Cheltenham Half Marathon
Love it or hate it, the Cheltenham Half Marathon is the biggest race in the county. Recently, it’s been well organized and the 2018 instalment was a success for the team behind it with quality facilities, plentiful parking and road closures lined with some excellent support – even when the final 2 miles entered Prestbury Park Racecourse, the support was uplifting with Steel drums and a fully-fledged brass band.
The club had as many as 25 runners taking part in the 13.1 mile route through the iconic parts of Cheltenham including the Promenade, Montpellier, the Pump-room and past the excellent Pittville children’s play area.
The lead runner for Tewkesbury was the flowing James Head who placed in the top 40 in a highly competitive field. James was feeling apprehensive on the start line as he thought that he hadn’t been running much of late until he was reminded that he has been running 70 mile weeks on Strava. James’ 82 minute run is great form as he looks to challenge his PB quite soon.
The lead girl for Tewkesbury was Caroline Mansfield as she improved on her earlier 2018 Tewks Half-marathon time by 3 minutes and was very happy with 1:45 hr.
Further successes came from those who recorded personal best times (PBs); quite astonishingly, Chris Duckworth made the biggest smash and for those who can recall how he crashed in the 2017 event, this year he came back 29 minutes quicker and thus taken 18 minutes off his PB and manged to get under the desirable 100 minute mark. Chris has been training well this summer and had focused on the Stroud 1/2m and this CHM was planned as a training run for Stroud. However, now the 1:40 hr has been cracked he will be certainly focused on a tighter time next month.
Noel Green smashed the 100 minute mark too. Even with months of achilles pain, he excelled.
The runners from the recent Budapest half-marathon trip all excelled; Laura Kent was masterful and steered herself to a dream sub 2:20 with 2:18 hr. Laura impressed in the Hungary heat and her performance there set her nicely for a big show in Gloucestershire.
Dave Aguirre suffered in Hungary and couldn’t get near his fine 1:51 hr from back in May 2018. However, Dave clicked into form and had a dream run in his familiar town with 1:45 hr – a great time.
Sam Robinson, John Tharme, Sheena Moseley and Cameron Pay danced all over their earlier results from May’s Tewkesbury Half; the quartet were outstanding in Cheltenham with Cam and John both working well to cut under 2 hours while Sam and Sheena sliced huge chunks from their respectable runs in May.
Pete Davies didn’t quite crack his 2:26 from back in May however, it was still a successful run for him. Likewise, Tracy Tailford was consistent with her 2017 run in the Spa town. Chris Nicholls was running fairly comfortably until his ankle became a pain. He soldiered on but he has a tight schedule to be fit for next week’s Cardiff Half-marathon.
Also to feature in Cardiff is Cathy Dudfield. Cathy said she would “take that” with her 1:48 finish in Cheltenham – though having run 5 minutes quicker than she did in May over her home course then she should ‘take that and party’.
Stuart Dudfield ran the same pace and looked comfortable and should be ready to lay some good pace down in Wales.
Busy bee Jenny Gardiner ran a fine 13.1 race without too much difficulty as she stayed close to Kerri Spry.
Kerri managed a healthy few minutes quicker than she did in 2017 which gives her welcome satisfaction that her fitness is in a good place. Natalie Jenks ran within talking distance of the pair, although Natalie won at Parkrun 24 hours earlier and just ran the distance to compliment her training for SHM.
Suzie Tharme bounced back from a couple of unlucky non-running injuries over the recent weeks and ran a customary elegant race in a satisfying time.
Mark Parker returned to racing after a very long period off due to lower limb concern. He managed 1:35 but it wasn’t comfortable.
Jon Mansfield enjoyed his birthday hearing pockets of songsters singing to him. He struggled with the run after six months of injuries (yawn) and nursed an achilles strain throughout.
Joanne Chandler has become a regular on the running scene this summer and it was a fabulous finish in the racecourse but how unkind that the time clock clicked five seconds adrift of 2hrs with 2:00:05.
Julie Symonds completed the windless course a handful of seconds faster than her run 12 months previously.
Jude Rodrigues ran a respectable 1:54 hr and Nick Matthews ran a solid but visually painful 1:42 which left him fairly pleased with his overall fitness.
James Head 1:22 hrs
Jon Mansfield 1:27
Mark Parker 1:35