The fabulous Croome Park was the stage for latest event in a great year for the club. Not only was this the final event in the 'Lord & Lady of the Land' series, but for many it was the curtain for their 2019 races.
This outstanding National Trust gem played host to the popular Croome Capability Canter race; a testing off-road run around the vast grounds of the park. Once again, it was well-organized by Worcester’s Black Pear Joggers and, despite the preceding rain, the course is delightful to run over regardless of conditions.
This year’s was the wettest in it's 10 year history and that meant the runners had to dig deep into their energy supplies sooner rather than later. Starting from the bottom of a field, the runners charged up towards the great house before meandering around more fields, the lakes, through the woods and ending with a hill top finish.
Unsurprisingly, Owen Grant relished the challenge and was soon settled into an early podium place.
Owen pulled out a good gap over 3rd place and had the leader to aim for. Having just broken the club's 32 year old 5 mile record during the Guy Fawkes 5, one can imagine the leader must have been some athlete to stay ahead of Owen.
As the race unfolded, he found himself in a 'comfortable' second place, with a long gap behind him and an unbridgeable gap ahead - this meant he could relax and enjoy Capability Brown's art work.
A great performance and an impressive runners-up spot for Tewkesbury. Having been on the podium a couple of times previously at Croome, Jon Mansfield found the caliber of the competition in a different league this year and was left splashing about to gain an age category title.
Alas, for Jon, as he let it slip from his grasp and could only watch the ripples in front as he was just seconds behind his prize.
Nigel Tillott is another regular on the estate.
Nigel surprised everyone with a fine performance - especially considering that he ran the famously tough Broadway Marathon in the Cotswolds just the week before.
New recruit Cristian Orea didn't know what to expect along the course - and as no one has access to the further reaches of the course, he wasn't the only one. Nonetheless Cristian showed his ability by keeping Nigel in sight and crossed the line looking relatively relaxed.
Fit-again Paul Mason looks to be finding the form he's been longing for.
He's in great shape and could challenge for age category titles very soon.
Chris Duckworth is back on the scene after missing the GF5 with injury. He ran well and hopes to look towards his next challenges after a disappointing autuum.
The leading female for Tewkesbury was Lucy Jones.
Right from the start she was slipping as her enforced shoe choice were her road shoes!
Although 80% of the course is flat, there are some worrying inclines and descents that gave her trouble.
Ultimately, it was one of the results of the day as she gloriously climbed to the finishing straight and took her first win for Tewkesbury as 1st U23.
With Lucinda leading the girls home, it was the age-cat specialist herself Carol Cowley; Carol could easily be mistaken for an U23 - not for just her personality but her incredible fitness! Her performance was great, no question about that, but for Carol, she had to settle for second in her age category this year... second to a world champion veteran runner!
One of the year's big success, Chris Nicholls followed Carol. Chris recorded another improved run in his diary and didn't really suffer at all in the squechy mud.
Having suffered a year with niggles - even having to sit-out his home village Apperley Quarter Marathon, Stuart Holyoak sorted out the 6.5 miles course with little difficultly.
David Aguirre enjoyed the challenge of the meandering trail.
With the mist over the grounds, there was always the risk of getting lost as once you left the view of the lake, senses of direction were soon lost in the woods.
Dave materialised at the bottom of the last climb gave a good effort to attack the hour mark at the finish.