Stroud Half Marathon 27th October 2019
Runners gladly gathered together on the Cainscross Road on a cold crisp bright clear morning for the 38th running of the ever popular Stroud Half Marathon. With conditions absolutely perfect for endurance running, many runners were fit and ready for a swift performance.
With 18 Tewkesbury Running Club members assembled for the race, the club was placed for a fine day as the hooter set the runners off at a few minutes past 9am.
Matt Flynn’s training of late has not gone unnoticed, as his speed work and long endurance runs have impressed many this autumn. This training paid off in spades as he ran one of his best races ever on his debut at the Stroud Half. Matt’s meticulous attention to pace during the race ensured he finished the race faster then he started... and as he dipped under the finishing gantry, Matt was very well rewarded with a magical sub 80minute timing - clocking in at 1hr 19 minutes and 39secs - a very well deserved 2 minute PB.
Next home for the club was Jon Mansfield: No stranger to a sub 80 minute Stroud Half Marathon himself, Jon ran a well paced race around the well trodden course to clock an excellent 1hr 24mins 55secs to finish 6th V50 in a competitive age group.
James Head was not long behind Jon, as he completed in 1hr 25mins 47secs - a time James settled for after suffering man flu during the week.
Simon Crilley has had a fine autumn of racing this year as he set a 10K PB in September and earlier in the month had dipped under the 1hr 30mins mark for a Half Marathon for the first time at Cardiff. Having achieved the sub 90mins mark, Simon was not to rest on his laurels as he was keen to set a new HM PB. Setting off swiftly, Simon went through the halfway mark in an impressive 42min 30secs and the PB looked sure to be on the cards. On his return to Cainscross Road Simon was delighted to return home with a superb 1hr 27mins 34secs.
Nigel Tillott, still coming to terms with his team Southampton’s shocking footballing performance earlier in the weekend, managed to make the line for the Stroud Half Marathon in good order. Showing great pace throughout the race, Nigel got closer to the sub 90mins mark than he did last year to clock 1hr 30mins 25secs - a time that put him impressively as 3rd V55.
Chris Duckworth’s training has not gone to plan anywhere near as he would have like it to of been over this summer and autumn; so a repeat of his PB last year was far from his mind. However Chris set off with good intent and clocked a pacey 10 miles. Even with the final 2 miles of the Stroud course proving to be not to Chris’ liking - his time of 1hr 41mins 14secs is still a satisfying reward.
It wasn’t too long to wait for TRC’s next runner to arrive, as emerging from the Cainscross roundabout striding out for the line, Lucinda Jones clocked an impressive 1hr 42mins 34secs - an excellent time for her debut half marathon. Lucy’s time also put her very high on the U20 rating in the race. Lucinda’s performance demanded even more respect than it first seemed, as Lucy’s training was interrupted by a heavy head cold and injury - and with better preparation, many more minutes will be taken off this time.
Not long behind Lucy, was her regular training partner at the club, Carley Merriman. Many watching TRC members saw Carley push herself hard throughout the last 300m of the race and with one eye on the clock it became apparent why…. Carley was racing to beat the 1hr 45mins barrier and this she successfully did to time in at 1hr 44mins 41secs. Carley was naturally delighted with her run, taking a huge 4 minutes off her PB set only 4 weeks ago!
Ian Caley has taken up the challenge of the Half Marathon with great relish this autumn, having set the wheels in motion with his sub 2hr clocking at Tewkesbury earlier in the year. With a solid block of training behind him, Ian was all set to take advantage of the excellent conditions as the hooter went for the start of the race. Ian surprised himself as he came to the finish line with one of the biggest PB’s of the day - a large 7 minutes - with an excellent 1hr 48mins 11secs.
Elaine Vincent has been putting in some strong performances all year and with a fine cross country performance 2 weeks previous, Elaine was primed for yet another good run. Taking the 1st 10 miles at an even effort pace, Elaine saved her best for the undulating final 3 miles, from where she was seen powering to the finish line in a very pleasing 1hr 50mins 38secs, which must rate as one of Elaine’s best races and a new PB to boot!
Sharon Lockley has been racing at a consistent high level since the summer and the Stroud Half proved no exception. Another TRC member with a solid block of training going into the race, Sharon looked all set for a great race, looking to put her Krakow memories behind her. Setting off with a fast 1st 10k, Sharon held her race together for the full distance and she was delighted to come across the line with yet another well deserved PB - an excellent 1hr 51mins 25secs, some 7 minutes off her great PB from last year's SHM. She also gained 5th V55 in a large field.
Chris Nicholls has been quickly learning the Half Marathon distance over the past year and is now starting to harvest some of the times that he deserves. Having crossed the line in over 2hrs 30 mins last year, Chris is now in a position where he has broken the 2hr mark and is confident to push his targets further. Looking a different runner from last year, Chris was elated to record another PB of 1hr 53mins 24secs and targets will soon turn to a sub 1hr 45mins next year.
Nick Curd has rapidly improved since he started running this April; having impressed all with his improvement and enthusiasm to try different distances from a mile on the track to 10kms - Nick yet again took on a new challenge of the Half Marathon. As with Matt Flynn, Nick paces himself well with the aid of a GPS watch. But Nick’s task was made very hard by having to wear a watch that paced in miles rather than his preferred kms! Nevertheless, Nick stuck to his task, paced with the aid of club member Chris Nicholls and would have been very pleased with his debut Half Marathon time of 1hr 54mins 40secs.
Under Cameron Pay’s careful, considered and humorous coaching this year with the Couch to 5K and Jolly Joggers TRC run groups - many runners have benefited greatly from Cam’s input. Cam’s approach for the Stroud Half was to run the race at 10 minute miling to assist anyone that wished to run at that pace - however Cameron waltzed in several minutes ahead of target with a decent 2hrs 5mins and 44secs.
Club stalwart and one of the clubs most popular characters, Jude Rodrigues, was one that unfortunately didn’t have the best of days. Having ran Cheltenham Half Marathon the preceding month in a healthy 1hr 56mins - Jude surely will soon be back to his usual handsome running after his 2hrs 8mins 30secs clocking at Stroud.
Laura Kent’s progress this year has been noted by many this year, starting with a good early season club handicap and has continued this through to her autumn Half Marathons. This was indeed Laura’s 3rd half marathon in 4 weeks which in itself is an achievement. Having excelled at Cheltenham Half by clocking a new PB of 2hrs 12mins, Laura rightly celebrated breaking new ground in her running by neatly timing in at 2hr 9mins 43secs.
Jacqueline Skipper is another runner who has improved all year since joining Tewkesbury Running Club. Indeed, Jacqueline’s steady progress was rewarded by winning the notoriously difficult club handicap series this summer. Her hard work at training (she was even present at JonnyM's Friday sessions) paid off as she bettered a half marathon done in September by a large 4 minutes to time in at a glorious 2hrs 11mins 1secs - dipping under the 10 min / mile average for the whole race.
Tracy Tailford perhaps provided the story of the Stroud Half Marathon for Tewkesbury Running Club. Having suffered a stress fracture in her fibula (leg) for the large part of the mid summer, Tracy was unable to run with her foot being heavily supported in a brace. However, with a careful approach and desire to train for the race, Tracy surprised all to see her finish strongly along the final Stroud straight. She would have been delighted with her time of 2hr 15min 47secs taking a slice off her previous best.
Assisting the large contingment of TRC runners; “Club Paparazzi Snapper” Pete Davies popped up everywhere out of nowhere to garner some excellent quality photos for everyone to remember - the club awaits Pete’s running return early next year from long term injury.