“As if by Magic Ben Bohane Appeared”

A Report on the Doynton Hard Half Marathon by George Evans

Sunday 5th February was the Doynton “hard” half. Thornbury RC had a phenomenal turnout with no less than 17 Thornbury runners lining up at the start. There was so many of us, they’d arranged for our own private car park and transport to the start!

A recent spell of dry weather meant that that the course was 4.5% faster than last year (apparently). Despite the dry weather, Emersons Green had designed the route to pick up as many of the muddy water courses and bogs as possible (….clearly envious of the Rollick’s reputation as one of the muddiest races around).

Thornbury were in great form, securing a 3rd team place behind Bristol & West AC and Town & Country Harriers. At one point it was looking like the Vegan Runners may pip TRC in the team rankings but luckily they were tripped over and eaten by two cows marshalling at the mile 12 mark.

First in for Thornbury was Nick Williams (1.35.56) who achieved a podium 3rd place! This was made even more remarkable by the fact that Nick ran the entire race in a Ben Bohane costume…so authentic it was a real job to tell them apart.

A gaggle of TRC runners followed in the top 50 coming inside 2hrs. Ben Foss (1.45.46) headed the pack with a strong finish whilst Rob Watkins (1.45.55) and George Evans (1.45.55) battled it out for TRC 3rd….with Rob turning on the speed for a last minute overtake to win the photo finish. Dylan Roberts (1.47.06) and Jim Godden (1.52.16) followed not far behind making TRC the first club to get 5 runners over the line! Rob and Jim also scored Category 2nd positions and George 3rd MV50.

Nathan Darkin (2.02.10), Paul Thomas (2.03.15), Melanie Wilson (2.04.22 – 3rd FV40), Laura Orna (2.09.20), Natalie Bennett (2.10.07), Jo Emerson (2.16.35) and Ros Rowland (2.16.35 3rd FV60) all finished in the next 100 runners making it tough for the other clubs to get a look in. Sonya Bryson (2.37.03) and Kevin Cundy (2.37.04) made a very photogenic finish for 273/274 with Kevin celebrating his 7th Doynton event, a complete record!

Hugh McPherson (2.54.27) and Arthur Renshaw (3.09.34), informed by the commentator as the oldest person in the race, swept up at the rear of the TRC pack and looked like they could run the race again.

Overall a great TRC performance on a beautiful day. Well done all!

Full results here: https://www.doyntonhardhalfmarathon.co.uk/results