Gold Rush Relays
The annual Gloucestershire Road Relays were a tremendous success for Tewkesbury Running Club!
It was the girls who stole the show with an unprecedented gold medal haul taking both the major titles – the Female Open and the Female Vets.
The Vets in particular were incredible by winning the event outright over a strong Gloucester AC team: Fran Osboure ran the first leg in 18:32 to tag Amanda Martin in second place. Amanda had to work hard to claw back the leader before Sharon Peters launched herself into a fierce final leg. Neck and neck for most of the course, Sharon found the acceleration to pull clear of pre-race favorites Gloucester AC over the last 50 meters – considering Sharon ran an ‘interval session’ several hours before, she really worked her socks off. The three new county champions all deserve credits as none of them were 100% fit on the day.
Likewise our ‘Female Open’ team were asked a lot of; Jane Harris recovering from a twisted ankle, Jane Sauer recovering from child-birth five months ago and Natalie Jenks, arguably the hardest worker having been struck down with Pleurisy. The village lane course was well-laid for spectators and wholly undulating with two considerable climbs near to the start and nearing the finish. Jane Harris had Fran to chase on the first leg and kept the gap down to just six seconds before passing onto Jane Sauer – Jane was moved up from the B Team after showing potential in the previous evening’s ‘interval session’. Natalie’s lungs were put to the test and she impressed with a very much solo run in 19:48. The county record books also have these three as the 2016 champions. Well done all.
The girls B Team featured an interesting combination: Ever-present Karen Maber ran the first leg and despite tearing around a 9am Parkrun, she ran an impressive 20:28. Karen left nothing behind as she flew into the changeover zone to tag Caroline Mansfield. Caroline gave birth three months ago and has ran three times (including this) over the last 14 months, for her, it was simply taking part and managing to make it back for the final leg runner Teresa Roberts – again, Teresa had a woe from a previous experience, this being a 12 mile run over Bredon Hill.
The weather was perfect, the rain the night before had dried and the sun had appeared to cast long afternoon shadows. The Tewkesbury men were certainly in the women’s shadows in the rural village of Elmore.
Our A Team featured our strongest four runners this year and despite their best efforts, narrowly missed-out on gold. Silver it was to be for Jon Mansfield, Ed Hardy, Russell Steele and John Gundy. John Gundy especially dug deep as he was in a similar ‘Sharon situation’ at the front with Glos AC – John was put to the test by a known sprint finish specialist and lost-out by just a few yards. A valiant and commendable effort by John and it clearly showed for some time after the event while his body was in a state of commotion. Jon Mansfield was a shadow of his former self – he too was involved in giving birth three months ago. Great to see Ed in race mode after months in the training wilderness while Russell nursed a foot niggle sufficiently enough to time 16:33.
The B Team started-off with Simon Osborne and that meant another head-to-head with Mrs Osborne. Simon ran bravely to overcome a list of pre-declared niggles to lead Fran by over 30 seconds. Michael Jackson made his first race appearance of 2016 and impressed over the undulating course – Jacko is focusing on other sports this year so it was a bonus to have him race. Alec Vincent and Gary Pavey made up the B Team, both lads becoming regular on the race scene this year. Alec ran his normal strong race and Gary pulled-out another fine run on the back of his excellent Bourton 10km.
The Men’s C Team was filled with two late additions; Jay Russell ran an impressive 19.10 and Wes Reid smoothly ran 23:30. Racing regular Paul Booth timed 19:36 as he continues to improve but by far the most astounding runner in the C Team was Paul Douglas – Paul ran the first leg for the team in 16.42!
Our Male Vet 50 was sharp, three runners all in relatively good form but on the day their competition was even better. Without question, it was a surprise to see them outside of the medals and in fairness to Andy Talbot, Kevin Pottinger, and Steve Maber, they all ran really good times but the talent in the 50+ age category in Gloucestershire is frightening.