As they have done for the past 30 + years, road runners from near and far arrived in Tewkesbury for Gloucestershire’s traditional end of season road race. The course has (nearly) always remained the same, but the popularity of the race continues to grow and grow.
Under the current stewardship of Stuart, Cathy and Carly. Everything about this year’s race was a success. The 400+ race places sold out in a matter of minutes as runners were eager to make sure they got their place. With the organisers ever helpful “can do” attitude, great race sponsorship with Duraflex, friendly supportive course marshalling and helpers, meticulous organisation, brilliant race t-shirts and medals and the welcoming venue with ample mouth watering refreshments - everything on the day was perfect - even the forecasted rain held off.
The club's charity of year, CLAPA was presented with a cheque for £400 by club captain Roy Northcott during the eventful day.
With this all set up… it was over to the runners to perform. The race was rewarded with 2 high standard winners. Marcus England from Cheltenham Harriers won the men’s title with a commanding 1 minute 17 seconds lead to win in 26min 21secs. The ladies winner was Sophie Booth from Black Pear Joggers in just under the 1/2 hour in an impressive 29min 58secs.
Although being the host club with scores of helpers out on course and back in the venue, Tewkesbury Running Club fielded no less than 26 runners. The big inter-club news leading up to the race was the performance of the Tewkesbury ladies team in the year long Gloucestershire County Road Race Series. Going into the final race of the 12 race series, the ladies had put themselves into a slender lead of just 13 points; the question was, could they defend their slim lead over the Almost Athletes ladies?
Tewkesbury had fielded a large ladies team and had three of their best runners on the line (the scoring counted for the 1st 3 ladies home from each team). Eyes were peeled at the start line to see who the rival team had fielded as the title was there for the taking.
The first lady home for Tewkesbury was the team “spearhead”, Shona Crombie-Hicks, coming home in 31min 25secs and 3rd lady overall, setting the standard for the team. Next home was Annabel Roberts in 33mins 45secs, taking the race’s V40 title - 2 Tewkesbury runners were now home before the first Almost Athlete runner arrived. There then followed a nervous wait to see which club could get there next runner home. The wait was a short one as less than a minute later Natalie Jenks arrived into the last yards of the race. Tewkesbury were the first club to get their first 3 ladies home and the title was theirs! - incredible, as it marks the first time the club has won the county series - women's or men's title!
It marked one of the club’s finest achievements in it’s history, something we will no doubt hear much more of in January at the award ceremony. Not only are the ladies team 2018 County Road Race Team champions, but the 2018 County Veterans Team prize was also earnt.
Providing valuable Ladies team support, Linda Everis was feeling a little under the weather, but still managed to race a respectable time of 42min 58secs. Vicky Earls was on a mission to eradicate her memories from last year’s race and her mission was successful. Her time of 45min 56secs was a good 7 minutes quicker than last year’s running. Next home was Tonia Whitebeam, “the Half Marathon specialist” running close behind Vicky in 46min 47secs, as she prepares herself for her next upcoming 13.1 mile race.
It was only a short amount of time before the next home club runner followed. Laura Kent is having a great season of running this year and stormed to the line in a big 5 mile PB of 47min 25secs. Final runner from the successful Tewkesbury ladies team was Amanda Marshall. Amanda started with Tewkesbury RC earlier this year and neatly came well inside the hour to record 57min 38secs.
The Tewkesbury Men’s team were far from playing “second fiddle” and they provided some great performances of their own.
Simon Meadows had put in some solid training leading up to this year’s Autumn races and following on from his Stroud Half Marathon PB a few weeks ago, he was hopeful of a great run. Setting off with purpose, he placed himself within a the sub “30 minute” pack of runners. With 400 metres to go Simon made his kick for home and dipped for the line in a time of 29min 44 secs - a great result for Simon as not only was it a PB, but he had scrambled home as 1st Tewkesbury runner home leaving a bemused James Head 2 seconds behind him!
Next home for the club was Andrew Hawkins. More often seen officiating county running races, this is Andrew’s first season back running for many a year and he rounded the year off with a pleasing 31min 11secs - although this could have been reduced if Andrew hadn’t taken the first left hand turn on the course with what was described as “very wide”!
Shortly after Andrew came two Tewkesbury runners who had worked together along the course. Stuart Coxshall had used his knowledge of the course from the many summer TRC handicap ‘time trials’ to race round in a striking 31min 35secs. Following Stuart, the ever improving Simon Crilley reached a new high - averaging an impressive 6.18 min/mile pace to record 31min 37secs and a shiny new PB.
Only a photo finish could split the next 2 runners. Another fast improver, Chris Duckworth applied his trade mark “sonic burst” of speed at the finish to just pip fellow runner Russell Steele on the line. Both runners finished with 33mins 59 secs, providing Chris with yet another PB this year. Russell was said to be pleased with his time.
Steve Maber watched the drama head of him as he finished with a solid, well below 7 min/m clocking of 34mins 7secs, finishing 5th in his age group. Next home for Tewkesbury was Club Captain, Roy Northcott in 37min 49secs. This was a big step down in distance as Roy has been more often running Ultra distances this year. Next to for the large contingent of Tewkesbury RC crowd to cheer in was TRC Run Leader Cameron Pay, showing his runners how it is done with his smooth sub 42 minute timing.
Taking it at a steady pace this year was regular club night attendee David Spence in 43min 6secs - on a better day Dave would dramatically reduce this time. Next home was club newcomer Ian Caley. Ian quickly followed Dave to the line in 43min 11secs - a solid time and one to build on with a solid winter of training. Neil Cameron was not too far behind the brace of Tewkesbury runners in a time of 44min and 28secs, a great good for age time, taking 5th place in the V70 category.
Chris Nicholls, hot after his 4 half marathons this Autumn, tackled the shorter 5 mile distance and posted a creditable 45mins 26secs. Pete Davies was next in with a time of 48min 14secs, coming well under the 50 minute barrier and providing Pete with an excellent PB, beating last years time by 3 and a half minutes!
One of this years newcomers to Tewkesbury RC, Duncan Tharme was the next to arrive to the finish line. Duncan has been a regular at the summer club handicap time trials during the summer and ran a fast 50min 1secs timing and won’t have much winter training to do to crack the 50 minute barrier! Another member from the Michael Younger training group followed Duncan and with a pleasing 50mins 37secs, James Aubrey strode across the line to record a 5 mile PB. Last Tewkesbury male runner home was David Aguirre in 54mins 19secs, who was allowed to put his racing shoes aside for one race and have a more casual run out for a change after his Autumn of Half Marathon running.
Pictures by Nick Parford Photography