Tewkesbury Running Club are pleased to announce their nominated charity of the year, the Friends of Alderman Knight School, have received a £500 donation. After the Guy Fawkes 5 was staged on Sunday 3rd November, club captain Roy Northcott and RED managing director, Stefan Roberts, presented Matthew Stewart, the vice-chair of the charity, with the club’s biggest charity donation to date.
The traditional November 5 mile race was held over a new alternative course along Fiddington Lane due to the lanes around Walton Cardiff being submerged in flood water the week before the planned race. Even on the day of the race, large sections were still underwater!
In October a contingency plan was put in place that included having the new course officially measured and then certified. Then an urgent plea to England Athletics to approve licenses and insurance. Several tweaks to the event’s Risk Assessment and timely communication to the competitors and the inevitable wet feet were avoided.
Despite the late change, the runners gave the course rave reviews! The 2019 event also had a revamp with new sponsors RED, who are based just across the road from the race HQ. RED funded the runners with tastefully designed souvenir t-shirts as the new race director, Jon Mansfield aimed to link the popular event with the town’s most famous event, the Battle of Tewkesbury, whilst having a T-shirt that runners would be to happy wear. Mansfield also revamped the runner’s finishers medals by producing the event’s first ever real quality medal, again linking the War of the Roses with a delicately engraved ‘victor on horseback’.
Mansfield wanted to give competitors the ‘GF5 experience’ and continued the year of ‘firsts’ by having engraved glass trophies for the 1st place male & female - of course, featuring the ‘victor’.
A new team prize was also offered to the club who fielded the best 3 men & 2 girls (the prize being a selection of alcoholic refreshment).
This year, a new entry system was put in place after many people disappointingly missed out on entering the 2018 race. Having a phased entry over different days and at different times proved very popular and most people bagged a place - or joined the waiting list that evaporated before the day.
The event HQ at the Tewkesbury Sportshall was filled with goodies for the runners; the regular support from Gloucester Sports, the assistance of Back into Action; Back into Action are a top-class physiotherapy team based a few hundred yards from the course and were offering massages and advice.
Orchard Catering and an array of homemade cakes & beverages gave the runners plenty to think about both before and after their race.
But ultimately, it was the finer touches that were introduced that gave the runners the ‘GF5 experience’ - having ‘meet & greeters’, ‘lost persons’ helpers, baggage drop-off, free high class running photographs and even having soya milk for the popular vegan runners. The feed-back has been unprecedented with plaudits reaching towards triple figures, including the area’s largest running club scoring it 10/10 and the Gloucestershire AAA saying it’s the best true club event. The event was supported by a trusted car parking team, an encouraging marshalling team and a tempting hospitality/sportshall team. Race co-director Gary Duxbury helped glue together sub-team leaders, Alec Vincent, Suzanne Tharme, Mungo Park, Nigel Tillott, Carol Crowley & Tracy Tailford. Plans for next year’s event on 1st November 2020 are already rolling and come hell or high water, Tewkesbury Running Club will be determined to repeat the ‘GF5 experience’