Saturday 13th October, which was a very blustery day, saw the first round of the Gloucestershire cross country league series, held at Old Down Country Park near Thornbury.  Bourton Roadrunners were represented by 8 runners in the senior categories, together with a further 24 members in the junior categories.

The ladies race was a 2 loop course – 4.2 miles – and there were 133 finishers representing various age categories.  The first Bourton Roadrunner home was Emily Field (LU17) finishing in a brilliant time of 33:59. She was followed by Jenni Glass (3rd LV50) in an impressive 36:27.

Next home for the club was Gabby Jones (LU20) in 39:40, with Steph Holton (LV50) running strongly to finish in 40:52.  Gill Carrick (LV55) has returned after injury and had a fine race finishing in 41:38.

The men’s race, which followed 3 loops – 6.2 miles – comprised 208 finishers.  By the time this race had started it was threatening rain and strong winds had whipped-up, making the running conditions very difficult.  Martin Cook (MV40) led the Bourton team home in a time of 47:08. He was followed by Ben Montilla (MV40) in 51:36.  Gary Holton (MV55) endured the difficult conditions to finish strongly in 62:57.  For Gary, this was his first cross country race.  Hopefully the conditions haven’t deterred him from future races.

Stroud Half Marathon – 21st October 2018

Four Bourton Roadrunners headed-off for an early start on a bright but crisp morning at Stroud for the annual Half Marathon, which forms part of this year’s Gloucestershire AAA Road Race Series.  The Bourton team was supported by keen team of supporters, which tried to see the runners at as many safe points as possible, with Ian Shoemark on his bike overseeing two family members among the four.

24 year-old Conor Shoemark, fresh from recent successes at Swindon Half Marathon (77 minutes) and Chester Marathon (2 hours 46 minutes), was looking to achieve a new PB of 75 minutes.  Conor, a jump-jockey by profession, paced himself sensibly and tucked-in with a small group similar ability runners.  He was rewarded for his effort and strategy with a brilliant 1:15:55 and 13th overall in the race with over 1700 finishers.

Darren Long, also experiencing a return to his true-form, having completed the Bournemouth Marathon in 2:59:52 two weeks ago, fought-off his peer-group competition and finished in a creditable 1:24:48.

Niamh Shoemark, mother of Conor, continues to improve her performances in virtually all events.  She maintained a strong pace throughout the race and maintained a relaxed exterior, finishing 1st LV50 (15th lady overall) in a brilliant time of 1:33:03.

The fourth member of Bourton’s team was “Mr Consistent” Andy Peaston, who like Ian Shoemark, is a retained firefighter, sometimes finding it difficult to fit-in the training. However, Andy to a strong and consistent runner and was rewarded with a great time of 1:39:03 for MV50.

Bournemouth Marathon – 7th October 2018

Darren headed-off to Bournemouth, with Norm Lane in support, to take on the Bournemouth marathon.  The race starts in Kings Park before making its way down onto the seafront, taking in the beautiful coastal views, together with Hengistbury Head, Boscombe, Sandbanks and Poole Harbour.

All very nice; however, Darren didn’t have too much time to enjoy the sites as he was planning to finish in under 3 hours for the first time in four yours.

Darren successfully navigated the pedestrians aimlessly leaving the beaches and the odd heartbreak hill thrown-in for good measure in the closing miles, working hard throughout, to maintain his pace to near-perfection, to complete in a brilliant time of 2 hours 59 minutes and 52 seconds.  Additionally, Darren was 4th MV45, and he was able to claim his 3rd sub-3 hour marathon finish.

Tewkesbury 5 miles – Sunday 4th November

For some, the Tewkesbury Guy Fawkes 5 mile road race was their second race of the weekend. The race, which was the last event for this year’s Gloucestershire AAA County road race series, was extremely well organised and well marshalled.

