Gwent League Race 5, Blaise Castle: Report
Saturday saw the last of the season’s cross country races at the Blaise Castle Gwent League fixture. The course was drenched in English sun, a welcome respite from the terrible Welsh weather of recent fixtures, and the ground was in surprisingly good condition, some muddy sections as usual on this course but nothing in excess despite the rains of winter.
Paradoxically, the sun also brought out the Thornbury tent for a rare appearance, to protect us from sunstroke maybe. Where was it in the downpours of Pontypool and the storms of Brecon? The Thornbury flag fluttered adjacently to mark our position among the tents of the other clubs in tent city.
In order to get the results in for the later award presentations, the biggest races went first so it was the men’s 9.6 Km race that started the day. Andi Davies, seen prior to the race in rather fetching bandana and sunglasses, confirmed his position as club champion by storming off at the front and not being seen again until the end, finishing inside the top 50 at 48th in 38:08, an excellent result in this calibre of race. Andi finished as 8th Vet over all for the season, an excellent position.
Ashley Hodgetts made a welcome return from injury and, after setting out cautiously to test it out, felt confident enough to increase his pace, overtaking Gary Slater in the first lap to come in 71st in 39:48. Ashley was clearly very pleased with the outcome of his first race back. Gary maintained a decent gap to come in 87th in 40:39.
Steve Allen was next in, finishing just outside the top hundred at 106th in 41:50 and, thereby, losing a bet foisted on him by Pete Mainstone about how well he would do. Steve clearly has a lot to learn about dealing with Pete and his scams. Jack Grudgings turned out to make his debut for the club and, despite wearing racing flats, was able to run well enough on the grass and tracks and balance on the mud to achieve a good 163rd in 45:06.
Nick Langridge, suffering from the after effects of a bad cold, was not able to run at normal pace but still led in the V60 team at the back at 205th in 48:28. Jerry Clothier followed in 221st in 50:31 with Steve Dimond, who seemed to have forgotten to remove his tracksters in 225th in 51:54. Pete Mainstone, showing a complete lack of St. David’s Day Welsh spirit trailed in a forlorn 231st in 53:46.
With an eye on the divisions the first team finished a very good 4th on the day in Division 2 and 5th over all for the season, a slight drop on last season’s promotion push but a good mid table position considering the season’s staffing problems.
Over all, the first team were, again, a good 15th on the day and 21st for the season out of 116, the 2nd team being 57th on the day and 69th for the season.
The men’s vets team were an excellent 8th on the day and 14th for the season, the Vet 50 team 5th and 15th and the Vet 60 team 2nd on the day and 3rd for the season. Do our teams get better as they get older?
But it just goes to show that when we get our runners out we can achieve some excellent results. If only it could happen on a regular rather than intermittent basis.
In the ladies’ 4.9 Km race, Ros Rowland set off quickest again but was soon passed by Fiona Etherington. Fiona ran a beautifully judged race, staying within herself for the first lap and saving her strength for a push in the second while others were tiring. It was almost a surprise to see her so much further up the field in the second lap and a position of 32nd in 21:44 was a fine reward. Ros settled into a good pace and coming out of the woods for the last time was just in front of a large group of runners who, apart from one who took her on the line, she was able to hold off around the last field section, finishing 66th in 23:45. Ros finished 35th out of all runners and 6th Vet 45 for the season, a good reward for an excellent season’s contribution.
Nicki Davies felt that she did not have one of her better runs but still finished 102nd in 26:12. Judy ran consistently and with great concentration to come in at 130th in 27:47.
The ladies’ team were fighting off relegation from Division One but the good performances meant that the team finished 7th on the day and moved up one place away from relegation to 9th for the season. This was slightly lower than last year’s mid table position but a good save of the status after earlier staffing problems. Of course, the ladies’ team did lose one its stalwarts when Jo Plumbley went off to the Philippines part way through the season to undertake a 2 year Filipino maid training course. Pete has already expressed an interest, having experienced Lily doing Thai domestic duties for him. In the over all teams the ladies were 18th on the day and 19th for the season out of 81.
