The wet and windy autumnal weather can mean only one thing for a club runner: the start of the cross-country season. Thornbury’s runners responded to the rallying call from their Cross-Country Captain, Joanne Plumbley, and a team of 22 runners braved the water-logged fields at Wotton Parc for the first round of the Gloucester league on Sunday.
The 6.4K race featured a huge field of almost 200 runners, including all the women runners and men over 65 years old. Hannah Kinloch Haken led the team of 13 Thornbury runners from the start and had a good race, finishing in 40th place in 26:32 mins. Laura Orna is returning to form after a long injury layoff and was 55th in 27:12 mins. Late entry, Melanie Wilson, showed some great early season promise in 62nd place in 27:41 mins. Sophie McPhillips made a good debut in 104th in 30:36 mins, followed by the more experienced Rosina Rowland in 109th and 3rd MV55 in 30:39 mins, Joanne Plumbley was next in 146th in 32:44 mins and Sarah Newnes followed in 152nd in 33:32 mins. Judy Mills was 158th and, like Rosina, came in the top 3 in her age group, finishing 3rd MV60 in 34:13 mins. Rebecca Twyman was 184th in 40:26 min. Lynne Turner and Carol Mosses will reflect on a memorable first cross-country for the club and finished 185th and 191st, respectively, in 40:44 mins and 49:32 mins.
In the MV65 and MV70 age category race, Mike Bennewitz was 7th and 120th overall in 31:13 mins and Steve Dimond 8th and 125th overall in 31:35 mins.
Valuable intel from the Thornbury women, as well as the sight of seeing several of their teammates heading face-first into the water hazards, meant the men knew what to expect from the heavily churned course in their 9.6K race. Martyn Green made a welcome return to the team and made light work of the conditions to finish in 76th in 38:22 mins. Rob Watkins was next in 90th place in 38:59 mins, followed by Henry Orna in 116th in 39:56 mins. Ben Foss was 116th in 41:05 mins and Matt Butler made his debut cross-country for the club in 119th in 41:27 mins. Robert Hopkins overtook several runners in the second half of the race to finish in 149th in 43:51 mins, followed by Richard Jackson 165th 45:00 mins, the ever-present Kevin Arnold in 179th 47:01 mins and Duncan Pauly making a return to the team in 196th in 52:51 mins.
Individual glory in the races is important but there is a healthy rivalry between the clubs in the team competition. Thornbury’s top 4 women comprised the A team and finished in a commendable 10th place out of 42 teams. The B and C teams finished 28th and 39th. In the women’s vets’ competition for over 35s, there was another top-10 place for the A team in 9th out of 28 teams, the B team finished 24th and the C team were 28th.
Thornbury’s first 6 men to finish scored points towards the men’s team competition and finished in 14th out of 21 teams. The male vets were 10th out of 17 teams.
Paul Saville and friends enjoyed a weekend away in Croatia and capped it all with a run in the Zagreb Half Marathon. On a hot day for running, Paul ran well to finish in 143rd place in 1 hour 33:38 mins.
Elsewhere, Thornbury’s parkrun results included a 20:24 mins effort from Paul Clark in Eastville Park. In Chipping Sodbury, Garry Slater ran 20:17 mins, followed by Chris Foley in 25:15 mins and Rachel Murphy 34:07 mins. On Severn Bridge, Kevin Arnold ran 22:42 mins, followed by Roger Glew 23:47 mins, Tom Witherbred 24:12 mins and Chris Lee 25:00 mins. Ross Phillips was the first Thornbury runner to try the Clevedon Salthouse Fields course and ran 23:17 mins.
On what is reputed to be the hardest parkrun course in UK, David Palmer finished the Woolacombe Dunes course in 33:01 mins.
Update – news of Taryn’s epic performance in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii to follow next week…