The highlight of many a local runner’s year is the Tewkesbury Half Marathon. This year, like last year, it was backed by local engineering firm MOOG, coupled with the relief that the current organisers are, in fact, organized.
Tewkesbury Running Club marked the occasion by having several first time half marathoners starting in addition to the more experienced campaigners. From around half a dozen truly outstanding performances it’s hazy to pick out the best of the best. That said, watching some of the pained faces passing the 13 mile mark, they all truly deserve their finely cut finisher’s medals.
Leading the club around the course was John Gundy. His 1:24 PB was one of his most developed performances as he was able to hold a consistent pace for the whole route to take 3 minutes off his previous best time. John finished 17th overall and inside the top ten in the V40 category.
The club’s best girl on the course was Natalie Jenks – and by some margin too. The talented and hard-working runner fed off the local support to shave precious seconds off her PB too and reset her target to 1:41.
Gary Pavey was less than a minute in front of Natalie as he smashed 7 minutes from his 2015 time!
Finishing a minute or two ahead of Gary came the tussling pair of Nick Matthews and Paul Mason. Nick has been fine competition this year and had to call on his depleted glycogen stores to hold on to Paul’s finishing surge. Paul managed to get a V50 top ten placing while Nick was delighted to break the 100 minute mark with 1:39.
Theirs wasn’t the only TRC tussle along the 13.1 course, far from it in fact. Simon Osborne, who we know only took up running from a hockey and cycling background last Christmas, found himself ahead of another half marathon virgin in the shape of Alec Vincent; not for the first time this year the two huffed and puffed side by side. Alec ran over the finish line looking fairly fresh a minute ahead of Simon who was in a world of pain. In fairness to Simon, he was carrying a niggle before the race and had to undertrain. I think he enjoyed it intensely and was rewarded with excellent chip time of 1:37:05
Jon Mansfield didn’t want to miss-out on the finisher’s technical tee shirt and desirable medal and ran around in 1:25 and also squeezed inside the V40 top ten.
New member Paul Farrington made himself known as the third TRC runner to finish. His time of 1:33 was somewhat expected but no less impressive. Paul is built like a runner with Kenyan style legs and a flowing technique. Expect to see more of Paul over the summer.
Jamie Russell has found tremendous form; regardless of his focus switching to cycling (he also tried his first Triathlon), his running is on the up. A strong 1:43 half marathon performance is a new PB for the MOOG engineer.
Fellow team MOOG runners Graham Spaull and Geoff Carson both worked hard to earn their medals.
The sun was sending heat down and later part of the race was hindered by it. Graham timed 1:58 while Geoff, who has been managing a lower limb strain timed 2:42
Club Captain Roy Northcott ran strongly over the later stages, no guessing his strength from the numerous spring marathons he has completed. But his 1:48 is several minutes off his best.
Sharon Peters ran THM just a week after running in the Hereford equivalent and found the lanes up from Kinsham, Kemerton and down to Bredon testing and was truly glad to see Tewkesbury Abbey come into view near the 13 mile banner.
Aled Leaver was in Simon’s world of pain as he too ran his first 13.1 mile race. Aled was dodging injuries right up until the day – a sore pair of shins the week before curtailed his regular training session. By the 10 mile point his smile had become a grimace and just finishing was his goal for the day. 1:53 is very creditable.
Elaine Vincent ran in very closely with Carly Merriman; Elaine was jubilant with her sub2 and Carly also cut deeply into 2 hours with 1:56 with the sun beating down. They both very nearly recorded PBs.
Jude Rodrigues ran a sound race and although impressed with 1:58, he is yet to find his 2012 form which put 1:52 to his name. However, Jude did team-up successfully firstly with Elaine, and then later with Clare Edwards who has found her fitness bug again. Her best is 1:52 too though there’s no question how happy she was to finish in such fine fettle.
New member Julie Symonds had the company of London marathon hero John Tharme for almost 2hrs. They appeared to be running within their comfort zones though on closer inspection, John has never run under 2 hours before – over 2 hours three or four times but never as swift as 1:59! It’s turning into a vintage year for John.
Ben Reid ran but I'm not certain of his time however, wonderful to know he's back to fitness.
And finally and certainly in his comfort zone, Wes Reid soaked up the big race atmosphere in style.
The support from fellow runners family and friends was the most impressive to date. It was fabulous to see the Cameron’s and the Cowley’s waving their arms around at the key junctions at Kinsham and Kemerton respectively. Several supporters were along the course (re)cycling encouragement and there were pockets of excited supports moving their way from point to point and screaming at the top of their voices – Grannies, Grandads, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons & daughters. Great support, thank you from the runners – we did it for you!