The Vet 35 team were 14th on the day and 10th for the season. The Vet 45 team were 9th on the day and 12th for the season, while the Vet 55 team were 8th for the day and 12th for the season.
The cake gap was filled by Nicki and Ros who brought some tasty specimens for all to enjoy. Ros will be repeating this but with curry at the End of Season Celebration (Commiseration?) at Thornbury Cricket Club on 20th March after club night – all invited, runners or not.
All that remained was to work out the complexities of packing the tent back up – “No, release the catch and push the pole down there”, “It needs to be folded up smaller than that”, “It’ll never fit in that pocket”, “Oh, yes it will”.
As we left we passed Steve’s daughter, Rosie, tears weeping down her face as she had only finished 4th in her junior race. Poor little thing! But that’s the passion we want to see, folks. Never mind, you’ll get them next time, Rosie. And she had, thereby, lost another bet to Pete (shame on you for exploiting minors).
The tent trundled on its wheeled case around the streets of Westbury, being manhandled up and down pavements by several runners, back to Ros’s van.
For full results see: http://www.gwent-league.org.uk/2013/res135.htm
Gwent League Race 4, Penlan Leisure Centre, Brecon: Report
Brecon; surrounded by Welsh hills. What a beautiful place to go running! As is common with Gwent League races, the Senior Ladies start is almost two hours before the Senior men, so to avoid too much waiting around in the hot sun, the Ladies – Ros, Judy and second-timer Elly Pyne travelled together earlier, remarking not only on the level of the rivers but also on the snow on the tops.
There was a bitter wind, and all three pairs of shoes were soaked before they reached the pavilion where all ages were trying to shelter with little success. A top corner in the Grandstand afforded just a little protection from sudden squalls of icy rain which came in with the gale-force wind.
The Course had been used the previous week for the Welsh Schools Championships, and hundreds of little feet had done a good job of churning it into wet mud. Nicky Davies sporting a thick woolly bobble hat lined-up with the others at the start and, the courses all having been shortened, there followed little more than 2 miles of a fight for survival. Ros (26:20) , whose forte is not physical strength spurred herself on with the idea that Judy might pass her at any time. Nicky ran a good strong race (28:21), Judy (29:52) had no thoughts of catching Ros, having suddenly lost sight of Nicky somewhere in the second lap, and Elly (37:35) sat down on the job.
There was definitely no inclination to wait around for the men to arrive and run. Nicky gathered Luke who had already won his race and drove home leaving Andi and Heidi to their own devices (they did have a second car!) and the others splashed back across the field to the relative warmth of Judy’s old Peugeot and tried to thaw out.
Meanwhile the men were set for their own adventure. With Andi and Steve Allen already there, Pete, Jerry, Mike Willis and Rob Hopkins travelled together. Steve’s daughter Rosie, now able to run due to the cancellation of the English Schools which was to have been held at Bournemouth, finished her race almost hypothermic and Dad rightly decided she needed him more than the TRC men’s team, so pulled out. Presumably Heidi had survived better (again winning her race) as Andi (39:58) was able to lead home the depleted team with Rob, strong as ever, not far behind (40:39). Mike (50:35) lost the sole of one shoe so continued with one set of spikes and one sock; far from ideal in the conditions. He was still able to stay ahead of Jerry (54:52) , while Pete (56:03) managed at least to keep the older man in his sight this week.
There is no doubt the rain had worsened throughout the afternoon, and they decided to try to shower before the journey home, though hampered by flooded showers and St John Ambulance personnel giving oxygen to a number of hypothermic runners. Thankfully the Severn Bridge was only closed to high-sided vehicles, and all reached Thornbury eventually and safely.
