Here is the belated posting of last week’s write up including the very slippy Old Down cross country race. Hannah has scooped the first prize of the year – lifting the women’s XC title for 2019/20 in an incredibly efficient and ruthless manner – 3 wins from 3 races.
The second round of the Gloucestershire Cross Country League rolled into Old Down Country Park on Saturday and there were 15 Thornbury RC runners amongst the field of men and women who were taking part. The previous race in November was called off due to heavy rain and despite a heavy downpour on Saturday morning, the afternoon’s contests were in chilly but dry conditions. That said, the ground was exceptionally heavy going and there were several examples of runners skidding to an ignominious heap as they lost their footing on the sharp corners and bends on this hilly and technical course.
The women and men over 65 years old ran in the 3 laps 7k race. For the third cross country race in a row, Hannah Hamilton was the first Thornbury women to cross the line, her final position was 29th in 35:10 mins, which has impressively already secured her the club cross championships for the season. Melanie Wilson continues to make big improvements and was only a short distance behind in 32nd place in 35:43 mins and 3rd in the LV35 age category, followed by a resurgent Joanne Plumbley in 55th in 38:08 mins, who was positively enjoying the hard conditions. Thornbury’s top-performing age group runner was Clare Watt, who was the second LV55 to finish in 39:34 mins. Chris Foley was the first of the 2 Thornbury men in the MV65 age category to finish in 79th place in 41:28 mins, followed by Mike Bennewitz in 98th in 43:39 mins. Judy Mills was not far behind in 102nd place in 44:27 mins.
The men’s 10k race followed shortly after the final women crossed the line and due to a later than advertised start time, the temperature levels had dropped, and the light was starting to dim in the woods.
There was the usual rush at the start of the race as the field of 161 men jockeyed for early positions. Nick Williams set off at a very fast pace and held his position as the first Thornbury runner to record a very good first race of the cross-country season in 47th place in 44:43 mins. Martyn Green and Matt Johnstone ran the first lap relatively close together before Martyn started moving away over the rest of the race and finished in 74th place in 47:00 mins. Matt soon felt the effects of an overly ambitious first mile and toiled away thereafter to finish in 81st place in 47:44 mins. Henry Orna gauged his effort well after a more cautious opening and ran through the field in the second half of the race in 89th place in 48:35 mins, followed by Will Hamilton in 94th in 49:42 mins and George Evans in his first race for the club in 97th in 49:44 mins. Jim Godden was 116th in 49:44 mins, Moray Sloan made a welcome return in 136th in 55:46 mins and Duncan Pauly finished 159th place in 1 hour 5:57 mins. Duncan made his debut in the same race last year and showed a huge improvement by knocking off 5 mins from his 2018 time in much harder conditions.
In the team competition, the Thornbury women were 10th out of 29 teams and the Lady Vets Team (35 years and older) were 7th out of 19 teams. Thornbury’s men were one place better in 9th place, albeit there were only 14 teams and their Vets team (40 years and older) were 7th out of 10 teams.
The Westonbirt House Christmas 10k on Sunday featured 3 Thornbury runners in a bumper field. Shelley Honey ran an exceptionally well-paced race, her first 5k and second 5k ran were exactly the same time. Shelley was the 20th woman and 100th overall in 48:44 mins. Arthur Renshaw was 428th in 1 hour 3:27 mins, followed by Emma Abrahams in 732nd place in 1 hour 25:01 mins.
As many of the Thornbury runners were occupied in the cross country in the afternoon, there were less taking part in the parkruns on Saturday morning. Garry Slater ran 23:04 mins in Wotton, John Grimsey ran 43:21 mins in Burnham and Highbridge, Brian Godsman finished Skatas in 26:38 mins and Ann Green did the out and back on Severn Bridge in 31:09 mins. In Chipping Sodbury, David Palmer ran 29:11 mins and Mel Lloyd in 29:44 mins.