The racing year kicked-off impressively for Tewkesbury Running Club. As always, the Linda Franks 5 is the first event in the Gloucestershire county series and also the first in the club’s championship. And quite rightly so, it’s a gentle first step after the festive period and for most, after a period of off-road challenges.
The LF5 can be traced back years and Tewkesbury have always been involved, even before it grew to five miles. The organizing club excel with the event offering dense marshalling, accommodation and event refreshments of a very high standard.
There was little they could do about the weather, though thankfully it wasn’t frosty and patched with ice. A few puddles and some half-hearted rain didn’t dampen spirits. Tewkesbury’s John Gundy was full of spirit as he shot off in normal fashion and lead the race for the first several hundred yards. With 250 runners in hot pursuit, the locals looked out of their bedroom windows with disbelief. All credit to John on this occasion as he somehow hung on to the race to finish inside the top 20 and extraordinarily cut 30 minutes. He wasn’t as quick as last year but this year he had reduced his run training so he did do very well.
John was sandwiched between Jon Mansfield and Vlad Venglar. Vlad timed a personal best (PB) for the distance with 32:42 minutes. An excellent performance from Vlad after several months of devoted training.
Alec Vincent claimed a PB with a fine 33:08. An impressive show of running by Alec who has been unfortunate with injuries, illness and trips across the world last year. It was a more comfortable distance for Alec as he looked composed during the later stages (he normally looks distressed).
Also looking composed was Natalie Jenks. Natalie had found herself up against arguably one of the area’s most determined athletes, Natasha Dent. It was an incredible performance by both as Natalie held off a late attack with a style of running so smooth that you could balance a cup of tea on her head. Both girls PB’d and Nat’s time of 34:45 placed her 2nd in the FV35 category.
There was no stopping Suzanne Tharme and there were no cups of tea either, Suzanne certainly knows how to lay it down. Fresh from winning a recent Parkrun in her familiar pink tutu, she clocked an impressive time by finishing in a flurry. A fine 2nd place in her category as she timed 37:17, her best time in a five mile race.
Elaine Vincent came storming across the finish line. Keen to beat her 43 minute time from 2016, she smashed it. Her sub 39 was even better than her great performance in the Guy Fawkes Five last autumn.
Paul Booth returned from an injury scare just in time for the race. His respectable 39:31 was only a few seconds back from his 2016 time on the same course.
It looks like Kerri Spry cut 22 seconds off her PB. Her 40:07 has brought her down to the very edge of the 40 minute mark. Kerri’s running looked effortless over the final several hundred meters – as those around her were grunting and groaning with arms flailing, Kerri in contrast could well have been balancing a glass of Italian champagne on her head.
In her first 5m race for nearly seven years Linda Younger returned with style. By her own admission, Linda has spent many hours cycling and only really dabbled in her run training. Her 40 minute run secured a delightful 1st in her category and puts her in pole position in the county series.
New member David Aguirre impressed on his first event for the club. Given the number one race number (normally reserved for the previous winner or race favorite), he handled the pressure with ease and flowed along the technical course with reasonable comfort.
Bettering his time from 2015, John Tharme showed his early season form well and Michael Younger ran an assured five miles as he returns from recent injury setbacks.
Sheena Moseley upped her game ready for an exciting 2017. The improving Summer Handicap series winner impressed with 45:01 – oh just that 2 seconds away!
Wes Reid crossed the line in 46:10. He had a couple of stops along the way which ultimately prevented him from challenging his PB. Wes is in good form but has some minor preparation issues that need ‘dressing’.
With Barcelona 1/2m firmly in her sights, Samantha Robinson ran more to her potential. Sam’s sub 50 time was hard earned and she does look like ‘one to watch’ this year as she looks to impress.
Mike Ward swept the V75+ category in just under 52 minutes. An incredible effort by our 80+ runner and his result will probably be one of the quickest in Britain this year for his age group.
Position M/F Cat Time
7 7 MV45/01 29:05 Jon MANSFIELD
17 16 MV45/04 29:59 John GUNDY
38 33 MV40/09 32:42 Vlad VENGLAR
45 39 MV45/08 33:08 Alec VINCENT
61 8 LV35/02 34:45 Natalie JENKS
94 20 LV50/02 37:17 Suzanne THARME
120 30 LV45/07 38:44 Elaine VINCENT
133 98 MV45/18 39:31 Paul BOOTH
142 40 LV45/10 40:07 Kerri SPRY
149 46 LV55/01 40:23 Linda YOUNGER
150 104 MV50/11 40:50 David AGUIRRE
156 105 MV50/12 41:16 John THARME
162 109 MV65/05 42:11 Michael YOUNGER
185 67 LV45/16 45:01 Sheena MOSELEY
191 120 SM/32 46:10 Wes REID
216 89 LV50/18 49:53 Samantha ROBINSON
223 129 MV75+/01 51:56 Mike WARD