The first Bourton Roadrunner to finish and running well after completing the Bournemouth marathon in under 3 hours, was Darren Long – 2nd MV45 in 30:28 and 19th position overall.  Margaret Hollamby had another fine run – 1st LV60 in 38:12 and Liz Hulcup joined the prize winners – 1st LV65 in 40:47.

Graham Lane had another strong race in 39:05 and Nick Harper, in his first 5 mile race, ran a creditable 40:03.   Lynn Hudson paced Allie Quinn as she knocked a minute off her PB, both 47:08 and Shirley Creed came out of “retirement” following a long injury, running 49:36.  Ellen Montilla in her first race at the distance ran with Donna Harper, with the pair battling in a sprint-finish, achieving 54:36 and 54:37 respectively.  Jeanette Brew, in her first race, ran with Coral Feenan-Hill to complete the race in 65:18 and 65:17.

New York City Marathon – Sunday 4th November

Susan Hunt and Linda Edwards joined over 50,000 other runners in the one the world’s hotly-contested events; the New York City Marathon, which passes through the five boroughs, starting at Staten Island and finishing in Central Park, Manhattan.  Both veteran runners, with Susan having previously represented England at marathon distance. Susan had been planning this race for some time in memory and celebration of her late mother’s own participation in the early days of this blue-ribbon event, when few women ran a full marathon. Both Susan and Linda certainly acquitted themselves with both providing fine performances, and should feel proud of their times – Susan 4:23:12 and Linda 4:51:24.

Gloucestershire Cross-country – Malmesbury – Saturday 3rd November

The second round of the Gloucestershire XC series was held at Charlton Park near Malmesbury.  Although a slightly warmer day than the past few days, it was still difficult running conditions in the blustery wind.  In the ladies race Emily Field had another fine run in a time of 28:53 – 3rd LU17, 25th position out of a field of 171 finishers.  Following close behind was Diana Dee 4th LV50 – 48th in 30:45.  Unsure whether to run due to an injury Jenni Glass did well to finish in 32:34.  Gabby Jones LU17 was next in 34:28, and completing the team was Margaret Hollamby, 37:34.

In the highly-competitive men’s race Cal Winwood finished 42nd from a field of 249 finishers, in a superb time of 35:46; his first race of the series.  David Quli, having watched his son put in a brilliant performance in the earlier boys under-13 race, ran a very strong 40:48 to finish 131st.  Chasing David was the ever-improving Martin Cook (having watched his son Jonathon racing too) achieved a respectable 41:37 over a very challenging course. Completing the men’s team was Ben Montilla, who ran a strong race in 46:13.

Gloucester City 10k Sunday 28th October

After an extra hour in bed on Saturday night (the clocks went back), three members of  Bourton Roadrunners gathered at a chilly start line in Quedgeley, Gloucester on 28th October for the Gloucester 10K.  The field was 791 runners.  A largely flat course, of a single anti-clockwise, traffic free loop took runners out into the countryside before returning to the finish line in industrial estate where it started.

With the extra hour’s sleep under their belts, Ian Tolfts achieved a PB of 50:34 (sub-50 must be next!) (285/795, 35th M50) whilst Mary Worker ran 1:07:56 (697/791, 45th F50) – a great time for her with some splits faster than she imagined!  Linda Edwards, in her last longish run (with no plan for a fast time) before the New York Marathon the following weekend, finished in 53:43 (363/791, 8th F50).  All told, a good event, well run and a good course for setting a PB.

Exmore Half Marathon – Saturday 27th October

Saturday 27th October saw one of Bourton Roadrunners’ husband and wife teams take part in the challenging off-road Exmoor “Half Marathon”. The course consisted of bogs, boulders, rivers and moors, to steep coastal paths and sheer drops!  The course should have been 15 miles, but someone in their wisdom decided to move some signs, sending runners ‘all over the place’.  Steph and Gary Holton ran 16.7 miles in 3:35:29, with an elevation gain of 2,988 feet.  Surprisingly enjoying it and would do it again.