For full race results see: http://www.gwent-league.org.uk/2013/res134.htm
Gloucester League Race 4, Plock Court, Gloucester: Report
The course at Plock Court, Gloucester is not a favourite with real cross country runners: almost totally flat with several laps of two fields. True, there are usually wet and muddy sections – this year the only non-wet-and-muddy section was the concrete bridge connecting the two fields. Half of the first field was out of use being completely under water.
Again, the ladies were unable to send a full team, though Fiona Eatherington had another great run, finishing 14th in 29:19. Her tactic was to gain places by sheltering from the sharp and strong wind behind another runner, then scampering ahead to the next runner over the gentler sections. Judy Mills did no scampering at all, well, until the last 60m when in her version of a sprint finish she clawed back two of the four places she had just lost to come 82nd out of 100 in 38:13.
Thornbury Men’s team was dominated by the Over 60s in quantity if not quality. Having said that, Mike Willis’ performance was quality, as he finished first in the MV60 category, 92nd in 39:47. Bob Tyrrell in his first running race for two seasons did well to hang on to the old man’s heels, only losing contact in the final lap and finishing 98th in 40:23. Youngster (it’s all relative) Kevin Arnold was next, 144th in 44:59.
Steve Dimond and Jerry Clothier looked as though they were out for a social run, staying together throughout the race to finish 153rd/154th in 45:56/45:57. They claim they were both racing as hard as they could and to be fair they did beat Pete Mainstone who was not having a good day and came 169th in 51:17. He consoled himself that at least there were two runners behind him, then found that even one of these had dropped out.
This being the last Gloucester League race of the season, the mayor was in attendance and wellies, for the presentations. Given the reports and tales of no-shows and disasters, readers may be surprised to hear that even Thornbury won something – but it won’t be on this site until the results are official!
Gloucester League Race 3, Malvern Common: Report
The third Goucester League fixture took place on Malvern Common and proved to be a total disaster for the club. With some unavailability and last minute withdrawals we were unable to raise a single team in any category in both the men’s and women’s events. This means that the club is now ejected from all the team standings for the Gloucester League in all senior and veteran’s categories.
The shame of it was that this was a new course to the Gloucester League and what many would term “a proper cross country course”. It had a bit of everything – hills, descents, firm going across the moors, some muddy sections, stream crossings, a section through woods, tracks, paths and gulleys – and the few who did turn up all enjoyed the challenge, even the strong wind.
Ros Rowland was the only competitor in the women’s race and battled gamely, gaining some places in the second lap to finish 35th in 33:48 and 4th LV50
In the men’s race Rob Hopkins led the contingent home in 82nd place in 43:33. Nick Langridge came in 116th in 47:25 and 3rd V60. Behind them Jerry Clothier had a good day reversing last week’s result on Steve Dimond and even holding off 2nd claim Chris Ashworth running for Dursley for 153rd position in 52:50. Steve struggled with what he said was a lack of energy feeling and trooped in to finish at 165th in 54:03. We all have them, Steve.
19 men’s teams and 20 women’s teams completed the course but Thornbury were not among them. We were soundly trounced by Dursley, local rivals we have had the better of so far and who will now beat us easily.
We drove home having thoroughly enjoyed the event for ourselves but somewhat deflated at the lack of any teams, calling into question the captains’ efforts and club incentives to support the only real event where we regularly compete as a team.
Gwent League Race 3, University of Bath: Report
The University of Bath was the venue for the 3rd Gwent League fixture of the season and saw 2 debuts and Andi Davies knocked off his perch in a last gasp finish.
The course was the now usual one around the big field with the ladies completing 3 circuits for 4.7 K and the men 1 complete circuit and 3 with the added V shape towards the bottom and back up making 7 ascents of the slope in their 10.3 K. As 3 county championships were being contested in the same races there was again a large field with nearly 400 in the men’s race, which posed some challenges in moving through the field on the first lap. The conditions were firm going and good weather.
