On Sunday, several TRC members had the privilege of improving their running technique under the expert eye of coach Shane Benzie. However the early proof of that pudding was to be tasted the following evening, as they lined up for the Berkeley 10k, the first event in this year’s Pete Mainstone Challenge.
During the warm-up there were admiring glances from other club members as we arched our backs and locked our eyes on the horizon, like Kate Winslet on the bow of the Titanic; or cycled our legs under our centre of mass like Roadrunner; or placed our forefingers on our thumbs and drove our elbows back, like a Yoga Master bisecting logs with a tiny saw.
Sorry, maybe you had to be there on Sunday!
Anyway, Shane’s input has already borne fruit, as several members ran their course, or even all-time, 10k PBs.
It’s particularly hard to single out any individual in such an impressive, collective, set of results. I’m tempted to award it to Hannah Hamilton who ran a fantastic 43.56, and finished 12th in the women’s race – the best overall result by any TRC member.
Yet how can we not applaud Ben Bohane, who, just nine days after racing a ludicrous 34 miles along the Pembrokeshire Coast, pitched up at Berkeley and knocked a full minute of last year’s time to finish in 21st place in 37.05? That’s 21st in a race that attracts runners from across the region and was won by an outstanding senior athlete who was a former silver medallist in the English schools 3000m. Yet again one wonders how fast Ben could run if he ever actually tapered for a race!
So Hannah and Ben were the two stars of the evening, but they were by no means the only ones to produce an outstanding performance.
Not far behind Ben was Phil Blackburn, who will represent the club in the Avon county 1500m championships on Sunday. Phil proved once again that his endurance level is starting to approach that of his jaw-dropping raw pace, and finished a mere 4 seconds further back in 22nd place. Paul Harrod ran his 10k PB and finished in 37.22, 27th overall, and third VM45.
When I wrote last week that I felt Simon Pinnington’s form was so good that he could get under 40 minutes at Berkeley, I was intending to pay him a compliment! This was a rough extrapolation from his recent parkrun performances. However it shows how bad my maths is, because Simon himself was aiming to go more than a full minute faster! Hopefully he doesn’t read these reports… In the end, Simon ran a wonderful PB of 39.02, but such is the measure of his recent improvement, that he was a little disappointed. He was fifth VM50, and 44th overall.
Asten Haynes narrowly missed out on running sub 40, but only by 10 seconds. That was a very notable run, and Asten is another club member who is naturally quick, and is now building an aerobic base that means he can be highly competitive in the longer distances. The same is true of Tom Usherwood who is racing regularly, and with great consistency, and should be delighted with his time of 44.17.
I’ve written this before, but it bears repeating: a quick scan of the results might mean you overlook Nick Langridge’s performance. He finished in 45.11, and for most of the race looked like he might get under 45 minutes. That is still a fine run, but to do so while now competing in the VM70 age-grade is truly exceptional. It goes without saying Nick won his age category race.
Paul Saville finished in 47.33, and sneaked into the top 100 of the men’s race by finishing 99th. Kevin Wood had a busy weekend – running at the parkrun of the month, and attending Shane’s workshop. Yet he once again produced a stellar performance to finish in 49.42 and fifth in age category. Lizzie Williams was just seconds outside the 50 minute barrier and a highly creditable 30th place overall in the women’s race. Some of the club’s loyal and long-standing legends completed our line up. Hugh McPherson 55.44; Arthur Renshaw in 57.10 and Mel Lloyd in 1hr 10. In all cases they ran strong races and finished inside the top 10 in their age categories, so their results are entirely comparable with many of their younger teammates further up the standings.
The amazing members of Dursley running club put on another wonderful event. I’m biased – I don’t think anyone organises races better than we do – but Dursley runs us close! Once again, the good burghers of Berkeley were out on the streets to offer their support. I’m always amazed how few cars are out and about – it really does feel like it is a closed road event, even though it isn’t!
Last Saturday was ‘parkrun of the month’ and we were back at Severn Bridge. Sixteen members took part, which is a good number, especially as lots of us wanted to save our legs for Berkeley just two days later.
Andrew Darton was first TRC member, running a course PB of 20.28. Chris Pritchard is improving noticeably and came home in his PB of 25.01 – so close to a 24 minute something time. Jonathan Hall, 22.34 and Ashleigh Ferris, 26.26 ran the event for the first time.
Congratulations to Kev Cundy for completing his 50th parkrun. Hope he got a cheer from the Chepstownian locals for that achievement, followed by a chorus of boos when it was revealed he came from ‘that Thornbury’. Kev ran with wife Suzie and let her finish 1 second ahead of him in 29.12. Who says chivalry is dead? Finally, the PB machine that is Carol Mosses – the Birkenhead Dibaba – raced to another personal landmark, finishing in 36.56.