This year’s big Cheltenham event appealed to just a fraction of the usual Tewkesbury gathering – only a dozen club runners lined-up on the morning. Perhaps some had use a crystal ball and didn’t like the look of the unsavoury weather conditions? Love it or hate it, come rain or shine, the Cheltenham Half Marathon is the biggest race in the county. Recently, it’s been well organized and the 2019 instalment was a success for the team behind it with quality facilities, plentiful parking and road closures lined with some excellent support – having the racecourse as the HQ certainly makes the event grand.
Shona Crombie-Hicks and Chris Duckworth lead the club around the 13.1 mile route through the iconic parts of Cheltenham including the Promenade, Montpellier, the Pump-room and past the excellent Pittville children’s play area. The support on Montpellier and along Lansdown helped Shona finish high in the field with over a minute cushion in her competitive age category.
Chris was excellent in his role as top man for the club; without really incorporating enough longer distance runs during his pre-race training, he ran a time just short of 2 minutes slower than his huge success back in 2018.
Nick Matthews was clear with his pre-race goal of 1:45 and he arrived at the finish line on time.
Carly Merriman continues her journey from new mum with her second quality half marathon. This time, not only did she improve but also broke the 1:50 barrier with a new PB!
Ian Caley and Jude Rodrigues were comfortable under the 2 hour mark though Ian’s story is somewhat inspiring as he only started to run outside a year before! His goal was to complete a HM before his 50th birthday and the Cheltenham race was his third and he managed to smash his PB by 4 ½ minutes… and he’s still not 50!
Phillip Prince continues with his impressive first year with the club by knocking on the big 2 hr door.
Jenny Gardiner paced a friend through the challenge and despite her own niggles enjoyed every minute of it. The glamorous busy mum is so glamorous that she can’t remember if she’s in the run club this year!
Cameron Pay was one of the most popular runners on course.
He impressed by leading two more PB smashers around the town – Laura Kent has repeatedly stood out over the years with her fortitude and smile; Laura made a serious statement with her performance and pulled away from Sam Robinson at half way and went on to time a PB of her dreams. Despite her pace, she still ran in to the finish arena looking remarkably composed.
Sam was in a rush to finish too as she produced her best time for 3 years and possibly her second best run to date.
In contrast, Chris Nicholls didn’t hit the notes that he wanted. He finished outside of the 2 hours and was clear about how and where he needed to improve before his next big race in the Cardiff Half Marathon.
James Aubury has been seen training more than ever this year; regardless of asthma issues holding him back, he’s balanced his running to the point where he is confident he has ability and the fitness. It was all put to the test when Laura and Sam broke away and he was left to the test from Montpellier – James delivered and added another PB to the huge haul that the club walked away with.
The support from the club was especaially "awesome" and injured foot man Pete managed to snap some good quality pictures.
Shona Crombie-Hicks 01:26:19 (HR:MM:SECS)
Chris Duckworth 01:41:25
Nick Matthews 01:44:53
Carley Merriman 01:48:56
Ian Caley 01:54:57
Jude Rodrigues 01:56:37
Chris Nicholls 02:01:10
Phillip Prince 02:08:52
Jenny Gardiner 02:09:25
Cam Pay 02:09:15
Laura Kent 02:12:41
Sam Robinson 2:19:48
James Aubury 02:23:23