The ladies’ race was first off with a now familiar pattern of Ros Rowland jetting off to the front while Jo Plumbley hung back to admire the scenery before she decided to move up to race pace. Neither of them could catch Fiona Etherington who had another really good run at the front to finish 46th in 22:08. Ros then stalled while she recuperated from the start for 111th in 24:47, allowing Becky McInnes to overtake her in 106th in 24:35. Jo, once she decided to find her stride passed both of them to finish 96th in 24:02, although it was still close with all 3 in the same minute. Nicky Davies followed them in at 149th in 26:23.
Sandra Webber made her debut after many years of not competing and was all smiles at the end of the first lap but definitely showing the effort required by the end of the last one and puffed in at 173rd in 27:42 to gasp that it was a hard way to get a cheap jacket. (Only £10 for a special Thornbury Cross Country customised jacket if you complete 3 races).
Elly Pyne was another debutant but didn’t quite have the right idea, pausing to aid another runner who had stopped for the call of nature by providing some sort of shield to help cover her embarrassment. In normal life that’s all very well but in a race… Elly finished 196th in 29:31 and was roundly castigated by Jo for uncompetitive behaviour. Elly protested that she thought it was a cooperative event – you have much to learn, grasshopper. Nevertheless, Elly enjoyed it so much that she already has her name down for next week’s race – please note, those who haven’t been to cross country, yet.
The women’s first team finished 6th in Division 1 and pulled themselves out of the relegation zone and into 9th for the season – see what happens when you turn out! The women’s teams were 13th and 49th over all out of 57. The women’s vet team was 8th out of 36.
In the men’s race all the action was at the front where young Ashley Hodgetts found himself right behind Andi Davies and hung on to him all the way round 4 laps until the last corner at the top of the last climb and made a burst down to the finish to beat Andi by just 2 places and 2 seconds, being 128th and 130th in 38:02 and 38:04 respectively, reversing their previous meetings. (It’s really annoying when somebody does that to you but well done, Ashley, an improving young runner).
Steve Allen returned after some niggling injury and finished well in 226th in 41:02 but was put to shame by daughter Rose who put so much effort into coming 2nd in her junior race that she threw up afterwards. Come on, Steve, you are obviously not trying hard enough. Rose has promised to train him up properly for the next race. Rob Hopkins followed not far behind for 240th in 41:33.
Then followed the men’s V60 team, a full team of 5 V60s. Mike Willis made a welcome return from injury and, after a cautious start, caught Nick Langridge on the 2nd lap to pull away at the front for 265th in 42:46. Nick, showing that three weeks trolling round South America need not be a barrier to performance, more or less maintained pre-expedition form for 299th in 44:41, although the last lap was somewhat painful. He was followed by an elegant Steve Dimond at 351st in 48:11, Jerry Clothier at 360th in 49:55 and a lumbering Pete Mainstone at 374th in 52:46, who was just 10 places ahead of John Watt who claimed the lantern rouge for the day at 384th in 59:10 but nevertheless had a good time doing it (and he did beat 11 runners who failed to finish).
You will have noticed from this that half the men’s team were V60s. Come on you younger ones, you can’t rely on the old blokes all the time.
The full turnout of V60s did, however, allow the team to finish 2nd in their team category. Elsewhere in the teams, the men finished 9th in Division 2 but are still comfortably mid table in 6th for the season. Over all, the men’s teams were 31st and 58th out of 88 and the Vets team 12th out of 53.
The only disappointment was Claire, who failed to provide John with any cake to bring at all.
Results: see http://www.gwent-league.org.uk/2013/res133.htm
Gwent League Race 2, Bridgend: Report
The usual contributor has flown off to South America so this week’s report has been written by a substitute. No prizes for guessing who!
Sunday 10th November brought in a trip to the sunnier climes of Bridgend. The sky was blue, the sun shone, the grass was green and I swear that as I was running I could hear hymns and arias in the distance.
