The first XC event of 2018/19 season

Results of Gloucestershire XC League - Old Down Country Park near Thornbury

Men’s (9.5km)

62 James Head 43.25 84 Mark Gardiner 44.48 100 Paul Douglas 45.42

Men’s Vet (6.5km)

128 Phil Howells 48.25

Very disappointing turn out from Tewkesbury RC for the first XC fixture of the season. No lady entrants and not enough to enter a team but I would like to thank James Head, Mark Gardiner, Paul Douglas and Phillip Howells for their efforts yesterday afternoon in some very blustery conditions.

Thankfully the morning rain had died out and the event started in beautiful sunshine albeit a tad windy. Runners and spectators had some fine views over the Severn estuary and an interesting course which took place over farmland, around the edges of an adventure park, past llama enclosures, through dense woodland (which provided welcome relief from the wind) and through an apple orchard.

Phil Howells ran a steady race and was pleased to finish his three lap course in 48.25 earning himself a bronze medal position in his age category.

In the men’s race there were thrills and spills with some added late drama at the finishing line. Mark Gardiner sadly had a tumble in the forest section - the leaf strewn ground masking a few protruding tree roots making it very perilous to the runners - but Mark is made of stern stuff and recovered to finish second for the club in 44.48.

Paul Douglas also had a few scrapes on a scenic but technical course but ran well to finish soon after Mark in 45.42 - all despite an unfortunate mix up near the finish line where Paul had stopped thinking he had finished only to discover he still had another 50 yards to go to the actual finish line!

But sadly the biggest drama came at the front end of the men’s race with a James Head being let down by some slack marshalling. In his first XC event in a Tewkesbury top, James Head ran a fine race to keep himself well placed inside the top fifty but as he approached the finishing straight James unfortunately ran down the wrong channel where runners a lap behind went to go to start another circuit.

Having realised his mistake too late, he was forced to make a hasty retreat back to the course only to lose out on some 12 places and eventually finish in 43.25. It was a hard situation to take as James had run brilliantly, keeping two former Gloucester AC colleagues at bay only to watch helplessly as they completed the race ahead of him.

Never mind James, you ran a good race and were only denied by some awful luck.

It could’ve been worse James, you could’ve run another lap... mentioning no names!

Although not a Tewkesbury RC member it was good to see my old rugby team mate Dave Taylor taking part in his first cross country race. More used to triathlons the Tewkesbury Tri Club member enjoyed his first event finishing a couple of seconds behind Mark.

Thanks to everyone who ran, the next race is on Saturday November 3rd at Malmesbury and despite the apparent lack of interest by the majority of our members I shall be spending my free time driving down there and setting up the tent and club flag providing support to any Tewkesbury runners wanting to take part.

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