Saturday 6th November meant it was time for the club’s parkrun of the month – held on this occasion at Berkeley Green. Even if the grounds of a discontinued nuclear power station stretches the definition of ‘park’ to breaking point, it is still a great venue with a fast and flat course.
Berkeley Green also attracts some fast runners chasing PBs, but none could top TRC’s dynamic duo of Taryn Roberts and Sean Leadbetter. Taryn was first female finisher, and 9th overall in 21:06. Her age-adjusted time was 0.06% better than Sean’s which is a fact that absolutely nobody will be interested in, but it does amuse the inner-Stato in me. Sean was runaway first finisher in 18:43, and the only man under 19 minutes- all the more impressive after the gruelling cross-country race of the week before.
There was a fine turnout from TRC members, and it was lovely to see the team photo posted up on Facebook. There’s not enough room to list everyone, but special mention to Jonathan Hall in 15th place, and 22:40; Kevin Arnold in a fine top-20 finish in a shade over 23 minutes; Chris Studley in a high 60% plus age-graded time; plus Tom Witherbed, glad to be back on terra firma after the mud of Ciren, with a new course PB of 26:34. For the women, Ashleigh Ferris missed her course PB by fractions (27:30); Emma Pritchard ran a strong 28:38. Well done also to Karen Carr and Kathy Willott who both recorded age-grade scores in the high 60s.
Last Saturday saw a rare running of the Thornbury parkrun in November. The Mundy playing fields is a wonderful location, but sadly it drains as slowly as the kitchen sink in Withnail and I, meaning winter cancellations are pretty frequent. So TRC members took advantage of a dry week of weather, perhaps mindful that this could be it until the Spring.
It’s always exciting to see new members improve week by week. However Asten Haynes seems to be the sort of runner who somehow gets fitter during a run. His progress is extraordinary, and he coasted to a first place finish in 18:56 – the sort of the time you usually only see on the hard ground of the summer, and even then rarely. Ben Bohane was close by in third place in 19:12. Ben seems to be racing each weekend which is remarkable, and has shown his flexibility in marathons, 10ks, cross-country and parkruns in the last two months alone. I don’t know where he gets his remarkable endurance from, although he does have young children, so it is possible that he expends less energy racing at 6-min mile pace than he does chasing after excited children on a weekend morning. It was also great to see Carol Mosses back racing after an injury lay-off. She ran alongside Karen Broadbent, finishing just outside 40 minutes.
Simon Pinnington went over to Wotton to try out the cross-country course ahead of the (now sadly cancelled) second Glos League race. Wotton is also hilly, muddy and uneven, so his time of 20:19 is an excellent one. Proof of that was his second place overall, and I hope he will forgive me for pointing out that it is extremely rare for a V50 to finish in second place in any parkrun given the quality of the local running scene. Fantastic run, Simon.
However even Asten and Simon might need to doff their Timberland trail caps to Hannah Hamilton who stormed to a first place finish, plus an incredible 8th overall at Chipping Sodbury in a shade over 21 minutes. Chipping Sodbury regularly gets 250-300 runners, so to win her race is a fantastic achievement.
Notwithstanding these heroic parkrun efforts, the club’s DNA is really out on the trails. Nick Williams was the winner of the CTS Gower Ultra, a 32 mile race including large parts of the Welsh coastal path, and nearly 4000 ft of climbing. Nick completed that race at an average speed of under 8 and a half minutes per mile, a pace many of us would be happy to hit on a flat road run a fifth of the distance.
Finally the Sodbury Slog returned, complete with mud, mud, glorious mud! There was yet another strong turnout from TRC members. Sean Leadbetter led the way with a 12th place finish in a high-quality men’s race. He finished in 1 hr and 8 mins, and anything under the 80 minute mark is very fast on that brute of a route. Ian Evans also made it home under that time, and just missed out on a top 20 age-category finish. Melanie Wilson was 24th in her age category, running 1hr 35. Kevin Cundy ran 1hr 43. Ian Hoffman beat the 2hr mark by 20 seconds; Hugh Mcpherson missed it by 20 seconds, but he was consoled by a top-25 age category finish. Judy Mills was in her element on those trails and was the only TRC runner to get on the virtual podium, recording a brilliant third place overall in her age category.