Hogweed Trot – Pete Mainstone Challenge, race 2

Round 2 of this year’s Pete Mainstone Challenge took place in Yate – the only town in South Gloucestershire that simultaneously rhymes with ‘great’ and ‘party’ depending on how posh your accent is.

The Hogweed Trot is another impeccably organised local event that doubles as the Avon County 10k road Championships, and attracts a commensurately high-calibre roster of runners.

The organisers again claim it is a ‘pan-flat’ course – (is there a conspiracy amongst the race directors?) – but the roads are as rolling as the stir-fry wok at a hall of residence’s communal kitchen. However it takes place on quiet country roads on the edge of the town, with the final mile a gentle downhill to the finish on a cyclepath.

Andy Wilson is TRC’s Jason Kenny – no matter how fantastic his own performance is, all anyone wants to talk about is how amazing his wife is! I’ll come to Andy’s run in a moment, but first we must acknowledge Lucie Wilson, who ran a course record 40:20, to win her race and take the coveted county champion crown. Lucie is only an occasional runner with TRC – as she competes at a high level at netball – but after this stunning run we hope she might nail her colours firmly to TRC’s mast, and come and win a lot more races with us cheering her on. Mainly from some distance behind!

Hannah Hamilton also had a wonderful race, and finished in 5th place in 43:39. Strava suggests this was a 10k PB, but whatever it was, Hannah is racing well, with consistency, and is hopefully taking a lot of encouragement from that.

We had a strong turnout from Thornbury’s male runners. Phil Blackburn paced his effort to perfection, holding back slightly over the first 5k before marauding through the field to clinch a 10th place finish in a new PB of 36:51. The exciting thing for Phil, and for the club, is that he’s still going to get faster for at least a few more years, assuming he can maintain his obvious enthusiasm for, and dedication to, his training.

Andy Wilson set off as usual like a Diamond League pace-maker on a caffeine buzz. If his run last Sunday at the TRC championships was mesmeric, this effort was merely sensational. It’s possible the effort of six days earlier caught up with him a fraction, as he couldn’t hold off Phil on this occasion, but he still finished in 12th place overall in 37:09.

Paul Harrod was the next TRC male runner in 37:54, in 16th place, even though his chip-timer didn’t register. DB Max aren’t accepting his proffered explanation that his sprint-finish exceeded the maximum conceivable speed, so it is possible that the 10p metal chip was just a dud. Simon Pinnington had another marvellous run, and went inside 39 minutes with an excellent 38:46. The age-graded scores still need to be fed into Mel Lloyd’s SuperComputer, but it seems probable that Simon will score very highly in the overall PMC competition.

George Evans just missed out, yet again, on a sub 40 min 10k; clearly his in-demand work as a Samba and Salsa instructor might be taking the edge off his finishing speed. But he still produced another fine performance to finish in 40:14. George was just ahead of Asten Haynes in 40:21. Asten is another runner who is going to go under 40 minutes very soon, and he has another opportunity in the Bradley Stoke 10k later this week.

Tom Usherwood was next home in 44:29. I have a hunch that is a 10k PB for Tom, but either way he is running extremely well at the moment. Nick Langridge, who is as ever-green as the perkiest pine, ran 44:38, to take his inevitable, if still well-earned, victory in the V70 category. Chris Foley was second V70, and just missed out on a sub-50 run, with a highly creditible 50:43. Arthur Renshaw completed the TRC septuagenarian champagne trio, with 56:14. Paul Saville ran 46:43 and David Flemington 65:42 to complete this strong team performance from TRC’s men.