Thornbury Running Club arrived in numbers for one of the highlights of the local winter trail running season – the Doynton Hard Half Marathon. In picture perfect conditions on Sunday, the small village of Doynton and the race organisers from Emerson Green Running Club put on a fantastic welcome for almost 500 runners in sub-zero temperatures at the start of the day. As well as the traditional site of high-vis clad marshals clapping runners of all abilities, there was a range of elaborate costumes and musical acts dotted on the edges of muddy fields to give a well-timed boost. One kindly neighbour was even offering shots of homemade Damson vodka to anyone brave enough to try it after 10 miles of running through the countryside.
Despite the best laid plans of the organisers, chaos ensued after the first long hill as the first 30 or so runners took a wrong turn and were confronted by the sight of the rest of the field near the top of the frosty Cotswold escarpment running on the correct course. Panicked runners soon started trudging back up the steep boggy hill, trying to make up for lost time and chase down Thornbury’s Ben Foss and Taryn Roberts, who were leading the men’s and women’s race after 2 frantic and confusing miles.
Dylan Roberts was the first Thornbury runner to finish in the Riverbank Rollick and he repeated this performance one week later in 16th place overall in 1 hour 49:28 mins. There was more success for the Roberts family, as Taryn Roberts improved on her 3rd place in last week’s Rollick with a sprint finish to hold off last year’s winner of the Hard Half, Bristol and West’s Naomi Aylwin, to finish in 2nd place in the women’s race and 36th place overall in 1 hour 56:44 mins.
Rob Watkins and Judy Mills both won their age groups. Rob took VM50 honours and was 17th overall in 1 hour 51:15 and Judy hadn’t realised she was the winner in the VF60 age group until her name was announced after her 2 hour 46:33 mins run in 287th place. John Grimsey was the only other TRC runner to feature in the top 3 of his age group in 2nd place in the VM70 category in 3 hours 27:08 mins.
Hannah Kinloch Haken and Melanie Wilson both finished in the top 10 in the women’s race in 7th / 75th overall 2 hours 3:19 mins and 9th place / 96th overall 2 hours 8:21 mins, respectively. With 3 Thornbury women in the top 10, Hannah, Melanie and Taryn lifted the women’s team competition for Thornbury for the first time and made up for the men losing their title from 2019.
Other Thornbury results included Matt Johnstone 24th 1 hour 54:08 mins, William Hamilton 30th 1 hour 55:41, Ben Foss was aiming for a sub 2 hour time and came in on target in 44th place in 1 hour 58:05 mins, followed by Ian Evans in 54th place in 1 hour 59:24 mins.
Moray Sloan was 111th in 2 hours 10:26 mins, followed by Paul Thomas 127th 2 hours 14:06 mins, Rosina Rowland 200th 2 hours 26:33 mins, Kevin Cundy 264th 2 hours 40:59 mins, Sarah Newnes 2 hours 46:49 mins and Hugh McPherson 2 hours 49:45 mins.
Henry Orna joined some of the top local and national runners for some early season speedwork in Sunday’s Speedway 10k on a PB-friendly section of road between the River Severn and the River Wye. In a race featuring 11 athletes running sub 30 mins times, Henry finished in 162nd place in 40:31 mins.
John Grimsey ran in Thursday’s 5-mile Weston Prom Run in his adopted hometown of Weston-Super-Mare and finished in 235th place in 1 hour 40 seconds.
Elsewhere, Thornbury’s Saturday parkrun results included Garry Slater running 20:11 mins in Chipping Sodbury, followed by Paul Saville 20:23 mins, Martin Coyle 26:21 mins, Christopher Pritchard 26:58 mins and Malcolm Carr 28:25 mins. Mel Lloyd ran 30:33 in Pomphery Hill, Brian Godsman ran 25:48 mins in Skatas and Ian Hoffman tackled the fearsome Woolacombe Dunes course in 24:21 mins.