulley to contend with but as usual the Tewkesbury contingent brushed it all aside to record some pleasing results.
The performance of the day belonged to two TRC debutants, Mike Bryce and Ben Lewis, competing in their very first cross country event. The rookies didn't let their inexperience show however as they took to the course with aplomb. Battling the strong winds and a highly competitive field, the two runners looked like seasoned pro's as they ran the 9km route almost in unison with Mike leading his rival for the entire race. With only a lap to go he held off a late surge by Ben to eventually claim the bragging rights in TRC colours.
At the other end of the men's race the much more experienced Phil Howells battled with new TRC Cross Country supremo Wes Reid for the other 2 places. Wes started off strongly, managing to hold off Phil's challenge until the halfway stage where the veteran stepped up the pace. Wes was unable to hang on to Phil's coat tails and started to tire towards the end - probably as a result of competing in Tewkesbury Park Run only hours earlier. He managed to keep going however to record race number 94 in his quest to run in 100 races in a year.
Phillip made a welcome return to shorter, 'sweeter' XC racing
XC Captain Wes is pulling the club back into the XC fray.
In the women's race the dynamic duo of Carol Cowley and Karen Maber were back in TRC colours for the second time this season having been the sole TRC female entrants at the Cotswold Farm Park race earlier this year. True to form Carol tackled the 5km course with relative ease showing her fellow competitors a clean pair of heels - which was quite a feat with all the mud around. The wily runner galloped around the course making the treacherous gulley look ridiculously easy as others faltered on its slippery slopes. Karen arrived at the event early, no doubt to check out the competition and to inspect the course. It was obvious she had studied the form well as her fine efforts resulted in a pleasing performance. Running a calculated race, she finished not too far behind Carol keeping the cross country veteran in her sights for the majority of the course and her gallant efforts were rewarded as she romped home a couple of minutes later.
Carol got the better of comitted Karen this time around.
55th Carol Cowley 36:20 (1st in LV65 category)
73rd Karen Maber 38:28
94th Mike Bryce 43:26
97th Ben Lewis 44:10
165th Phil Howells 60:10
167th Wes Reid 67:45
Many thanks to all those who attended including Carol's husband Richard who cheered on from the sidelines.
The cross country section of the club is slowly growing with two new runners recording great results and the feedback I received is that they enjoyed it enormously.
The next race is the Gloucestershire Cross Country Championships 2016 at Coleford in the Forest of Dean on Saturday January 9th.
More details to come... Yours in running Wez