The Socially Distanced 2020 Cotswold Way Relay was completed throughout the month of July, with Clubs able to enter 10-person teams as usual, or select the 5 northern or 5 southern Stages.

There was a lot of interest from Thornbury, which allowed us to enter 8 teams; two teams of Veteran Men (over 40) and six Mixed teams, each of which required a minimum of 2 female runners.

As on this occasion it wasn’t necessary to declare beforehand who would be running in each team, we were able to submit the fastest times in one Vet and one Mixed team.

On the other hand, as usual a few people had to drop out, but we managed to find three quality replacements, though still had 3 No Runner Stages.

Rob Watkins’ team of Vets took 2nd place in their category, Garry Slater having run Stage 7 in under an hour to take his place in the Team which sadly meant Paul Clark and Rob Hopkins had to move aside. With Rob Watkins and Garry were Henry Orna, Martyn Green and Dave Beard, with a Team time of 6:29:48 behind Bath AC’s time of 6:23:10.

Another latecomer to the party, Nick Langridge, who commented on his inability to nowadays sprint up the field at the start of Stage 6 (Stroud to Dursley) still ran fast enough to take a place in the second Vet’s team which, with Paul Clarke, Paul Saville, Jim Godden and Moray Sloan came 4th in a total time of 7:07:32, third place having gone to another Bath AC team in 6:58:18.

The best of the rest were slotted first into Laura Orna’s team, who with Ben Bohane, Mitch Ford, Ros Rowland and Dylan Roberts were the fastest Mixed Team in the event with a time of 7:07:10. They were closely followed by Natalie Bennett’s team with Paul Thomas, Ben Foss, Mel Wilson and Adrian Savery in 7:25:12. Hogweed Trotters and BADdocs sARC took 3rd and 4th places, then it was Thornbury again, with Ian Evans, Chris Foley, Emma Barnes, Clare Watt & Kevin Wood 5th in 8:03:53 & Rich Forman, Nancy Harding, Taryn Roberts & Alan Gatling 6th in 8:22:06.

The remaining two teams which, like our 6th placed team, carried a non-runner came in 10th  (Kev Cundy, Rob Hopkins, Sarah Newnes & Rebekah Gatling) and 13th  (Sonya Bryson, Mike Bennewitz, Kevin Arnold & Judy Mills, which was no disgrace as there were 16 teams in the Mixed category.

The full results, available on event website  https://cotswoldwayrelay.co.uk/historical-records/2020-2/show that although we had no Stage winners from Thornbury, we had several 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Out of all the Teams taking part Rob’s Vets were 3rd and Laura’s Mixed 6th.

Besides getting Thornbury’s name up there amongst the winning teams, the event gave members a chance to get out and run together-yet-apart and allowed the competitive runners something to aim for.

We’d like to think we can do it as usual next year – until then, thank you all from me, for being so enthusiastic and flexible, and stay safe, stay fit,

Judy Mills

19 August 2020


Please all so see below for the Event Report from the Race Director 

Event Report

Socially Distanced Cotswold Way Relay July 2020

The Cotswold Way Relay organising committee decided to organise a virtual event to replace the traditional Cotswold Way Relay cancelled on July 4.

The results are posted on a shared google drive documents https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ 1LH0uMDCinRcWRnVF0QQBTFUKB6ukYxFIi6bcnLbtG68/edit?usp=sharing

  • 320 athletes completed a leg
  • 12 teams completed 10 stages
  • 34 teams completed the northern stages 1-5
  • 31 completed the southern stages 6-10

Some teams were faster than others, but everyone was a winner and did not get a medal a T shirt a goodie bag or special mention

Here are some comments I got from team captains:-

John Bartram, Chairman of the Cotswold Way association wrote: We are very grateful to yourself and your runners for combined donations of just over £400 to the Cotswold Way Association, plus gift aid which is applicable to most of the donations. We work very closely with the Trail Officer for the Cotswold Way and will ensure that the money is directed towards maintenance and improvements of the Cotswold Way. Many thanks to you and all the runners for your support.

