What is now becoming a regular festive outing for the Tewkesbury runners, the Seven Sins is a challenging race over seven miles and incorporating seven Forest of Dean hills. Based in the centre of the forest with no phone signal, no changing facilities and no running water, the runners were treated to a genuine organic course where the trickiest obstacles were left by the Wild Boar and their relentless rooting. There were also several trees down, the odd puddle and a few plods of mud (well, maybe five or six miles of mud).
This year Tewkesbury had a squad of hardy runners and all familiar with tough courses, and not for the first time in 2016, it was the girls who took the headlines; during the pre-race tension, the familiar saying “can’t be bothered” was aired (this is known as psychological deflection) but this time not by Natalie Jenks. Natalie set-out positively from the moment she left Tewkesbury and was quietly confident in her form, her ability and the footwear she donned to keep herself upright. She soon found herself trading places with one of the race favorites and after a hard fought tussle she managed to grab a place on the winner’s podium with an excellent 3rd place.
Tewkesbury’s 2nd girl came in the shape of Cathy Dudfield. Club news readers will note that Cathy has completed an incredible volume of tough off-road events this year. That said, she “really couldn’t be bothered” a couple of days before knowing she had an annoying niggle behind her knee and felt she had taken in too much Christmas food! Nevertheless, as the time drew near she was ready for action and smashed out a good run and even took nearly three minutes off last years’ time. Considering she found the later stages of the course especially slippy and she strayed off-course too, she did perform very well.
Elaine Vincent kept Cathy company for the first few miles but Cathy’s endurance later showed. However, Elaine pushed on with passion and proved again how determined she is regardless of the terrain. Elaine has had a great year running for Tewkesbury and her Seven Sins is the cherry.
The men of Tewkesbury (sounds like a naughty calendar!) were only just put in the shade. With in-form Mark Parker and Vlad Venglar backed with Stuart Dudfield, Alec Vincent and Jon Mansfield, the club had some strong athletes in action.
Jon Mansfield took the first vets prize and should thank Mark Parker for applying pressure on every climb. Mark made his mark by capturing one of the elusive 7Sins Sub60 tee shirts by cutting just under the hour – not easy when there are two terrifying water tunnels to wade through.
Vlad finished strongly though he had to count his lucky stars when his ankle twisted under him.
Alec Vincent worked very hard and found the energy to cross the line in good shape. Alec, like Elaine, accomplished what they set out and look to get their fitness ready for another impressive year with the club.
Stuart Dudfield ran a comfortable race and worked it well. After a year dotted with lower limb niggles, it’s good to see Stuart in good shape.
8th Jon Mansfield 57:10 minutes
13th Mark Parker 59:41
22nd Vlad Venglar 63:28
33rd Alec Vincent 66:14
41st Natalie Jenks 67:39
42nd Stuart Dudfield 67:04
85th Cathy Dudfield 79:35
94th Elaine Vincent 81:01
The race was a sell-out with 250 entries.