This year’s Pershore Plum Plod was hit by expected rain and left the runners facing a puddle-hopping challenge. In total contrast to the warm sunshine of 2017, this bank holiday weekend saw a display of umbrellas during the Sunday morning while the runners were in action, though the clouds cleared later and Monday’s Plum Festival fared well.
Tewkesbury Running Club had their best ever turn-out for the run with 14 runners marking the 10 am start line. The course is actually one of the flattest in the area but it is twisty and it does cover a meadow along the bank of the River Avon.
The event is organised by the Pershore Plum Plodders who are, as the crow flies, very much our neighbouring club so it was good for us make an impact. In addition, after a glowing review last year, the event was selected for our Club Championship.
As the rain moved in, the race started and headed along the High Street. The eventual race winner pulled away instantly, however Tewkesbury’s James Head tried to keep him in sight and went on to finish as a clear runner-up with a two minute gap on the chase group which mainly consisted of Tewkesbury runners:
Jon Mansfield led the chase after taking a month off with a cracked rib and he was pushed hard by the glorious Shona Crombie-Hicks.
Shona not only won the women’s category but also placed 6th overall just 4 seconds behind Jon in 5th.
The big story was developing a few more seconds behind – with Mark Gardiner starting the first 5km towards Wick at a good pace, he played a good supporting role as in-form Alec Vincent worked on his shoulder.
With Alec wearing off-road shoes, he may have benefited over the Avon meadow running to the town though it would have surely been detrimental to the other 9km on manmade surfaces – surely? Surely not as it happened as he repeated his good form displayed in Wednesday’s handicap and managed to break the 40 minute mark for the first time. His PB early in the year was surprising over an undulating Fairford course so with his ½ Ironman training since and a competitive group to challenge, he easily struck a new PB. It was a great moment when he crossed the finish line.
Both of the Youngers ran their best 10k races for 3 years as they develop their form ready for the Bucharest trip. Michael impressed the most racing tightly with Elaine Vincent who ran a determined race to record one of her, if not her best 10km performance.
Michael had reason to celebrate later as his strong running gave him an 8 second edge on the second placed V65 runner. Mike's first place is credit to his recent structured training.
Linda Younger's fine performance ended with a 2 second lead over Chris Nicholls's first run for Tewkesbury.
Pershore is a special town for Chris Duckworth for it's family connections but this year Chris wanted to ease memories of his 2017 race where the effects of an earlier accident left him running in pain with a shoulder injury. 2018 went much better for Chris; ending with his famous swift finish, he ran his second best 10k of the year behind Bourton.
Jo Chandler hit top form for the Pershore Plum course which crosses the River Avon twice; on the back of an excellent 5 mile handicap race on Wednesday, she displayed flowing form and fine pace to record another PB.
Pete Davies managed to take 4 minutes off his last 10k race, the Bugatti. Admittingly, the Gretton course has some mean undulations however, he worked fabulously with James Aubury to finish looking strong.
Also featuring at the Bugatti and appearing frequently at our training runs, Sharon Lockley took on the likeable Pershore course. Having ran in 2017, she knew what to expect. Proving to be a tidy runner, Sharon ran with a friend for a chit-chat and only got into gear towards the finish line - she still finished 4th in her category... who knows, she could have been in the winner's tent had she laid it all on the line?
Results (overall/name/time/cat/cat position)
2nd James Head 00:37:51 MV 35 2
5th Shona Crombie-Hicks 00:39:42 FV 45 1
6th Alec Vincent 00:39:46 MV 45 1
9th Mark Gardiner 00:40:06 MV 45 3
41st Chris Duckworth 00:46:01 M sen 7
78th Elaine Vincent 00:48:51 FV 45 6
79th Michael Younger 00:49:07 MV 65 1
117th Joanne Chandler 00:52:34 FV 35 9
135th Linda Younger 00:54:09 FV 55 2
136th Chris Nicholls 00:54:11 MV 35 33
153rd Sharon Lockley 00:55:21 FV 55 4
211st James Aubury 01:01:56 MV 35 37
212nd Pete Davies 01:01:57 MV 55 26