This year’s Bourton-on-the Water 10k was as exciting as always. Thoroughly well supported from all walks of life, the race was a sell-out with places still changing hands minutes before the start! Tewkesbury had 13 runners standing on the start line and the pre-race atmosphere was tense with tomfoolery in short supply.
For the first time the race lined-up Amanda Martin, Jane Sauer and Natalie Jenks – three girls of a good 10km standard with Amanda recording a few sub 40s on her CV, Jane overflowing with exuberance and Natalie totally focused on the day and not excepting any slip-ups. The three girls were so tightly matched, no one could predict the outcome. As it unfolded, Jane escaped the net from the start and the two others, accompanied by Gary Duxbury who was sparring again with Amanda, chased Jane for every step. Jane did somehow hold on to the lead but by her own admission was expecting Nat to flyby over the final mile. Jane clocked a long-awaited 10k personal best (PB) of 43:38. Gary closely followed in 43:44, a best time for the off-road specialist and a creditable 6th V60 in a competitive category. Natalie landed with 43:47 and an impressive new PB before Amanda crossed the line in 44:26 minutes to claim 3rd FV45.
If the women’s spearhead wasn’t sharp enough then the men had it sharper; defending Club Champion John Gundy lead Ed Hardy and Jon Mansfield around the first lap of the village. If that wasn’t enough pressure for John then he only had to look back a little further to see Mark Parker. John lead for the first kilometer before the pair of Ed and Jon moved through. Covering the first three miles in 17 minutes and feeling fairly efficient Ed had the aplomb to look over to Jon and yell “come on Jon” before squeezing more pace on. Ed went on to PB in an impressive 36:08. Jon trailed in 36:38 while John Gundy timed 38:20 – not too bad considering he has been beset by a foot niggle.
Mark Parker impressed; he’s been a little under the weather after Cathy left him out in the cold. Mark’s form indicated that the big 4-0 should be attacked and he gave it his best shot to record 40:07. Agonizingly close however, it leaves him with a new PB and a nice target for further events.
Mark Gardiner, in is second race for Tewkesbury, is still finding the pace. His 42:11 is impressive and 15 seconds in front of late entrant Steve Maber who took those tumbles in the River Swilgate just last Saturday.
Michael Jackson made a return to road racing with a respectable 45:31 while Michael Ward ran 62 minutes in the V65 category even though he’s in his 80’s. Mike’s performance will probably be one of the top ten in Britain for his V80 group.
Finally, a PB for second-claim Tewkesbury runner Charlotte Deacon with 51:45 – nicely poised for her next 10km.
Running amongst the masses were several people of note, namely former four-time World Champion Ironman and record holder triathlete Chrissy Wellington – arguably the greatest mass-participation endurance athlete the world has ever known. And also running the 10k in 37 minutes, James Cracknell, the double Olympic Gold medalist and 8 times world champion rower – the later not to be confused with a fellow TRC member as Gary had done!
Photographs were mainly taken by Barry Cornelius. Some mobile phone snaps by Jamie Russell, Mrs G and the one above by Dave Gresswell.