Race No. 3 - Wotton-under-Edge
I'm sure a few of you were nursing sore heads today after the extravagances of the club's Christmas party but spare a thought for those who were not only suffering from overindulgence but also aching limbs as a result of another testing cross country fixture.
This time the action took place in the muddy fields surrounding Katherine Lady Berkeley School down in wildest Wotton-Under-Edge. A hardy team of 9 Tewkesbury RC athletes tackled the mostly flat but boggy terrain on an overcast but mild Saturday afternoon.
First up Nigel Tillott's daughter Emma took on the Ladies under-13's category with considerable ease finishing in an impressive 8th place in just 9:42. Her decision not to swim 4km before the event obviously paying off.
Onto the main Ladies race then and Jane Sauer made a welcome return to the cross country stage - although the apparent lack of hills caused much consternation to the rapid redhead who prefers her outdoor pursuits to be much tougher than the 6km course ahead of her suggested.
However the increasingly muddier terrain, occasional slopes and the "dreaded dip" soon changed her mind as the Tewkesbury RC star initially struggled with the quick early pace. But this is one tough cookie we're talking about and Jane soon adapted to the conditions and overcame to finish in the top 30 in a pleasing 24:26.
Behind her the wily veteran Carol Cowley once again dazzled in the murky South Gloucestershire weather making light work of the heavy going. At times Carol was forced to fight her way through the hoards of runners, especially at the "dreaded dip" where she used her guile and speed to evade her fellow competitors and eventually finish in 27:17 to bag first place in the V65 category.
Onto the men and Jon Mansfield caused something of a shock to get the better of the early Winter Series pacesetter Ed Hardy. Jon's quick start immediately paid dividends as he was able to get ahead of a large pack which proved invaluable when the aforementioned dip came into view.
One of the problems of the narrow stream crossing was that there wasn't a lot of room when plunging into it's chasm, therefore causing many a jam when runners piled in and out of it. But Jon is an old head at this game and he was able to use his experience in avoiding any mishaps as he finished the 8.5km course in 33:54.
Ed wasn't about to let his position as top TRC cross country runner slip however and kept close tabs on Jon throughout the challenging race. It wasn't to be though as Ed finished mere seconds behind in 34:23, despite a strong effort from the youngster on the closing lap.
When the going gets tough Mark Parker gets going and so it proved once again as the newly crowned Club Improver of the Year fought his way around the mud to finish soon after in 35:02.
At this point the Tewkesbury runners were coming home thick and fast with Nigel Tillott ploughing through the mud with ease.
The veteran trail runner used his cunning and pace to finish well in 36.40 and see off the challenge of Vlad Venglar... or so he thought!
More of that in a while...
First though saw the impressive debut of new club member Paul Ross-Davies. Having spent some time out of the county Paul made his return to Gloucestershire running with a great showing for his new club looking very much at ease in the tough conditions. A great finish saw him home in 38:08, welcome to the club Paul!
Then after much confusion came Vlad Venglar. After closely tailing Nigel for much of the race it transpired that the Slovakian Speedster didn't realize that he had completed the required 4 laps and duly set off on lap number 5 to run 2km further than everyone else!
The confusion came after Vlad studied his watch to discover he had only run 8km when the race was billed as a 10km effort. Being an honest and upright athlete, the Beast from the East chose to carry on regardless and eventually came home in 47:25. Unlucky Vlad, at least the extra training will put you in good stead for the next cross country race!
Finally like every true military general, Wez Reid led the team from the rear to finish his second race running in under an hour in 55:10. Resplendent in a festive hat, Wez must surely be writing to Santa for a pair of spikes this year!
Many thanks once again to everyone who competed. The next race is the Cross Country Championships at Thornbury on Saturday January 7th.
8 Emma Tillott 9:42
30 Jane Sauer 24:26
73 Carol Cowley 27:17
60 Jon Mansfield 33:54
68 Ed Hardy 34:23
77 Mark Parker 35:02
103 Nigel Tillott 36:40
129 Paul Ross-Davies 38:08
182 Vlad Venglar 47:25
188 Wes Reid 55:10
Senior Men Team 15th
Senior Men Masters Team 9th