Once again, the glorious Bourton-on-the Water was the scene of some sparkling performances from the Tewkesbury runners. Normally, February in the Cotswold village is bitterly cold but this year there was a rise in the mercury and the imminent threat of rain – the clouds waited until the race was underway before letting it go – all the runners got a soaking and with blustery wind and puddles to hurdle, the later stages of famous 10km course were testing.
Although it was a race to enter the actual race, Tewkesbury fielded over 20 runners. The club also had plenty of welcome crowd support.
At the sharp end of the race, the club had three runners who cracked the 40 minute mark, though it was a turnaround from previous years with Simon Crilley leading the club home; for Simon, his sub 40 came with time to spare – almost 2 minutes off his PB! Such an improvement at this level is mighty impressive and his cool 37:57 placed him 5th in his V45 category.
After Simon’s 5 mile performance in January’s Linda Frank’s race, he looked certain to run under 39 minutes, so with this, and his measured distance training for the Manchester Marathon, things are looking good for his exciting dash past the famous Old Trafford.
Jon Mansfield could only watch as Simon flew through the village and on to the Rissington Road; pleased to cover the first 2 miles in 11 ½ minutes but like many runners, the minor inclines near the 5km marker felt like hills.
Jon managed to stay inside a Simon sandwich by holding off Simon Meadows – Simon being the third TRC runner to cut 40 minutes.
His race started to become undone within the first mile when his shoe lace worked lose – forced to stop, he went on to cross the finish in a time he had wanted… inside 40 minutes.
Racing in his first road event for 5 months, Vlad Venglar enjoyed the morning. Half-expecting to challenge the 40 minute mark, he comfortably ran just inside 41 minutes however, safe in the knowledge that he could run quicker with specific training.
Tewkesbury’s leading lady spot was very much up for grabs with former greats away cycling, sunbathing and in nappy heaven, the race was on to lead the club home: Elaine Vincent, who found PB form last October in the Stroud half-marathon, was always a contender – she ran well-enough to finish 5th in category but a few minutes off her best and was left shell-shocked afterwards.
Suzanne Tharme was the club’s leading lady last year after she ran a masterclass over the second 5km; her 2020 smiling display landed her 2nd in her competitive category and finely under 50 minutes.
However, it was nearly ½ a mile up the road that the battle was taking place; keen to avenge her competitive training partner, Carly Merriman, after last month’s dramatic finish line smash & grab, Lucinda Jones was determined to even the score. Like the LF5, they stuck together only as the sky opened up, Lucy opened up and stretched a gap. Although both stars declared minor niggles and ailments prerace, they showed no compassion and went all-out back to the village.
With a 200m gap, Lucy went on to claim the No1 spot for Tewkesbury while Carly felt the weight of the battle yet still went on to time a new 10km PB.
Newly crowned ‘Improver of the Year’ Ian Caley showed no signs of unproving with another quality PB run.
Chris Nicholls cracked the 50 minute mark with an ensured performance that adds confidence to his current marathon training.
Craig Prosser continues his impressive 2020 with 5km, 5m, 10m and now a 10km PB. His improvement since Christmas is eye-catching and ever more so knowing that his carbo-loading for Bourton was Welsh beer!
John Tharme formed a Tewkesbury tri-force with Claire Gent and Lynda Gardiner and the three kept a good pace early on - if fact, John's pace helped the two Tewkesbury girls crack their PBs!
Late-entry Lynda dropped-off however, the stylish runner did enough early on to ensure she recorded a new PB. John surprisingly pulled away from Claire during the final meters – a great run for John who looks to be taking 2020 by the horns.
Claire, on the other hand will be looking to straighten things out over the handicaps this summer – needless to say, John has lit the fuse and he’ll need to stay on his toes!
Becky Thomas flew the Tewkesbury flag hitting the hour. Tonia Whitebeam made it look easy with a smile and smoothly finishing with good pace.
Tonia ran the early stages with Cameron Pay before he moved through the gears.
Cam had an excellent race proving his strength when the conditions became less favourable.
Caroline Corbett worked hard in the soggy conditions.
She maintained a gap ahead of Tracy Tailford who marked this as her second race in 12 months after her lower leg injury.
Mike Ward crossed the finish line in 1hr:17 minutes. Mike was born in the 1930’s and continues to be an inspiration in Gloucestershire with his spirit and achievements.
Full results are HERE
Action pictures are thanks to Barry Cornelius, Pete Davies and Cathy Dudfield - brilliant.