For the first time in over 10 years, Tewkesbury Running Club sent a team to represent the club in the Midlands Road Relays. Held in the picturesque and ever popular Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield, some of the very best of the areas athletes amassed for one of the highlights of the road race season. With 140 + men’s teams and 121 ladies’ teams, this really is a festival of road racing.
Due to some unfortunate late drop-outs form the team Tewkesbury were one of the 40 incomplete teams, but 4 team members were still ready for a great race over the fearsome undulating but fast course.
James Head started the ball rolling for TRC and lined up for the mass start of the 1st leg. Having started far to back from the start line for his liking (near last !) James quickly started to make his way through the field and settled into a good pace and fired in one of his best times over the course timing 21mins 57secs over the 5.88km distance. This placed Tewkesbury in a healthy 69th place out of 122 Senior Men teams.
Simon Crilley patiently waited for James to run through the line before his leg could start and then set off at great pace down the first swooping downhill. Pacing his run very well, Simon recorded each mile faster than the previous over the tough Sutton Park course. Coming into the final 800 metres Simon had placed himself within a good pack of runners and finished with an excellent 22mins 48secs … lifting Tewkesbury up one position to 68th.
Vladimir Venglar was the Tewkesbury man on the 3rd leg and began his battle to keep the team in the positions. After Vlad’s very capable running of the hills in the first mile, Vlad toughed out the long out and back, to and from the Jamboree Stone in fighting style before he held his own throughout the rest of the course. Vlad clocked an excellent time of 23mins 56secs … and lifted Tewkesbury up a further 2 positions to 66th.
Alan Whitby bravely took on the challenge of the 4th leg and was seen in good spirits before he tackled the main hill on the course. Having to run against men significantly younger than himself, Alan provided Tewkesbury with a great solid team performance with a time of 24mins 25secs giving Tewkesbury a position of 67th out of 122 teams. A further look at Alan’s performance shows that he was in fact the fastest V60 runner of the whole field.
Although it was an incomplete team, the 4 members of Tewkesbury Running Club thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the sunshine and hope to return with 2-3 teams next year. (Credit to Bryan Dale for the excellent photography that he provides for free !)