The ladies race was very early and a huge thank you must go both to Ros who drove all the way on her own and Nicki who were our only representatives. Should the ladies survive not being relegated this season it could be down to these two for their efforts. The course is very flat with one minor hill toward the end of each lap, it was a pleasure to run on grass rather than thick gooey mud that had been negotiated at Pontypool. Also there was no chance of drowning in the flash flooding.
The men’s race some saw a group of younger runners ply their trade in God’s own country only to be shown a clean pair of heels once again by Andi Davies who once again finished very high up in what this year seems to be a much bigger field. Ash came in next having another consistent race. Jo Firth was much further back than would be expected, was it something to do with the fact he was also listening to the hymns and arias? Or was it that the fact he was not well? Steve Dimond showed that being over 60 is no reason to stay at home on a sunny afternoon, whilst Jerry Clothier is subject to a stewards enquiry and drug testing due to the fact that he’s getting quicker at 65. However spending a glorious day in the sun and still mourning the fact that Wales had had a minor mishap the day before at rugby could account for the fact that Pete Mainstones running is rapidly going downhill.
All in all it was not Thornbury’s best day at Cross Country. Just bring on The next race at Bath University……
Results: see http://www.gwent-league.org.uk/2013/res132.htm
Gloucester League Race 2, Cheltenham: Report
The 2nd Gloucester League fixture saw us arrive at a windswept Pittville Park in Cheltenham for the usual run around the golf course,tennis courts, a jump across the stream, through the wooded area, around the football pitch, up and along an embankment to the rise to the finish. Although not a steep course it has plenty of rises, twists and turns and changes in terrain to make it, as somebody said, “a course that makes you work at it all the way round”. After recent rain the course was surprisingly quite dry and the going firm with mud on just a few corners. It was to prove a successful day for the ladies’ teams but a tad disappointing for the men’s teams.
The ladies were first to brave the windy conditions on their 2 lap race. Fiona Eatherington quickly went to the front of the Thornbury contingent and stormed round in 21st place in 27:24, the performance of the day for the club in an increased field of 152. Jo Plumbley made her customary 2nd lap surge and moved through the field to finish 47th in 29:28. Claire Demarquet had Jo in her sights for a while and closed up behind at the end of the first lap but couldn’t keep Jo’s pace in the second, still finishing well in 52nd in 29:24. Ros kept a more even pace to her race than her usual rocket start and was not far behind Claire in 60th in 30:06. Nicki Davies had another sound race for 88th in 32:49. Judy Mills completed the team in 115th in 34:42, well away from the back of the field.
An increased number of 39 teams competed from the 1st fixture and the strong showing of the front 3 of Fiona, Jo and Claire gave them a highly impressive 9th place while the 2nd team of Ros, Nicki and Judy were 26th.
In the vets teams, Jo, Ros and Nicki made up the team which finished a very creditable 9th out of 24.
By the time of the men’s race the wind seemed to have increased and it was something of a battle to push into it back down the golf course and into the football pitches and not to get blown sideways on the open approach along the stream, especially when cold, slanting rain was added to the equation in the 3rd lap. It didn’t seem to bother Andi Davies though as a large field of around 260 runners set off and he breezed through the conditions for 42nd in 36:17. Behind him Gary Slater and Rob Hopkins had a close battle for the first lap but then Gary stormed ahead for 100th in 39:13. Rob, blown off course a bit, and maybe with some post 40th birthday syndrome thrown in, still managed a good 116th in 39:41.
There was then a gap before Nick Langridge, gaining places from the middle of the first lap, it’s much harder to get going these days, came a windblown 183rd in 43:56. Matt Wolstenholme, having supported Fiona at 2 races and seen what fun cross country is, decided to test the water, literally at the stream crossing, and made his debut in a gusty 220th in 46:55. Let this be an example to you all that you should give cross country a go. There is cake. Steve Dimond was close behind for a blowy 223rd in 47:09. Jerry Clothier sailed into 238th in 48:49, holding off Pete Mainstone who blustered around for 245th in 50:14. Last man in was Watty who rose a hurricane, stomping up the last rise like a heaving rhino, he was encouraged to put in a final sprint but was unable to oblige, achieving 254th and penultimate position in the race in 55:44. Admirably, he did produce Clare’s cake as soon as he had finished.
