Stroud Half Marathon
Tewkesbury had some thorough success at this year’s Stroud Half Marathon; the last of the big local road 1/2 marathons, Stroud always draws runners in with a potentially quick course and the cooler weather.
All eyes were on Mark Parker as he was on the back of two exceptional performances a few weeks earlier at Cheltenham and then Cardiff. And then a few days ago when he ripped the Wednesday night club run to shreds. This form indicated that he could crack 90 minutes. In fact, it was only Jon Mansfield who thought he may be found wanting over the later miles! Sure enough Mark laid it all down, much more than previously and finished with 7 seconds to spare and has joined the sub90 group.
Nigel Tillott switched back to tarmac for the first time in a while and discovered it easy. He found himself crossing the finish line in a pleasing time and an impressive 12th placing in his V50 category.
Jon Rawlings bounced back from a tortuous run at the Cardiff event with a fine run. Jon famously starts off strongly only to fade however, he turned it around at Stroud and even caught Alec Vincent. Though nearly 15 minutes away from his PB, it’s great to see Jon back with solid form.
Alec did start strongly and although it appeared he had been shot with a tranquilizer gun over the last mile, he had done enough to bag the second PB of the day with an excellent 1:33. A very brave performance.
Steve Maber set himself a 1:40 target as he hadn’t run trained as much as previous years so he was content was 1:38:59
Hard working Nick Matthews also came in ahead of time and knocked five minutes off his previous best on the Stroud course.
The leading ‘Queen of the Road’, Sharon Peters underlined her impending title with her best HM for a couple of years. Her 1:45 recorded her as the first TRC girl to finish. She made sure there was nothing left in Stroud with an all-out push to the line.
If Mark’s performance wasn’t a surprise then Jude Rodrigues was! Jude has always been a runner who fights to get under two hours for the 13.1 mile classic race. He’s finished outside of 2:00 hours on at least eight occasions and Jude, like all of us at Stroud, is the wrong side of 21 yrs. The Pershore based runner pulled a performance out of the bag which would get the WADA excited; Jude not only blew 2hrs but also cut inside 1:50 for the first time ever with a truly exceptional 1:48!
Likewise, Karen Likeman surprised many. She ran a controlled race keeping tabs on Cathy Dudfield. With both runners looking on for good times, Karen found a ‘second wind’ to sail through the headwind which taunted so many over the last mile or two (it later transpired that Karen had been logging some long tempo runs in preparation). Karen’s race was excellent.
To take nothing away from Cathy; she bounced back from a disappointing race in Cardiff to finish Stroud in her best time for a couple of years – and barring eight seconds, her best in six years.
Julie Symonds finished about a mile ahead of her earlier Tewkesbury Half Marathon run with a comfortable 1:52 and that’s an impressive 3 minutes swifter than her fine run in Cardiff.
Elaine Vincent and Suzanne Tharme vocally pushed each other and worked as an efficient pair to finish strongly. Elaine didn’t quite get as much training completed before the weekend and could only boast a 12 mile purposeful effort, so to find it within herself to attack the final mile, and especially the final meters, with such courage was inspiring. Suzanne hung on to the finish to see them both time 1:54 hr.
Kim Boskett crossed the finish line with a smile. The wind gathered velocity by midday and Kim had to work smartly to be sure she stayed ahead of her target time. Her 2:05 was more than pleasing and I’m sure she has plans to find another sub 2hr in 2017.
Jon Mansfield lead the Tewkesbury bunch with 1:23 – a season’s best for the fading star.
Jon Mansfield 1:23:17
Nigel Tillott 1:28:40
Mark Parker 1:29:52
Jonny Rawlings 1:33:23
Alec Vincent 1:33:47
Steve Maber 1:38:59
Nick Matthews 1:40:59
Sharon Peters 1:45:14
Jude Rodrigues 1:48:19
Karen Likeman 1:51:40
Julie Symonds 1:52:37
Cathy Dudfield 1:52:58
Suzanne Tharme 1:54:40
Elaine Vincent 1:54:43
Kim Boskett 2:05:03