Thornbury parkrun 100no – race reports w/e 21st and 28th November

Thornbury parkrun celebrated its 100th race on Saturday 20th November, only two and a bit years behind schedule. 

Perhaps we can liken Thornbury parkrun to an unreliable boyfriend: frequently cancels at the last minute, and can go silent on you for ages without an explanation, (or due to a global pandemic – this analogy is already at breaking point.)   However when he does turn up, somehow all is forgiven. 

Thornbury parkrun may have been cancelled more weeks than not, but looking back at the past 100 runs you can see how it has helped us grow as a club.    TRC has dominated the first finisher roster:  Henry and Laura Orna have been first ten times between them; Hannah Hamilton has won the women’s race five times, Ben Bohane six, and Nick Williams leading the way with nine wins in total. Perhaps as important is to look at how much some members have improved since the parkrun was first staged.  Several people (who know who they are) have knocked a good couple of minutes off their PB from the early stagings to the most recent.

The 100th race benefitted from ideal conditions.   There was virtually no wind, and the course was not too slippery or wet underfoot.   Several runners came in fancy dress, including Roger Glew in a very fetching costume that looked fantastic, but would have weighed him down on that telling final lap!   There was a rare outing from Batman too.  Parkrun rules means he has to register as Bruce Wayne, so every time he scans his barcode it gives the game away, but it was still good to see him working on his aerobic fitness.  Most importantly the race director had brought a huge cake to celebrate, with some Bake Off standard icing depicting the parkrun logo and the century of races at the Mundy mudbaths.   A fantastic turnout from the community meant it had to be cut up in well over a hundred pieces.

Ben Bohane led from start to finish and secured a very impressive course PB in 18:21.  Paul Harrod was some way back in third, but also got a new PB in 18:54.   Hannah Hamilton was the first TRC woman, securing third place, 18th overall, in 21:52. The top performer for the club was still Clare Watt however.   Her age-graded score was the highest by some margin, at just under 80%.    John Watt missed his course PB by just three second, and also missed getting under the 30 minute barrier by just six.  

One week later, and the conditions could hardly have been more different.   Storm Arwen had scattered the recycling bins across the town, and it is greatly to their credit that the organisers managed to keep so many parkruns going. So the times from last week can not be remotely compared to the times from the week before.   All the same TRC once again had the two first finishers at Thornbury, with Sean Leadbetter (19:06) and Asten Haynes (19:16) producing two stunning performances, especially as it would have been hard to keep moving forward on the sections of the course that were into the teeth of the wind.   Normally I tend only to report on PBs or near PBs, but this week that isn’t realistic.   Any run close to it deserves a special mention.    So congratulations particularly to Moray Sloan for his 10th place finish in 22:53.

Performance of the week must have come from Melanie Wilson who headed out onto the ‘Dune of Doom’ at Woolacombe Bay, and somehow ran 5k into the teeth of a force 10 gale in just over 31 minutes.   She finished second woman, and 10th overall, in what is always a highly competitive event.    Kevin Wood was 20th in the same race, and the fact that someone as consistent as Kevin ran the course 8 minutes slower than his PB gives some idea of how brutal the conditions must have been.   However wind, saltwater and sand does make for excellent exfoliating beauty treatment, so there was an upside.