Lacking some of the younger runners from previous races, the team position was a disappointing 22nd out of 26. You see, these young runners come along, put in a couple of flashy performances and then they’ve had it, no staying power, the younger generation. All right, prove me wrong then.
The vets team finished 15th out of 24.
As we left, just to remind us of Pontypool, the heavens opened and the rain poured down, but we’d finished just in time to escape it this week.
The teams are struggling for numbers for next week’s Gwent League fixture as some have opted to do some strange novelty event in Chipping Sodbury instead of a proper race. So, if you are intrigued by cross country, where the proper runners go, and want to know why we do it year after year now is the time to give it a go.
Gwent League Race 1, Pontypool: Report
You know how you watch the weather forecast sometimes and the weather turns out nothing like they say. Well, Pete’s forecast for Pontypool was just like that. Pontypool was a new course to us but had been chosen for the anniversary venue as the very first Gwent League fixture had taken place here 50 years earlier in 1963. The first thing we noticed was the lack of flatness. Apart from a small initial loop the rest of the course went up a steep hill, round a field at the top and back down again, twice for the ladies and four times for the men, behind the rugby pitch, cue sermon on Pontypool front row.
Registration produced two awards left over from last season, a 3rd Vet 40 medal for Andi Davies and a runners-up trophy for the men’s Vet 60 team.
The weather was overcast but fine and the going largely firm. However, shortly before the ladies’ race a few drops of rain fell which soon became heavier and quickly became a deluge of biblical proportions. Flash floods appeared on the paths around the leisure centre and the course became instantly quagmired. We stood forlornly under out now useless tree getting wetter and wetter. If this was God’s own country, as some would contend, then we were very definitely in the Noah’s Ark chapter.
The poor ladies had to change for their race during this downpour and then stand around waiting for the start. We heard a gun go off and the large anniversary field of 232 disappeared in a wave of water. It was difficult to see what was going on but through the curtain of rain we vaguely saw some light blue and red as Fiona, Jo, Ros and company passed round the short laps and disappeared towards the hill. Sometime later they returned to the tree one by one. Fiona Eatherington led the way home in a very good 52nd place in 21:40, followed by Jo Plumbley, 81st in 23:29, Ros Rowland 91st in 24:09, Nicki Davies 143rd in 26:25, Judy Mills 181st in 28:22, and Selina Slater 202nd in 30:06. All brave performances in the conditions. One of the ladies actually said that she’d enjoyed it even though she wasn’t trying but not to tell anyone so I won’t as I wouldn’t like to betray Jo’s confidence.
The ladies’ first team came a good 17th out of 64 and 9th out of 12 in the 1st division. The vets were 9th out of 39.
By the start of the men’s race it had actually stopped raining and the sun came out for a while but the damage to the course had been done. It was difficult to see what was going on around you as you had to concentrate on your feet and the sliding crowd of runners as almost 400 starters set off through the water and skiddy mud. I never saw anyone from Thormbury during the race apart from lapping John but Andi Davies ran on water to finish a brilliant 83rd in 33:38. Ash Hodgetts in only his second outing splashed his way into the top 100, finishing 99th in 34:12. Doug Herbert slid round not far behind for 108th in 34:37. The two Robs and Garry kept close to each other and swapped places just behind with Garry Slater prevailing and splattering into 117th in 34:51, Rob Hopkins squelched into 122nd in 35:04 and Rob Watkins sloshed into 127th in 35:18.
There was then a gap until Nick Langridge, having trouble standing on the descents slithered into a lowly 284th in 41:41. Jerry Clothier floundered into 353rd in 46:19, ahead of Pete Mainstone wallowing into 362nd in 48:12. John Watt was last in, swimming into 378th in 58:43.
