The club’s AGM staged the presentation of a plethora of awards for great achievements during 2018.
Two of the most exciting was the announcement of the ‘Improver of the Year’ award and ‘Performance of the Year’ award winners. These awards are selected by the committee (and exclude the committee) after reviewing the club’s runners during their year.
With the 2017 ‘Improver of the Year’ award going to Chris Duckworth, he could have caused a stir with an unpresented repeat win in 2018 after an amazing year. However, the club contained other shinning performers including Simon Meadows who, since joining Tewkesbury, has gone from strength to strength and has the potential to be the club’s quickest runner. Simon Crilley has improved at a jaw-dropping rate whilst living with an array of niggles. Tonia Whitebeam has enjoyed a great first 12 months with Tewkesbury with some constant improvements and impressive achievements. Pete Davies also had a fine year with structured and progressive training and satisfyingly good results. Chris Nicholls made an impression despite having his legs strapped - certainly one to watch in 2019. But the headlining act, in a year to remember was performed by Vicky Earls; Vicky has balanced career changes, race day nerves and tough targets successfully to record personal best times, take-on capital city half-marathons and even score essential points to ensure her club scooped the county title. In addition, her commitment to the club with her training, helping others and suppling welcome humour has been a tremendous value to many. The only thing missing on a great night for Vicky was the lady herself – despite going to great lengths to get to the AGM, she had to work!
The ‘Performance of the Year’ was more difficult to decide. We have always favoured this award to someone who would not normally win silverware, someone who overcomes issues outside of their sport, someone who jumps over their own tallest hurdle. So this award took a late and unexpected twist…
Early in the year Annabel Roberts hit the headlines with a 3 hr 10 minute Edinburgh marathon; with far from ideal training before, her performance was mighty. Dave Aquirre’s name was mentioned several times after he ran his first marathon on the Forest of Dean course – without any specific training, Dave decided to take an entry on the Thursday before the race weekend – his 5hr 08 minutes is a decent first attempt and no doubt left him thinking about his next one. In total contrast to Dave’s approach, Kerri Spry entered the ‘Wales Marathon’ at Newport. Kerri’s training was finely executed text book style; Kerri has had some set-backs over the years with her running, not least a heart-breaking stress fracture. However, with her training partner Jenny Gardiner subjected to the heat of the London Marathon, Mother Nature looked favourably down on Kerri and gave her better conditions. Still, there was 26.2 miles to run and to Kerri’s delight she realised the dream that hundreds of thousands of runners dream of by breaking the 4 hour mark – her time was 3:59:30.
Also over the marathon distance, Shona Crombie-Hicks ran an emotional Manchester marathon with her mother in her heart – Shona bravely ran the second fastest ever marathon by a Tewkesbury girl and unknowingly missed breaking the club record by just a few seconds. In the autumn, Paul Thomas found himself in Snowdonia for the marathon. Despite stinging snow the day before and a training diary with just one 18 mile run logged, Paul lead the Tewkesbury contingent home with an impressive 3hr 46 minutes over a course which includes three challenging climbs.
Over the shorter distances, Laura Kent had a peach of a run in the Budapest half-marathon while the rest of the travelling TRC squad felt the heat. Simon Crilley melted his way around the Black Country Half on the hottest day of the year and still recorded a cool time. Shona appeared at the Angels 10km with the clear intention of making the team to fight in the GAAA County series. She was carrying a hamstring niggle which would only improve with rest. Putting her health aside she locked horns with a leading runner from Derby and lead TRC home with a great 1st place. Tonia Whitebeam did something very impressive in 2018 and you really need to view an atlas to comprehend what she did – on Saturday she was on the North Wales coast running in the Bangor half marathon, then after driving south, on the Sunday she was running on the South Wales coast in the Cardiff half marathon. She completed both races is healthy times and only lost a couple of minutes in transit. In the Gloucestershire Track Championships, Sharon Lockley was lured into running her first ‘athletics meet’. Her big moment was in the Mile where she set-off comfortably with regular runners from CLC Striders but to her dismay, she lost a shoe tie and had to quickly decide to stop and re-tie or risk face-planting the synthetic ground; she stopped, only instead of retiring from the race after just 2 of the 4 laps, she headed straight back into the action and bravely went on the win GOLD in her age category with a 7 minute mile.
In the end it was decided after reviewing a courageous, brave and rewarding run by Shona in our GF5 race: Being the deciding race in the county series, Shona had already written-off her trip to the Jersey Marathon and also erased her other favourite local events. But she was determined to lead the Tewkesbury ladies team and the ladies veteran team to an historic victory in her final race before due rest & recovery. The performance of the year for numerous reasons was Shona Crombie-Hicks in the Guy Fawkes Five 2018.
The AGM also witnessed Mike Younger being voted as the Club Person of the Year for 2018.
The Club Championship was won by James Head with Shona runner-up and Chris Duckworth in 3rd
Queen of the Road was won by Shona ahead of Annabel. Natalie Jenks (defending Queen) was 3rd.
The Vets/Good for Age was James – Shona – Jon Mansfield; Jon took the title due to James & Shona claiming other majors.
The Handicap series was jointly won by Duncan Tharme & Jude Rodrigues with Alec Vincent in 3rd. 4th was Vicky, Stuart Coxshall in 5th, Cam Pay 6th, Carly Merriman in 7th and joint 8th were Sheena Moseley and Simon Crilley.