They were promised mud and they were not disappointed. Thornbury Running Club hosted another successful Riverbank Rollick on Sunday 17 January with 409 competitors running, walking and even crawling to the finish line in Mundy Playing Fields.
Misty rain, heavier at times, made the going even more slippery than before and many runners found their legs taking a mind of their own, sliding in any direction but forwards; however, the ground was soft for the inevitable falls.
To avoid damaging waterlogged pasture, there was a change of route near the start with runners being lulled into a false sense of security with an extended road section. Things soon returned to normal judging by the shrieks and squeals from some of the (mostly) ladies toward the back of the field when they took to the mud alongside Cowhill Rhine. There was little wind, making the riverbank section less tiring than in some years, then some of the worst mud on the course before the drink station and relative ease of the route through Littleton. Tiring runers were grateful for encouragement and jelly babies from Rupert Bear and the Dalmation marshals at the top of Hay Wood. Returning to the Mundy Playing Fields, a section along the stoney stream bed required concentration, then it was the possible crawling section as runners’ shoes emptied yet more water onto the already treacherous steep bank just yards from the finish line.
Last year’s winner, Lee Rankin of Stroud AC took to the front from the start, but was overtaken by the 2014 winner, Anthony Glover (Westbury Harriers, 58.50) and by Dursley’s Dan Anderson, who went on to win in 58.30mins. Lincoln Tri Club’s also sneaked-in under the hour in 59.56 to take third place with Glover second and Rankin fourth, and just one second over the hour.
Some of Thornbury RC’s better runners were excused marshalling duties so that they could have an attempt at the team prize, and first home for the Club was Rob Cowlard in 10th place (one hour 3.02minutes) followed by winner of the Vet 50 category Roger Denton (14th in one hour 4.19minutes); Jim Godden (16th one hour 4.31 and 2nd Vet50) and Rob Watkins ( 21st, one hour 5.56). These four succeeded in winning the men’s prize of a cake. Meanwhile Teammates Matt Johnstone (25th, one hour 6.45), Rob Hopkins (28th, one hour 7.19), Garry Slater (36th, one hour 8.46) and Paul Clark (45th, one hour 10.48) all had good runs which both pushed competitors further down the field, and took them to seventh team place.
Second men’s team was Westbury Harriers with Bristol & West AC third.
Winning lady was 2015 winner Annabel Granger from Bristol & West AC, in 13th place overall and with an improved time of one hour 3.47minutes. After a gap of over seven minutes, 2nd lady, Sandra Chipper of Lliswerry Runners crossed the line (47th, one hour 10.57minutes) with Claire Bruce (Les Croupiers, 61st in one hour 12.33) third.
The Ladies Cake was awarded to Bristol & West AC with Granger’s result giving them a good start, Alison Engledew, winner of the LV55 category 9th lady finisher in one hour 17.04 and Alice Doggrell 16th in one hour 20.17minutes. Second ladies team was Les Croupiers, and Dursley third.
Four Thornbury ladies completed the course; Emma Barnes 139th in one hour 22.30; Selina Slater in new shoes (199th in one hour 29.38); Judy Mills (285th in one hour 41.53) and Joanna Carr (387th in two hours 5.08minutes). Other Thornbury runners were Jo Firth (59th in one hour 12.15minutes), Pete Mainstone (243rd one hour 46.35) and Ian Peacock (290th, one hour 42.23).
Thornbury Running Club again welcomed Charles Whitton and his photographers (charleswhittonphotography.com) who recorded many happy faces and dirty legs making their way around the 9-mile course. Here are the all the pictures.
You can also see these head-cam videos of the stream finish, a speeded up full race, and very slippy and muddy slope out of the stream – all fours needed:-
as well as all the other videos you will find on You Tube.