The great grouping just before and after 100 brought the men’s team into 18th with the seconds 58th out of 95. The first team were also 5th in Division 2 and the vets teams 13th and 51st out of 57. The men’s vet 60 team were 4th – we need more old men to turn out.
So, all of you who enter races like the Sodbury Slog to get as muddy as you can , why not give cross country a go? It can be just as much fun! Ha! Ha!
Claire Watt didn’t run but her lemon drizzle cake was appreciated.
As we left, just to remind us, it started raining again and we travelled home in our soaking wet clothes. Beware Pete Mainstone’s Welsh forecasts.
For full results see: http://www.gwent-league.org.uk/2013/sl131i.htm
Gloucester League Race 1: Report
The traditional sunshine of the first fixture greeted us as the Cross Country season opened with the Gloucester League fixture at the Cotswold Farm Park venue. Thornbury arrived with a ladies’ team of 7 and a men’s team of 8 including 3 debutants, and, promisingly, young debutants at that.
The course was completely dry and stony in places across 3 fields and through a section in the woods and with a particularly awkward humpy area round the start/finish loop that nobody really enjoys, especially when you have to do it one last time at the end of the race.
The ladies 6.5 Km race was off first and Ros Rowland made her customary electric start and subsequent slow down as she suffered her usual anaerobic phase. Fiona Eatherington soon came to the front of the Thornbury runners as Ros slowed and ran strongly throughout, gradually increasing her lead over her team mates, to finish a very good 20th in 27:04. Jo Plumbley, making a more considered start eased into her running and made her typical surge from mid-race, overtaking Ros and Claire to come in 2nd for the club and 40th overall in 29:01. Claire Demarquet, having passed Ros, hung on to Jo to finish close behind in 43rd in 29:19, a really good debut race. Ros recovered enough to chase Jo and Claire in but couldn’t quite overtake them finishing only 4 seconds behind Claire in 44th place in 29:23.
Nicki Davies couldn’t catch the first four but had a sound race for 68th place in 31:48.
Further back Judy Mills and Selina Slater had their own battle with Judy running consistently to finish 92nd in 34:45 and Selina was 101st in 35:16.
The ladies had enough runners for two teams with the first team coming in 7th and the second team 19th out of 29 teams. The Veteran team were 8th out of 20.
In the men’s 9.5 Km race Doug Herbert, on debut, as he later admitted, set off far too fast, then lost places as he tired, but recovered for the third lap. Although leading the Thornbury contingent early on he was overtaken before the end of the first lap by the more experience Rob Cowlard and Andi Davies who paced themselves much better. Rob didn’t let the fact that he had turned up late deflect him and had an excellent run in 33:39 for 28th place and 2nd Vet 40. Andi also had his usual strong run finishing 34th in 34:16 and 3rd Vet 45. Doug’s recovery brought him home 55th in 35:37.
Ash Hodgetts, also on debut, suffered similar problems to Doug but had a bright start in cross country with 72nd place in 36:29. They both found that cross country isn’t as easy as it looks but will improve as they gain experience and learn how to run such events.
Rob Hopkins, despite a spanking brand new pair of spikes, freshly bought at the race stall, found that they didn’t give him any extra turbo-charge and he was unable to make an impression on the first four but still had a sound finish in 94th place in 37:20.
Further back Jim Williams and Nick Langridge had their own private battle. Jim prepared by having a large packed lunch before the race which probably didn’t help and, although he set off quicker, was caught by Nick towards the end of the first lap. Nick gained places and pulled away from Jim to finish 142nd and 2nd Vet 60 in 40:41, while Jim trailed behind in 172nd place in 42:43 and then had a great big cake. Obviously, some serious training and a proper dietary regime are needed here if Jim is to regain his former glories.
Jerry Clothier completed the men’s team in 214th place in 47:22 and was the last counter for the Vets’ team.
Both the men’s team and the Vets’ team finished 9th in their categories out of 22 and 21 teams respectively.