Not all cross country races are about long suffering slogs along mud infested trails or through flooded fields - every now and then they can be slightly easier going. That said, running on uneven surfaces always poses a challenge as a quintet of Tewkesbury Running Club members found out last Saturday at Plock Court in Gloucester in the Severn AC 4K Cross Country Race.
Leading the charge for Tewkesbury was Jon Mansfield who took to the three lap course with great enthusiasm, marking his return to cross country running after a short absence. It soon became apparent though that his more experienced opponents would provide a stern test of Jon's cross country credentials. Facing some stiff competition he soon found the going a little tricky and was forced to battle hard to keep up with the leading contenders.
Although mostly flat the course did provide a couple of nasty surprises including a boggy section which didn't help matters - especially for Jon who was finding the quick pace increasingly difficult to stay with. The Tewkesbury RC stalwart had to dig deep into his reservoir of talent and with steely determination managed to hold on to a credible 7th place in 15:47.
Fresh from her medaling performance at the County Road Relays, Jane Sauer showed further proof that she is a competitor not to be "medaled with" as she continued her winning ways collecting the top gong in the LV40 category. Jane ran a strong race to finish just outside the top 3 female positions in 18:07. She definitely is one to watch in Tewkesbury colours over the next few months.
Phil Howells continued to amaze all as he left the road to recovery for a short while and replaced it with the field to forge forward. The veteran runner showed all his guile and grit to claim second spot in the MV65 group in a workmanlike 22:36.
Heavily tanned Mike Ward made a return to running with his second race in a day (having competed in the Gloucester Kingsway Park Run mere hours before). Spending the last few weeks sunning himself aboard a cruise ship whilst sailing around the world has taken it's toll on Mike who sadly admitted that there wasn't enough room on the boat to run and was forced to spend much of his time topping up the tan instead. But you can't keep a good man down and Mike walked off with yet another Tewkesbury RC medal coming tops in his age category.
Finally, the club's XC Secretary Wes Reid continued his build up to this year's London Marathon with a steady run at the rear of the field. Having just ran the 9 mile stretch of the A38 from Tewkesbury to Gloucester to be at the race, Wes was just pleased to be at the event at all. He was even more pleased to receive a lift home afterwards...
This was the penultimate event in the unofficial club Winter Off-Road Series with only this weekend's park runs remaining. Amazingly the "Lord and Lady of the Land" titles are still up for grabs before the prize giving at the Bushley Mile on Easter Monday.
So why not clean off those trainers and head down to the Vineyards this Saturday for the Easter Tewkesbury Park Run. The action kicks off at 9am and takes in four fun filled laps all in the shadow of the beautiful Tewkesbury Abbey with refreshments available afterwards in the Rugby Club - the perfect way to finish the Winter Off-Road Series and start the Easter hols!
See you there!
Tewkesbury RC Cross Country Secretary