GLOUCESTERSHIRE XC LEAGUE 2016/17
Race 2 - Blackbridge, Gloucester
Hi guys n' gals, sorry for the late report but just wanted to let you all know about the other big race of last weekend!
Whilst most people had an eye on the big event at Tewkesbury on Sunday morning some of the club members were focusing on a race of a different kind at the Blackbridge athletics track in Gloucester the day before.
The second race in the Glos XC League season got underway at a packed sports ground on a slightly chilly and windy day in Podsmead. Although the conditions made for another challenging event, the recent dry weather meant that the mostly flat course was still very firm under foot.
The highlight of the course next to Crypts School is the deep gorge which runners have to contend with a number of times during the race. Thankfully though the lack of mud made the challenge a little more kinder than in previous years!
First off for Tewkesbury in the juniors was Emma Tillott. Her dad Nigel once again whisked himself away from his daughter's swim training but this time bought Emma with him to compete. After an exhausting 4km swim, Emma can be very proud to finish the Under 13's Girl's race in 14th place in a time of 15:03.
Onto the Ladies then and it was the experienced Carol Cowley who looked like leading the charge for Team Tewkesbury. That was until the last minute arrival of the in-form Liz Spiers who has been blazing a trail for TRC wherever she goes.
Liz and Carol instantly set about working together to tackle the ladies' 6km course. Under Carol's watchful eye and stewardship Liz was able to build up momentum in the race to finish strongly in 32:17 with her mentor finishing shortly behind in 32:40.
Onto the men's race and 5 Tewkesbury runners took to the course eager to wage war on the cream of the counties' athletes. Despite making the starting line at the Guy Fawkes 5 mere hours later, Ed Hardy looked incredibly calm and self assured in charging round the 9km course in 32:44, making it into the top 50 finishers in the process.
With only 2 races gone it's looking increasingly likely that Ed will be in the running for the inaugural Club Winter Off-Road Series Championship come the Bushley Mile in March.
Next up saw the welcome return to cross country racing of Jon Mansfield. Jon, making his first appearance this season, was greeted by a mob of some of his adoring fans upon arriving at the venue but there was work to be done and he went about it in his usual professional manner.
Hearing that his good friend and long term rival Nigel Tillott was competing, Jon couldn't resist making a return to the cross country league. Finishing in a large group, veteran runner Jon crossed the line in 35:00 only to be cruelly denied a top 100 finish by the over zealous adjudicators. Next time Jon!
Yet it was Steve Maber who was to provide the opposition for Nigel as the two Tewkesbury stalwarts battled round the course spurring each other on. It was Steve though who came through in the end as he finished in 37:06 - carrying on where he left off last season in a bid to win the Winter Off-Road Series after his success in the unofficial competition earlier this year.
Nigel finished strongly moments later in 37:12 to end another busy day for the sporting all rounder.
Finally Team Captain and yours truly rounded things off to record a pleasing time of 51:39 - the first time I've ever finished a Glos XC League race in under an hour! It was even achieved with a wardrobe malfunction as I clumsily dropped my cap in trying to remove a layer of clothing during the race...
Many thanks to all those who turned out for the club again to make sure Tewkesbury RC stays firmly on the county scene. Thanks also to those of you who stayed on during my race to bully and cajole me around the course - your support and encouragement was very much appreciated!
The next race in the series is the Sodbury Slog which has probably just ended and the next race in the XC League is at Wotton Under Edge on Saturday December 17th. See you then!
Yours in running,
TRC Cross Country Secretary
14 Emma Tillott 15:03
78 Liz Spiers 32:17
86 Carol Cowley 32:40
49 Ed Hardy 32:44
101 Jon Mansfield 35:00
149 Steve Maber 37:06
153 Nigel Tillott 37:12
226 Wes Reid 51:39