Parkrun of the month – and recent race results round-up.

The ‘parkrun of the month’ has been an excellent addition to the club’s racing and social calendars.  Last Saturday’s edition was held at Chipping Sodbury, and I thought I detected some chattering teeth in the obligatory pre-race team photo as our hardy cohort braved the sub-zero temperature.

All the more impressive then, that several members secured PBs in the race.   Martin Coyle ran his fastest time at this event in 24:47, and was just a few seconds ahead of Catherine Dack and Chris Pritchard who came in together in 24:54.  Catherine and Chris have been quietly putting in some very consistent racing performances in recent months and it is fantastic to see ongoing improvements in finishing times.

Hannah Hamilton didn’t quite get a PB, but did secure a PTPB – a post-Toby personal best – and was still inside 21 minutes, and first TRC runner home in the race, as well as fourth female overall.   Richard Jackson went under 22 minutes for an excellent 33rd position, while Paul Reeves and Collette Jackson were just a handful of places apart in 23.40 and 24.04 respectively.   Kevin Wood, 24.17; Jay Bartley, 28.26 and Mel Lloyd, 34.12 completed a strong showing from the club.  

To complete this brief report, just a few highlights from other races in March that haven’t been properly acknowledged. Apologies if I missed anyone out!

Despite the rumours that their agents were deliberately keeping them apart, we finally got to witness the clash between 10 times Thornbury parkrun winner Nick Williams, and 10 times Thornbury parkrun winner, Ben Bohane.  The Duel by the Dis-used Paddling Pool.   Who would prevail, and earn the title of the Mundy GOAT? That’s ‘goat’ as in the ‘greatest of all time’; the Mundy goat is the horned ruminant occasionally spotted at dusk chomping on the allotment brassicas.

Ben continues to amaze with the regularity and consistency of his racing performances, and he doggedly/goatedly tracked Nick on the first lap, before Nick’s awesome aptitude on the ascents and descents made the eventual difference.  Notwithstanding the soggy corners in the far field Nick had to equal his course PB of 17.31 – the fifth fastest time in the history of the event – in order to shake off Ben.   Ben smashed his PB, running 17.54, and was rightly, and understandably, delighted with that.

The following week saw the youngest ever winner at the Thornbury parkrun.  Well done to Thomas Darton who won in a fantastic time of 19.10.   “He’s big, he’s bad, he’s faster than his dad…!”

Ros Rowland and Jo Plumbley are TRC’s version of Thelma and Louise, but happily they tend to run along cliff edges rather than drive off them.   This weekend they were separated, with Jo running ridiculous distances in Spain, while Ros took on the challenge of the ‘Axe to Exe’ race – a 20 mile trail run which is so steep in parts they have installed steps.  Ros covered that ground in an amazingly rapid time of 4hrs and 20 mins.   She was fourth in her age category, which is a great result full stop, but when you realise that these relatively rare ultra races attract national, and even international standard fields, then that is all the more noteworthy.

If Ros and Jo are Thelma and Louise, then Paul Thomas is Forrest Gump; his jaw-dropping weekly mileage burnishing a Rolls Royce aerobic engine.   Paul is preparing for one of these crazy Ultras that TRC members seem to enjoy, and so used the Forest of Dean Spring Trails half-marathon by way of warm up.  He was rewarded with a rapid time of 1hr 34 mins, which is exceptionally good on such undulating terrain.

Paul only narrowly edged out Henry Orna, who ran his best race for some time, with an excellent 1 hr 35.   Paul Clark went under 1hr 40, with Richard Jackson just the other side of that time – both fine efforts on that course.  Chris Foley continued his impressive series of recent results with a 2hr and 16 min time, which ensured he was inside the top 10 in his age category: the only TRC runner to manage that feat.   Emma Barnes was the sole TRC lady, and she ran 2hrs and 22 minutes.

On Mothering Sunday, Theatre Royal matinee idol George Evans allowed his wife to look after the kids for a change while he stampeded through the Lee Valley to complete the half-marathon in the fabulous time of 1hr 24 mins and 33 seconds.   That placed him 9th overall in the entire race, which is an incredible achievement in an event that attracted well over 300 runners.