race report for w/e 23rd and 30th April

Thornbury Running Club members have a penchant for races that include meal breaks.

I am not sure which of Ben Bohane and Paul Thomas’ achievements at the Pembrokeshire Ultra is the most impressive. Is it their finishing positions: an outstanding 6th overall for Ben, and 23rd for Paul, (but third VM50)? Or the distance covered – a staggering 34.7 miles including sections on the steep coastal path, and some calf-crushing bits on the beach? Or perhaps their ability to eat the calorific equivalent of three roast dinners and still keep running for up to 6 hours?

Well done to both. As I have remarked before, Ben’s range from sub 18 min 5ks, to marathons and ultras, is truly extraordinary. Paul’s focus to his training, and continued improvement, even while competing in the more venerated age categories, is an inspiration and example to all his club team mates.

On the same day, Simon Pinnington, another VM50, showed lots of young whippersnappers how to run, with a brilliant third place overall in a gruelling duathlon, featuring two separate, lung-busting runs, either side of a gentle bike ride. OK, the bike ride was clearly not gentle, but this is a running race report! Congratulations to Simon, who I think stands a very good chance of going under 40 minutes at next week’s Berkeley 10k.

Onto the parkruns, taking place on Saturday 23rd and 30th April. Once again conditions could hardly have been better, and TRC members spanned the county in a quest for new PBs.

At Berkeley Green, Jonathan Greenwood ran a 24:29 PB, along with Jane Leslie who ran her best time in 29:35. Jane’s run merited a very impressive 77% age-graded score. At Wotton, club captain Kevin Wood finished a fraction outside of 24 minutes, but finished in fourth place overall. Wotton is a tough, hilly course, and you have to be strong to maintain a good pace on the final sections of the race. Those track and hill sessions are clearly working, Kevin! At the enigmatically named East Park, Kevin Arnold finished in 11th place and ran 22:35. Tetbury Goods Shed parkrun is far more pleasant than it sounds, with some grass and woodland paths to go alongside the disused branch line. Its not an especially quick course, so the prolific Simon Pinnington did very well to finish in second place overall in 20:39.

Onto the 30th April, and at the Mundy playing fields, Asten Haynes recorded his third win at the event, sprinting to victory in 19:04, just 8 seconds outside his course PB. As is usual at our home parkrun, TRC members followed home at frequent intervals. Andrew Darton, Tom Usherwood and Kevin Arnold were 9th, 10th and 11th and fewer than 45 seconds apart. Mel Lloyd is putting in some consistent performances and should be pleased with a 31:45 effort on this undulating, grassy course.

Severn Bridge is of course all tarmac, and any time the breeze barely troubles the Beaufort Scale, discerning parkrunners tend to stream along the M48. On Saturday we had over 200 runners, a full quarter of whom came from across the South West as the Vegan Runners club had an away day. I’m not sure what the collective noun for a group of vegans is – a Verisimilitude? a Thunberg? – but they were a colourful and fun addition to the race, and provided the winner for both the women’s and men’s races from among their number.

Sean Leadbetter was saving his legs for a triathlon the following week, but he still ran a very fine 17:47. Dylan Roberts was recovering from a triathlon the previous week, yet was able to run an impressive 18:13. Paul Harrod had no excuse for not going full pelt, and so was happy to record a parkrun PB of 17:52.

Richard Jackson finished in his own PB of 21:31 and was 27th overall. Catherine Dack was only 10 seconds outside of her best ever run at the event, but still finished 18th in the women’s race and with a 70% plus age-graded score. Jon Welsh also narrowly missed his best time, running 24:48, and Jane Broadhurst knocked 11 seconds of her PB to finish in 25:08.