Gloucestershire AAA County Championships (part 2)
The late summer county championships this year was held at the Blackbridge athletics track in Gloucester and Tewkesbury Running Club sent a large squad of athletes to test themselves against some of the counties best.
First off for Tewkesbury was Carley Merriman and Elaine Vincent in the classic 1 mile distance. Carley made a quick start to her race and followed the county’s leading ladies for the first 400m. As the race settled down, Carley was left 30m behind the leading bunch and bravely pushed herself hard through the last 800m and recorded a very pleasing 6mins 34.4secs; claiming the Silver County Senior Lady medal.
Elaine Vincent spent much of the Jubilee Mile event in a tussle with an experienced Gloucester AC competitor. When it came to the bell, the two athletes were still running stride for stride and indeed it remained that way until the 200m to go mark. It was here that Elaine made her move and put an impressive 6 seconds on her rival to record an excellent 7mins 5.9secs time; claiming the Gold V50 Lady medal.
Next onto the track were Tewkesbury’s Senior Men to tackle the Jubilee Mile. James Head, Jon Mansfield and Simon Crilley raced together as they made a fast start to the race. As the race settled down James Head pushed on to record 5mins 31.0 secs; collecting the Silver V40 medal.
Behind James, for most part of the race it looked as if Jon Mansfield would be second TRC runner home. However, with an inspired finish to his first ever track race, Simon Crilley put in a powerful last 300m as he overhauled Jon to record 5mins 37.7secs - a pleasing performance by Simon and he was even happier to claim the Silver V45 medal... that was until the reality of beating Jon struck him and so begun a weekend of celebration.
Jon was close behind with a time of 5min 41.5 secs - a performance that earns Jon the Gold V50 medal.
As with Simon, Nick Curd took his first step into the cauldron of track racing, and again as with Simon, Nick surprised all the spectators including himself! Having only started running in May, it was great to see Nick line-up and he was rewarded with a run full of confidence as he recorded 6mins 37.3secs - a fine performance.
The next race at the meeting was the fast and furious 4 by 100m relay and for this, Tewkesbury had assembled 3 teams for the event.
Leading off the Senior Men’s team was Dave ‘the main man’ Aguirre. Setting off fast from the gun, Dave slickly passed the baton to Nick Curd (fresh from his mile race). Nick kept the flowing rhythm going and the baton was safely passed to Jon Mansfield and then James Head as the team safely claimed the Senior Mens Gold medal in 66.0 secs.
Lucy Jones made her track debut as she quickly lead off the Senior Ladies team. The baton then changed hands to Sharon Lockley through to Suzanne Tharme and Carley Merriman - a very creditable relay performance as they were very close to the Men’s team, recording a time of 70.2 seconds.
Tewkesbury’s Veteran Ladies team were also in the hunt for the medals, even though most were making their track debuts. Vicky Earls lead the team well through the 1st bend; Samantha Robinson powered through the back straight to hand over to Sheena Moseley who cruised round the top bend leaving Elaine Vincent to bring the team home in as V35 Gold medalists in a time of 81.5 seconds.
The same 3 teams then stayed for the final event of the night the 4 by 400m relay.
Dave Aguirre again lead off the mens team and impressed all with an unofficial time of 79secs for his 400m. Nick Curd went all out and recorded a very similar time as Dave. Jon Mansfield stylishly ran his 400m to give James Head a handsome 40m lead for the final leg … however this 40m lead quickly diminished by the 200m mark and James had to sprint hard to establish the lead again ! The team recorded a time of 5mins 3.7secs to claim 1st place and Gold Senior Men County medals.
Tewkesbury’s Ladies team kept the same order with Lucy Jones kicking off the first leg with her usual impressive running. Sharon Lockley, last year’s 1 Mile track star ran a solid leg to hand over to Suzanne Tharme. A back-to-form Suzanne successfully kept the momentum flowing, handing the baton round to Carley Merriman, who rolled back the years to her track days and finished off the relay in 5mins 29.6 secs to claim Senior Ladies Gold - clocking an impressive average of 1min 22secs per lap.
Not to be outdone, Tewkesbury Veteran Ladies team were out again to gain more medals. Vicky Earls returned to the first leg and gave the team a great start, clocking a 400m time of 1min 41secs. Vicky handed over to Samantha Robinson, who confidently grabbed the baton to quickly tackle her 400m leg and pass the baton to Sheena Moseley. As with Sam, Sheena shone on her track debut to hand over to anchor lady and mile star Elaine Vincent who brought the team home as V35 County Gold Medalists in 6min 41.6secs thus producing an average lap of 1min 40secs.
Gloucester AC Open Track Meeting
5 days later, 3 Tewkesbury Running Club members were entered in the Gloucester AC’s second Open Meeting of the year, this time under the floodlights on a gusty, windy night.
Chris Duckworth made an encouraging debut in his first track race in June, completing his 800m race in 2mins 33secs. Even with limited training the summer, Chris was confident of an improved performance in this most fearsome of distance. Starting Heat 5, which was being paced to 600m in 2min 30secs pace, Chris lead most of the way and battled through the windy conditions and the last solo 200 metres to recorded a PB of 2min 31secs.
James Head and Simon Meadows tackled the last race of the night, the second heat of the 5000m race. James Head was looking to pace himself for a sub 18 min race and was very happy to clock 17mins 57secs. Simon Meadows ran close behind James for the first 8 laps and was happy to record 18mins 47secs for his first track race in 2 years.