Apperley Quarter Marathon
A bumper 400+ runners took part in the 2019 edition of the popular AQM. Starting from the Cricket field, the runners headed down towards the River Severn and ran upstream towards Deerhurst, turning again to run downstream before a rather quaint run through the Deerhurst churchyard. From there, the runners followed a short lane before trekking across the fields before turning towards Apperley with a testing incline and then a spectator friendly finish.
Despite the 'unusual' rain, the atmosphere was bright and sunny with an impressive crowd of support from the club. As always, there was a village fete aura with plenty for both adults and children to engage themselves with.
As always, the event held a very competitive children's run over the fields which featured Carly Merriman's girls.
Last year, our village resident Shona Crombie-Hicks had to sit on the side lines with an injury and this year it was another Apperley resident, Stuart Holyoak, who had to stand and watch as his achilles heal took him out of the race at the eleventh hour. Shona was back in the action for this year's event and had been looking forward to it for many months - she even modelled the advertising boards around the village as the fancy-dress theme this time was 'angels'.
As the weather forecast promised, the heavens opened-up just in time for the 11am start and within yards, the runners were drenched and the undisired wet and slippy off-road sections played a challenging part in the precedings.
Shona managed to take an early lead in the women's field and pulled safely clear of her peers on her 'home' venue and went on to seal a fine win.
Although Shona was surprised to be beaten by an angelic-looking runner wearing swimming trunks, the big surprise was the return of Matt Flynn; Matt had been on the long road to injury recovery and has slowly planned his come-back training to flourish this autumn. With some impressive training runs logged, he braved the rain and pushed ahead of both Shona and Jon Mansfield to lead the Tewkesbury club home.
Gary Duxbury made another improvement on his previous race on the rural course. Paul Mason made the race after being injured back in June. Carol Cowley continues to amaze people with her pace and although likes the shorter distances, she made easy work of the AQM.
Carly Merriman ran comfortably with Chris Nicholls during the early stages before she stretched a gap. Chris still finished strongly and safely returned without a lower limp injury - a few runners abstained from the race knowing that there would be risky sections both along the Severn and back over the arable fields.
Even soaked through to the skin, the club's supporters were in good spirts...
As the rain continued to fall, the inspiring performers continued to arrive back on the cricket ground. Suzanne Tharme galloped towards the finish and David Arguirre hit the turbo button and zoomed past flabbergasted spectators.