Robin Bassford: We (wacky racers) really enjoyed the 5 stage format and ran legs 7-9 as an actual relay which was great fun (although I appreciate probably wouldn’t work for a race with lots competitors). Thanks so much again for organising the event.

Elaine Chapman: Also thank you so much for organising it. We loved the chance to have an excuse to get on the Cotswold way! It was great that we still got to be a part of it.

Judy Mills: Attached are the results for the 8 Thornbury RC Teams: Thanks for organising this; our Club has thoroughly enjoyed a bit of competition and a chance to get out for a run with a bit of purpose.

Rich Finch, Hogweeds: Thank you to you and your colleagues at Bath AC for organising this event. All the best and here’s to the us all being back together next year for next years race.

Gary MacAlister, AVR: Thanks Tom, Good luck with all the results. All our runners had a great time and really appreciated being able to get & and run.

Eithne Noonan, Westbury: Please find attached the results for Westbury Harriers vets team. We were slow but all thoroughly enjoyed our run and being out on the Cotswolds again. Thank you for organising the event and please let me know of any future events.

Alison Vaugniaux, TBAC: I have had really positive feedback from the ladies. The really enjoyed running their legs and everyone feels it was such a great idea.

James Thomas Cirencester : We at Cirencester AC entered 3 teams into the CWR this year and fully enjoyed it. Having spoken to a number of our members we feel that the ‘virtual’ method used this year works better than the original method. Reasons for this being: • It allows us and other clubs to enter more than 3 teams (we have too many runners keen to do it each year) • It allows for more flexibility around days and times (which can be most advantageous for those of us with kids) this can allow you to avoid hot days or at least the heat of the day.

  • It enables people to recce or run with friends on multiple legs.
  • It’s cheaper per person (the race has become a tad expensive in recent years – I am used to xc and fell race prices)
  • It can also allow for reattempts if something goes awry (our runners have done many things over the years from getting lost to passing out due to heatstroke)


Liza Bradshaw, CLC striders: Thanks – we really enjoyed this, and it came on the back of our club Cotswold Way challenge in June. Look forward to a time we can do it the old school way and we’ll be there with our water station when that happens.

Richard Bashford, Hawkesbury: We have now completed the run! Our team did all of the legs which was quite an achievement as we all live in Hawkesbury. Thank you very much for organising the virtual event. I think everybody enjoyed it. Even those of us who got a bit lost the first time and had to run their leg twice!

Paul Dodd Chepstow: Unfortunately, one of our team suffered a serious medical condition a couple of hours after (But unrelated to) the run. They are in ITU but stable and we wanted to let you know we could not get their Strava Link…… They found a time for him, so he was included! (If I collapse pause my Strava!)

Thoughts while organising:

Using GPS There have been a number of virtual events in the past 4 months. Many of you will have experienced the many ways these are managed. Certainly, Garmin and Strava have been a great salvation for events during Covid. We have all found ways which the system can be inaccurate; and of course, at the end of the day times are unverifiable because anyone can wear someone else’s watch. Some national events have tried their best to scrutinise the submitted data. We decided the spirit of this event was to get out onto the Cotswold way: That we would have no prizes and be low key about winners: Therefore, we could leave the Strava verification to the team captains. For me as a race organiser this was a master stroke as it saved me puzzling over hundreds of GPS files. It also put the responsibility for honesty in the lap of the team captain. I am sure that we could not have done this is Olympic Gold depended on it!

The business of Cut off times for each leg is no longer practically necessary as there is no need to close each leg and move teams on. However, it did provide a target which many people mentioned.

Thanks to all the Team captains who have not only organised the athletes but the timekeeping: this was a very cooperative event and I have enjoyed Email correspondence with clubs who are all cotswold way locals and supporters.

Thanks to Neil Hutchison who over the last 4 weeks has taught me everything I know about Excel. He designed a data completion sheet and a Data dump sheet and all the links to the individual category results and the final postings sheets.

Thanks also to David Bewick for email communications and website and Andy Mullet for The original impulse and the proposal that kickstarted this event We will be back and run this event in the old way as soon as possible but personally I can’t see this happening until a Corona vaccine is available to all

Tom Hutchison

Race Director

Cotswold Way Relay

For runners of all standards