We’ve enjoyed almost perfect Spring weather these past two Saturdays, and TRC members have eschewed the hot-cross buns and headed instead for the local parks to record some excellent parkrun results. And then scoffed the buns!
It is so encouraging to see TRC members be rewarded for their consistent hard work in training. Carol Mosses recently ran the Cardiff half-marathon – racing alongside her children to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Yet then that pesky Covid struck, and just when you thought that would wipe out her excellent progress, Carol got up off her sick bed and stormed to a course PB of 37:05 at Chipping Sodbury. It was also good to see Jay Bartley plotting his way back to full fitness with a run of 27:27; there’s a lot more to come, and hopefully that will be soon.
Strava seemed to suggest that Chris Pritchard waded through the sea for much of his 30:34 PB at Woolacombe Dunes. I suspect that was a GPS gremlin, although striding through the surf would only add a little extra to the already brutal course they have devised at Woolacombe. Still, excellent selection of post-race coffee shops to choose from, and after a PB that flat white tastes all the creamier.
Speaking of Strava art, the organisers at Wotton Parkrun say their course map resembles a butterfly. I’d say it is more like a pterodactyl fossil, but either way Wotton is a hilly, off-road course that means very few male runners have ever got under the 20 minute barrier. Simon Pinnington won the race in 20:07, which is the umpteenth time he has peppered the 20 min mark and not quite hit it, but at that pace he will continue to win that particularly tough event more often than not.
Mallards Pike is winning a lot of plaudits as one of the friendliest and most picturesque parkruns around. TRC’s Starsky and Hutch, Roger Glew and Tom Witherbed, popped over the bridge to sample the park’s coffee and cake concessionary stand, and decided to run the race at the same time. Both performed admirably on a single-lap course that is either uphill or downhill, with precious little flat Roger ran 25 mins, and Tom finished in 28:05.
The following Saturday – Easter Saturday – saw club members out in force, and the far-flung locations probably give us a clue as to where their extended families live!
Paul Reeves ran 23:58 at a packed Southampton parkrun; Kevin Arnold ran a rapid 22:08 at Wolverhampton; Melanie Wilson finished in an outstanding 4th place in the Gateshead parkrun, running 22.10, and it is no mean feat to do that in the running hotbed than produced the likes of Foster, Spedding and Cram. The ever-improving Phil Blackburn ran an incredible 17:15 at Burgess and finished 5th overall.
There were still plenty of runners at our local events too. Suzie Cundy ran an excellent personal best of 30:09 at the twisty-turny, stop/start course at Berkeley Green. Mel Lloyd also ran there and finished in 33:27. Paul Harrod recorded 18 mins precisely at Severn Bridge, and despite collapsing his body to the ground and having a toddler tantrum the implacable race director refused to accept his Strava time of 17:59. Simon Pinnington ran a fantastic PB of 18:54 at Chipping Sodbury, and is now just a fraction off that benchmark age-graded score of 80% which suggests the athlete is of a national standard for their age and gender. Paul Clark ran that race for the first time and was 32nd overall in 21:28.
Finally, there was still an excellent turnout at the Mundy playing fields for our ‘home’ parkrun. Sean Leadbetter and Ben Bohane ran together at the front of the race, Sean just out-sprinting Ben to finish in his course PB of 18:35, with Ben just three seconds behind. Asten Haynes was 5th in 19:34. Special mention must also go to Paul Saville who ran the Westonbirt half marathon the previous day in just over 1hr 35 mins, and then turned out the next morning and ran 26:22 – a time many would be delighted with after a full week’s taper. Natalie Bennett was just 36 minutes outside her PB, but that was, of course, because she was kindly volunteering as the tail-walker. Hopefully we’ll get to see her running the race at full gas sometime very soon.
p.s I neglected to mention in previous reports the excellent results in the Frampton Globe Trot: an off-road, 8 mile race, that took place at the start of this month when the ground was a lot muddier than it is now. Apologies to the ladies, but I don’t have separate results for the women’s race, just the overall finishing places. Melanie Wilson was the first TRC runner, and finished in 19th place overall, in 1hr and 2 minutes, and would have been much higher in the standalone women’s race. The other members of Team TRC were Lizzie Williams 30th 1hr 06; Roger Glew 50th 1hr 12; Chris Foley 61st 1hr 15; Hugh McPherson 73rd 1:19; Kev Cundy and Sonya Bryson finishing together in 92nd and 93rd places in 1hr 21 mins. These are all excellent times for an off-road race of that distance.