An injury-depleted team of 10 Thornbury RC runners arrived for the 30th edition of Dursley Dozen on Sunday. Despite many of the TRC team succumbing to injury and illness in the week leading up the race, the very hilly Dursley course had been a happy hunting ground in recent years with several team prizes and good results from individual runners.
A trio of Thornbury men formed a group near the front of the race after the start. Rob Watkins led Matt Johnstone and Dylan Roberts up the steep gradient towards Stinchcombe Golf Course for the first time, with the sound of cowbells ringing in the air from the supporters.
The first cracks in the partnership emerged up the aptly named Breakheart Hill at the half-way mark. Dylan recovered quickest after the ascent and opened a gap before entering the lunar-looking terrain of Breakheart Quarry.
The rope-assisted Precipice at the 9-mile mark seems like a sheer face of mud, which the runners do their best to pull and scramble up towards the golf course for the final time. Dylan’s family were cheering loudly at the top of the hill and gave him the boost he needed to hold off the fast-finishing Rob Watkins, crossing the line in Dursley town centre in 13th place overall in 1 hour 35:16 mins, almost 8 minutes faster than he managed the year before. Rob Watkins was only 5 seconds behind in 14th place and 2nd place in M45 age category.
The team prizes were decided by the points won from the top 4 runners from each club and the next 2 TRC runners were Matt Johnstone in 18th place in 1 hour 36:28 mins and Dave Beard in 28th. Dave’s time of 1 hour 40:20 mins was over 6 minutes faster than his effort in 2018. Thornbury’s men were rewarded for their consistency by winning the overall men’s team prize for the first time, edging out the hosts from Dursley Running Club by a slim margin.
Thanks to Paul Clark, who was the 4th Thornbury Vet to finish, they also retained the Men’s Vets team prize for the third year in a row. Paul finished 40th place in 1 hour 42:16 mins.
Henry Orna was making a comeback after a recent back injury and adopted a more cautious approach to avoid a further flare up. Henry finished 46th in 1 hour 42:55 mins. Jim Godden was next to finish in 56th in 1 hour 44:54 mins and bagged another good result in his age category, finishing 2nd in MV55.
The biggest improvement of the day went to Ian Evans, who took 10 mins from his 2018 performance, finishing with a sprint in 71st place in 1 hour 48:19 mins.
Thornbury’s women have made a habit of upstaging the men this season and Hannah Kinloch Haken continued this theme as she achieved the best individual result on the day. In her first race on the Dozen course, Hannah finished 5th out of 167 women and 82nd overall. Her time was 1 hour 50:27 mins and she was 2nd in the 18-39 age category.
Sarah Newnes was another who was making her Dozen debut and finished in 294th place in 2 hours 24:45 mins.
There were several lone TRC runners scattered on the parkrun courses on Saturday. Nick Langridge ran 22:35 mins on the Stonehouse course, Paul Thomas ran 20:30 mins on the Kingsway course in Gloucester, Anne Palmer ran 37:00 mins at Ashton Court and Katherine Adams ran 29:02 mins at Eastville Park.
Elsewhere, Paul Saville and Laura Orna ran 20:24 mins and 21:31 mins at Chipping Sodbury, followed by Kevin Wood 22:53 mins, Josie Cole 28:44 mins, Pamela MacLeod 33:50 mins and Carol Mosses 38:57 mins.
Chris Foley and Ian Shepherd ran Severn Bridge parkrun in 25:38 mins and 31:29 mins, respectively.