Malvern Joggers Chilli 10k.
Malvern’s popular MJ 10km is a fairly challenging 80% off-road race situated on the side of the Malvern Hills from Welland. Always very well organized by the Malvern Joggers club but the 2019 event had to contend with some shocking wet weather, both before and during the race. The marshals easily stood-out with their umbrellas and with a slightly altered course, the runners can be forgiven if they thought they were in an Irish peat bog – yes, a couple of descending fields were patched with marsh grass and the perils of knee deep bog holes.
With the Gloucestershire Road Race series event in Cirencester the same evening, there wasn’t a mass display of Tewkesbury runners and with Suzanne Tharme pulling-out with a back injury, there were just four guys in Tewkesbury colours standing under low grey clouds that had swallowed the hills.
Right from the start Vlad Venglar hit top speed and left Jon Mansfield, Gary Duxbury and Noel Green on the first lung stretching climb. Jon pulled away over the flatter fields and became familiar with straddling the deeper looking puddles and went on to engage in battle with a Worcester AC adversary – Jon’s no stranger to the course and already has a winner’s shield in his trophy cabinet, he went on to finish in the top 10 with 42:29 minutes.
Vlad continued to work hard and finished in 44:50 mins for 22nd place and from over 200 runners is quite noteworthy. But Vlad was not happy with his placing and also felt he didn’t run to his standards.
Gary was running off the back of a fine V60 win in the Broadway Tower race and although wet and chilly, he was a V60 favourite. Alas, parts of the course, particularly during the first mile were single file and prone to traffic jams of runners. This may have cost Gary early ground on the leaders as he had to fight to reach his Black Pear Jogger V60 adversary – who had the misfortune to lose his shoe in the bog! Due to the course alterations, the final ¾ mile was a slow uphill drag and then through Oilseed fields and despite Gary’s powering finish, he could not close on the 10 second gap that developed. He finished in 48:36 mins.
Noel had his work cut out too and needed his best footwork to stay upright. He placed 89th with 53:21 mins in a race he’s unlikely to forget in a hurry. As always, food and drink was laid-on afterwards under gazebos and because many rushed home to shower and bathe, Jon consumed five courses.
Rising flood water helped in the cancellation of the Tewkesbury Park run (15/06/2019), not what you would expect in June. That prompted two Tewkesbury regulars to pop to Gloucester City Parkrun which takes place in the same park as our Chairman’s outstanding ‘Gloucester 10km’ – unlikely to ever get flooded! Alan Whitby and Jon Mansfield stood by the bandstand and played-out good performances with Alan in particular hitting the high notes and breaking the course V60 record with a sub20 minute run. His 19:51 on a course which is known to be slightly more than 5km is amazing and does challenge the club’s own V60 record. But after consultation with the club chairman, it has been ruled that Parkruns do not count as they are not classed as races. Alan will be optimistic when he starts his next 5km race… watch this space.