All the new trainers, clothes and running gadgets Thornbury’s runners were given received their first airing in a busy schedule of races and parkruns between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The Boxing Day race in Clevedon attracts a stellar field of local runners to this 4-mile road race. There were 3 Thornbury runners and the first to finish was Jo Williams who finished in 353rd place overall out of just under 1,000 runners in 31:54 mins, followed by Mark William in 443rd in 33:38 mins and Janet Gaze in 684th in 38:40 mins.
The Wye Wander on 29th December was the last race in 2019 featuring Thornbury runners. Starting from next to Chepstow Racecourse, before heading into the woods and along the narrow and treacherous Wye Valley paths perched high above the river, this 5.5-mile off-road race is a good test of stamina and avoiding the many roots and rocks which are scattered along the route. Matt Johnstone was 8th out of 193 runners and 3rd MV40 in 35:04 mins and David Palmer was 103rd and 1st in the MV70 age category in 51:01 mins.
There is no rest for the many heroic parkrun volunteers who ensure the events run on Christmas and New Year Day. On Christmas Day, Clare Watt and John Watt ran 24:55 mins and 32:39 mins, respectively, in a field of 793 runners in Coventry and Roger Glew finished Clair in West Sussex in 25:39 mins. In Chipping Sodbury, Kevin Wood ran 22:55 mins, Paul Saville 24:52 mins and Christopher Pritchard 28:04 mins. On Severn Bridge, Kevin Arnold was the first Thornbury finisher in 22:29 mins, Chris Lee was next in 27:13 mins and Tom Witherbed ran 28:28 mins.
On 28th December, Hannah Hamilton set her fastest time on a parkrun course, and one of the fastest 5k times from a Thornbury lady, at Eastbourne in 20:34 mins. Nick Langridge ran Kingsway in Gloucester in 22:31 mins, Tom Witherbed finished Coventry in 27:38 mins, Paul Saville finished Whitstable in 20:28 mins, Mel Lloyd ran Wotton in 33:54 mins, David Palmer ran 27:57 mins in Chipping Sodbury, followed by Anne Palmer in 35:47 mins. In Lyme Park, Moray Sloan finished in 24:51 mins, John Grimsey ran Burnham and Highbridge in 34:40 mins and Brian Godsman finished Skatas in 25:06 mins. On Severn Bridge, Nick Williams finished in a pacey 17:34 mins, followed by Kevin Wood in 22:44 mins, Roger Glew 23:45 mins and Christopher Pritchard 27:11 mins.
On New Year’s Day, there is the rare opportunity to double-up, as some of the local parkruns have staggered start times which allows people to do both. This year, Kevin Arnold, Thornbury’s most prolific parkrunner in 2019, Tom Witherbed and Roger Glew did 2 parkruns. Roger and Tom ran Stonehouse in 24:57 mins and 27:23 mins and Pomphrey Hill in 27:36 mins and 30:58 mins, respectively. Kevin finished Stratford Park in Stroud in 25:53 mins and King George V Playing Field in 24:13 mins.
Gemma Turnbull ran Bath Skyline in 29:38 mins. Dylan Roberts ran Eastville Park in 18:44 mins, followed by Paul Clark 22:23 mins and Kevin Wood 24:36 mins. Tom Witherbed ran Stonehouse in 27:23 mins and Paul Saville ran Margate in 21:17 mins.