The Linda Franks 5 mile race has long been the first road race in the Club and County's race series and this year, more than any other year, it attracted vast fast athletes right along to the first timers. Organized by Cheltenham's Almost Athletes, the event was subjected to awful weather - it rained, it was cold and it was windy! Given these conditions, fine performances were hardly expected however, the Tewkesbury Running Club did impress...
Mark Gardiner surprised many by leading the Tewkesbury charge along the Reddings Road. Mark’s great form produced a new best time with the Cheltenham based runner only strides behind Jon Mansfield;
Jon struggled with his slowest 5 mile race in all the years that he has been running, though it may have been worse had TRC’s 2nd claim star Shona Crombie-Hicks took advantage.
Shona’s running, like her popularity in Tewkesbury, was remarkable as she fought out a hard race against some strong local girls.
Although running for BPJ, Tewkesbury based Rob Bowery held a top 10 place is a star-studied event. In top form, Rob was seconds off his PB from November’s Guy Fawkes Five.
Alec Vincent ran a decent race; although admitting some loss of form, he still ran 4 seconds faster than the 2017 event.
Miserable conditions were no concern to Tewkesbury’s leading girl Natalie Jenks as she punched a huge PB taking 79 seconds off her previous best. Over-joyed, her current form indicated something special was going to happen and with a 33 minute run, it sure did. It wasn’t form per sae that propelled Chris Duckworth and Carly Merriman – they are just becoming better and better runners.
Chris has been running longer and harder in training and his race times are getting shorter and easier. His sub 35 minute race incorporated five notable evenly paced miles. Carly Merriman has found a new level and her brave commitment with training is having a positive effect in her racing.
John Tharme embraced the conditions by breaking 40 minutes for his first time.
Jude Rodrigues is no fan of the stinging cold rain which fell, so it was remarkable that he ran his best time since his 2012 marathon year!
Mike Bryce made a rare appearance in a Club Championship event; Mike tends to pop-up between injuries, so let’s hope we see him more often.
Dave Aguirre ran a great time and has a talent for making it look easy.
Kerri Spry is targeting the Wales Marathon in late April. Her 40:15 5 mile time is aiming in the right direction. Elaine Vincent is finding her feet again having had some knock-backs in the later part of 2017.
Like many runners who were soaked to the skin, Elaine managed to see the funny side.
Suzie Tharme ran within herself and timed a respectable 38 mins.
Paul Booth started his 2018 racing calendar on the popular Hatherley circuit; he’ll be keen to improve so watch this space…
Watch out also for new girl Tonia Whitebeam. Tonia ran a fine five miles with new committee member Samantha Robinson.
Michael Ward was victorious in his V75 age category.
There was some loyal support around the course with Cathy Dudfield snapping pictures.
30:26 (mins) Jon Mansfield
30:30 Mark Gardiner
33:04 Alec Vincent
33:26 Natalie Jenks
34:43 Chris Duckworth
34:54 Mike Bryce
35:28 Carly Merriman
38:37 Suzanne Tharme
38:54 David Aguirre
39:23 John Tharme
40:15 Kerri Spry
40:43 Jude Rodrigues
42:14 Elaine Vincent
46:24 Paul Booth
48:50 Samantha Robinson
48:52 Tonia Whitebeam
53:56 Michael Ward