The streets of Bristol came to life on Sunday for the rescheduled running of the half-marathon and 10k events. After the 18 months we’ve all had it was a particular joy to race around, marvelling at the generosity of spirit of enthusiastic residents cheering on those of us fortunate enough to participate.
The Great Run organisers did a fantastic job – (except for the paucity of porcelain which led to huge pre-race toilet queues) – and devised a wonderful route that showcased Bristol at her best. The half-marathon route did the usual loop up and down the Champs El’Portway, but then joined the 10k course that weft and waved its way along the docks, over Bristol Bridge, across Queens Square, past St Mary Redcliffe (beautiful church, shame they built it on a roundabout), alongside Castle Park, and then through the Centre and old part of the City to the finish on Anchor Road. There were several sharp turns, cobble segments, and a handful of steep sections, so probably not a PB course, but the variety of the vista more than made up for it.
Lucie Wilson ran a beautifully paced effort to finish inside 1hr 30 mins: 16th place overall in the women’s race. Considering the Bristol half-marathon attracts international runners at the very front of the field this is a marvellous achievement. Nick Williams smashed his PB with a stunning time of 1hr 16 mins and 47 seconds – an average pace of 5:47 per mile. Nick was 5th in his age category, and an incredible 28th overall, in a race won overall by multiple-Olympian Chris Thompson.
Phil Blackburn and Paul Harrod recorded exactly the same time – 1 hr 25mins and 59 seconds, but did so running 30 minutes apart in separate waves of the race. Paul Thomas – whose mileage volume makes Forest Gump look like a HIIT trainer – ran yet another amazing race. He matched Nick in finishing 5th overall in his age category, which is a considerable accomplishment in a race of this size and quality, and finished in 1hr 28 mins and 28 seconds. Can’t wait to see how Paul will do in his upcoming marathon.
Andy Wilson set off like he’d remembered he’d left the iron on at home, and his 10k split would have placed him high up in that separate race. He had to slow towards the end of the run but still finished in 1hr 29 mins and 27 seconds. His raw pace should make him a linchpin of our senior men’s cross-country team, and if he adopts his wife’s pacing strategy then he is more than capable of knocking lumps of time off that mark when he next does a half-marathon! Roger Glew continued his own rapid rise in fitness and running performance with a fine finish in 1 hr 47mins flat; Ashleigh Ferris ducked inside 1hr 50 mins to complete a highly successful day out for the TRC half-marathon massif.
The 10k runners had to wait until later in the morning for their race to start, and as such had warmer weather to cope with. TRC members still produced some excellent performances. Mitch Ford ran 41:24, despite electing to front-load his effort, a.k.a going off like a lunatic! Paul Reeves is tuning up nicely for the London Marathon and his 54:54 time bodes well for that event. Simon Groves ran 1hr 4 mins, with Sam Findlay in 1hr 7, and Rachel Smith in 1hr 15 mins.
Sunday was also the day for the Wotton-under-Edge 10k race, held on a new multi-terrain route. Paul Saville ran 46:04 to finish in a very strong 12th place overall. Judy Mills ran an excellent 1hr and 9 mins despite, or perhaps benefitting from, running the length of the Anglesey coastal path the previous week.
On Saturday Hannah Hamilton ran the Badminton trail marathon. Her Strava feed records the race as 28.3 miles long, so I presume it was an over-distance event, unless Hannah over-did the social distancing etiquette when overtaking people on the later laps. She finished in four and a half hours, and her actual marathon time would have been close to 4 hours. A fantastic performance for an off-road event of that distance.
Finally to the parkruns. Congratulations to Simon Pinnington for coming third overall at Thornbury, running 20:15 and with a very impressive 73% age-grade score. Tom Usherwood ran a 22:12 PB. Well done also to Kathy Willott who made her debut at Severn Bridge and finished in 33 mins and 19 seconds. This translated to a highly competitive age-graded score of 68%.