A new year and a new road racing campaign was eagerly greeted by a good handful of Tewkesbury Running Club members for this years Linda Franks 5 mile; the popular fund-raiser hosted by Almost Athletes around the residential streets of Up Hatherley in Cheltenham.
Whilst some were dipping their toe back into racing after the Christmas break, others were ready to test out their winter training for an early season time trial. Although the race is almost an art of hopping from one pavement to another, the race almost always provides fast times, as shown by this year’s winners - Steve Keynon from Gloucester AC in 27.03 and Rachel Felton of Shaftesbury Barnet in a new course record of 27.1
1st home for Tewkesbury Running Club this year was Simon Meadows who, once again, broke the 30 minute 5 mile barrier clocking a time of 29min 47secs. Simon started the race off quite ‘conservatively’, yet worked his way up the order to be in a great racing group of 7 runners. Simon finished 16th in a competitive race. All the more impressive was that Simon did his 17 mile long run on the Friday night before the race!
Next home was Linda Franks regular Jon Mansfield. Jon is working his way back to race fitness after a weak 2018 – by his standards. A 31min 03secs clocking will have been a good prep race as he looks to put a confident showing at Bourton 10K next month. Jon was also rewarded with 3rd V50, which will be one of the most competitive age group categories this year
Mark Gardiner admitted that he wasn’t in the form of his last year’s lightening 30.29 performance, however Mark’s 31min 42secs is still a noteworthy time as he again, looks for a no doubt better performance at Bourton 10K next month.
Next crossing the line in the black and gold stripe top was Chris Duckworth. Chris had been training well over the winter, but alas coming into the race Chris was struck down with a winter cold and was not in the best condition. However, with his trademark sprint finish, Chris still battled out a 30 second 5 mile PB as he finished 57th in 33min 26secs. *He broke the Strava record along the final straight.
It certainly wasn’t long before Tewkesbury Running Club’s 1st lady crossed the line. After some time off racing it was very welcome to see Amanda Martin put up a very decent 35min 52secs time. This put Amanda as 4th V50 in the race, in what looks like a very competitive age group. Her race also spearheads the women’s team on their defence of the County championship shields they won in 2018.
Jude Rodrigues toed the line with a few thoughts on his mind. Racing wise, Jude was eyeing up a sub 40 minute time as a reward. With a solid performance around the The Reddings housing estate, Jude approached the final long run in with the electronic clock in sight and was happy to go under the gantry with the clock confirming his aim with a 39min 57secs time - also, an almost 1 minute improvement from last year’s running.
2nd Tewkesbury lady home was the Sheena Moseley. Sheena has been bravely tackling this year’s cross country races with success and showed her improvement as she confidently came home in 43min and 4secs. Another successful race for Sheena!
Close behind Sheena, raced Becky Thomas in 43min and 46secs. Becky has been a regular at Tewkesbury Running Club’s Friday Night ‘Speed and Technique’ training sessions and was rewarded with a pleasing time on the day.
The final two runners for Tewkesbury Running Club provided the closest battle between club mates. From the gun Tracy Tailford put some distance on Vicky Earls and after 4 miles it looked as Tracy had clear advantage. However, Vicky left her best running for the final mile as she finished in 204th position in 46min 49secs, just one place ahead of Tracy who finished in style for 47min 17secs. The battle may reappear later in the season…