The new cross-country season kick started to life at the weekend with the first race in the Gloucester League. There was a sense of optimism and enthusiasm in the air at Blackbridge amongst Thornbury’s runners, as the recent memory of barely being able to field a full complement of men’s and ladies’ teams was not in evidence on Saturday.
After all the children’s event had finished, the ladies approached the line to contest a 6.4K race. The Blackbridge course is a gentle reintroduction to the season, as it is largely flat with the odd short hill thrown in for good measure.
Following her recent Ironman success in Tenby, Taryn Roberts set off at a fast pace and maintained a good position throughout to finish Thornbury’s top placed runner in an excellent 24th place in 25:17 mins. Jo Emerson is one of a select group who regularly turned out for the club during the leaner years and she showed her experience by over hauling Colette Jackson and Lizzie Williams in the second half of the race. It was still close-run, Jo’s time was 27:10 mins in 57th place, Colette was 65th in 27:37 mins and Lizzie 66th in 27:43 mins. Both Colette and Lizzie were making their cross-country debuts for the club, so can be very pleased with their runs.
The over 65 men can compete in the ladies’ race or the longer men’s race and Club Captain, Pete Mainstone, chose the former this weekend, finishing in 146th in 33:47 mins. This was Judy Mills’ first race since returning from injury and she rounded off a great team performance in 159th place in 36:36 mins.
Nick Williams has been racking up an impressive series of races this season, but was still shocked at the early pace set by the top local club runners. However, he soon established a good rhythm in his first cross-country race for the club and was a clear winner amongst Thornbury’s runners in a very good 39th place in 32:01 mins in the men’s 9K race. The next 3 Thornbury runners were very closely matched and swapped positions throughout. In his first race since Ironman Wales, Dylan Roberts had just enough leg speed left to hold off a determined Rob Watkins. Dylan finished in 34:14 mins in 81st place, Rob was 86th in 34:34 mins and Andy Darton was only a short distance behind in 89th in 34:39 mins.
Moray Sloan and Nick Langridge were next in 37:47 mins in 147th and 38:41 mins in 161st place. In his second race of the day, Kevin Arnold was 180th in 41:30 mins and Anthony Yates finished 202nd in 48:20 mins.
The ladies team finished in a very good 10th place out of 39 and the men’s team found the going a little tougher in 13th out of 21 teams. Fortunes were reversed in the vets competition for the over 40s, the men were 5th out of 14 and the ladies were 17th out of 26 teams.
On 7th October, Kevin Arnold was in South Wales at the Caldicot parkrun and was 36th in 24:56 mins. Experienced parkrun travellers David and Anne Palmer were running in the North West at Haigh Woodland. David was 89th in 28:05 mins and Anne was 143rd in 34:22 mins. On 14th October, Kevin Arnold warmed up for the cross country later that afternoon with a quick blast around Gloucester North parkrun in 23:07 mins in 22nd place. 5 Thornbury runners joined a very busy Chipping Sodbury parkrun. Kevin Wood ran 22:46 mins, Malcolm and Karen Carr both ran 25:59 mins, while Suzy Cundy outsprinted her husband by 3 seconds in 30:31 mins.