Thornbury Running Club’s opening race for the year, The Riverbank Rollick, was another roaring success with a record field of 458 runners taking part on a cold Sunday morning. After several years of mild conditions and dry weather, the true nature of the course revealed itself on Sunday with very heavy mud adding to the difficulty of this 9.6-mile multi-terrain course.
Despite the early rain on Sunday morning, it didn’t dampen the mood of the excellent support generated by Thornbury RC’s marshals and the runner’s families and friends which lined the course to cheer on the athletes. Once again, several of the marshals were decked out in a fine array of fancy costumes, including Mr Blobby greeting the runners onto the riverbank, an Elvis, a ripped Batman, a mud-splattered pirate and several more giving a well-timed morale boost as the runners started to flag. The runners were welcomed at the finishing area in Castle School with hot drinks and an assortment of home-baked cakes and cookies from TRC club members, with all proceeds going to the club’s nominated charity for the year.
There were some excellent performances in the men’s and women’s race and some great results for Thornbury’s own runners. At the top of the race, Weston AC’s Chris McMillan and Stroud AC’s Alastair Cambell exited the long drag along the riverbank running neck and neck, closely trailed by Westbury’s Alex Hamblin. McMillan made a big push in the second half of the race and opened up a commanding lead to cross the finishing line in the school playing fields in an exceptional time of 59:52 mins, Cambell was 2nd in 1 hour 3:21 mins and Hamblin was third place in 1 hour 5:24 mins.
If odds had been offered in the women’s race, Bristol and West AC’s Annabel Granger would have been a heavy favourite and she took top honours again in a time of 1 hour 12:20 mins and 11th overall. Thornbury RC’s Taryn Roberts and Chepstow Harriers’ Niki Morgan were locked in a battle for 2nd and 3rd place along the riverbank and by the time the racers descended to the Mundy Playing fields at the 9-mile mark, it was the Chepstow runner who had built up a small advantage which she kept to the finish to take 2nd place in 1 hour 15:09 mins (19th overall) from Taryn in 3rd place in 1 hour 16:03 mins (22nd place overall). Taryn was also 1st in her age group – F18-39.
Dylan Roberts was the fastest Thornbury runner on the day and finished in the top 10 overall in 8th place in an excellent time of 1 hour 11:21 mins. Rob Cowlard is not back to his racing best but still had enough in reserve to win the M45-49 age group and 14th place overall in 1 hour 14:13 mins. There was more age-group success from TRC runners from Clare Watt in 125th place and 2nd F55-59 in 1hour 32:01 mins, Judy Mills 4th F60-64 and 222nd in 1 hour 47:33 mins and Chris Lee 5th M60-64 and 331st in 2 hours 6:52 mins.
Other Thornbury results included Richard Jackson 75th 1 hour 27:12 mins, Ross Philips 128th 1 hour 32:51 mins, Sophie Mcphillips 177th 1 hour 39:21 mins, Sarah Newnes 208th 1 hour 46:29 mins, Tom Witherbed 272nd 1 hour 55:34 mins, James Turton 326th 2 hours 5:57 mins, Sarah Martin 373rd 2 hours 13:28 mins and Valerie Knight 413th2 hours 24:35 mins.
Mitch Ford ran in the evening Bath Skyline 10k race on 11th January on an undulating 2-lap course covering open fields and woodland trails. Mitch had a very good run and was 5th overall in 49:03 mins.
Thornbury RC’s parkrun results on Saturday featured some wild extremes. Henry Orna took part in the Finsbury parkrun in London with 968 other runners, finishing in 19:57 mins. On the other end of the scale, Kevin Cundy took part in the Mountain Goat Trail parkrun in Tennessee with his 2 brothers and the Cundy family accounted for half of the field. Kevin was the first finisher in 25:20 mins.
Other TRC parkrun results included Roger Glew in Ashton Court in 26:36 mins, Mark West in Tamar Trails in 25:44 mins, Mel Lloyd in Wotton in 33:00 mins, Matt Johnstone in Pomphrey Hill in 21:15 mins, Brian Godsman in Skatas in 25:43 mins, and Chris Foley in Tetbury Goods Shed in 25:45 mins. In Chipping Sodbury, Garry Slater ran 20:26 mins, Mike Poad ran 21:32 mins, and Christopher Pritchard 28:30 mins. Adam Frontczak ran 20:26 mins on Severn Bridge, followed by Ross Phillips 22:45 mins and Kevin Broadbent 35:32 mins.