Dursley runners training up for the London marathon
8:40am Friday 22nd March 2013 in Sport
AS runners continue to prepare for the London marathon in April, a number of Dursley AC members headed out to a race half that distance.
Rebecca Topham was one such runner, travelling down to the village of Horton, near Chipping Sodbury, on Sunday, March 3, for the start of the Hogweed Hilly Half.
This race is one of the most popular half-marathons run in the UK partly due to the scenic setting but also no doubt due to the warm welcome always afforded by Hogweeds.
Topham, one of Dursley's grittier runners, ran an impressive race to record a personal best on a challenging course, which takes the runners up from Horton through Hawkes-bury and Hillesley before looping back to Hawkesbury and back to Horton.
This run bodes well for both the London Marathon and form later in the season. The icing on the cake was finishing third overall in the women's category and 2nd LV35.
She was followed home by Jerry Fowler who could not believe that race organisers could put such steep hills into a half- marathon.
He was just 33 seconds over two hours but to be fair you can't run that fast when your on your 'hand and knees' as Jerry described his running form in the last miles. Leslie Pedrick was next home with Zoe Fowler and Rachel Carter going for their Sunday morning constitutional and chat, finishing together.
Topham was fulsome in her praise of the event, identifying this as a local event well worth supporting.
Results: Rebecca Topham 01:37 46 29th (3rd woman 2nd LV35); Jerry Fowler 02:00:33 105th; Leslie Pedrick 02:11:29 130th; Zoe Fowler 02:22:12 144th; rachel Carter 02:22:13 145th.
On the same Sunday, the half marathon speedsters ventured farther south to Bath.
The flat, two-lap course assisting runners in posting quicker times. Neil Parry provided evidence that running shorter distances can have positive effects on distance running posted one of his fastest ever half mara-thon times of 1:26:18 (chip).
He is another Dursley runners whose current form bodes well for the Virgin London Marathon. Behind him there were a number of good runs from Dursley with Kim Bird and Richard Hensman posting quick times with Hadyn Smith just outside par, a good run considering his injury problems.
Results: Neil Parry 01:26:18 354th; Kim Bird 01:36:00 (provisional); Richard Hensman 01:36:28 1109th; Hadyn Smith 1:37:50 1256th (all chip times)
March 2 saw the final event in the Gwent Cross Country League. The race held in the Brecon Beacons saw two Dursley cross country stalwarts head west.
Jackson managed a top-20 finish in the MV50category, no mean feat in this highly competitive series, and was 10th overall in the series, with 150 competitors in his category.
Nick Langridge, who trains with Dursley but runs for Thornbury, managed fifth overall in the V60 category for the series, with Roly Hobbs 10th. 45 runners competed in this category.
Results: Kevin Jackson 40:06 113th; Roly Hobbs 49:31 212th.
Sunday, March 17, saw the Reading Half Marathon and the Gloucester 20, again the theme for many runners is warming up for the London marathon.
Neil Parry, who has plenty of miles in his legs, chose Reading - renowned as a quick half - to hone his speed endurance. Parry had to endure the heavens opening for the entire race, but his great form continued and he ran a personal best to record 1:25:13.
He was happy with the PB but the fact the magical sub 85-minute half was just seconds away spoiled it a little for him. He was 342nd.
The same day saw the Gloucester 20 and a good turn out from the club with seven athletes running. It was ladies' day for Dursley - but we aren't talking hats! First Dursley runner home was Kate Browning who first FV40 and fourth woman overall, beating Rebecca Topham by 23 seconds, who was 2nd LV 40 and fifth woman. Browning, who ran a PB, said conditions were ideal.
Having beaten Browning earlier in the season, Mouse Clutterbuck was left in her wake. He managed to separate the leading ladies from Kim Bird who was fourth in for Dursley and Bird 3rd in the women's senior category.
Mel Williams was just a bit slower than her time two years ago with Ray Williams and Andy Kilby finishing towards the back end of the race.
Kate Browning 2:31:30 49th (1st LV40); Rebecca Topham 02:31:53 50th (2nd LV40);Mouse Clutterbuck 02:34:38 63rd (5th MV50); Kim Bird, 02:40:37 77th (3rd SL); Mel Williams 03:01:04 138th; Ray Williams 03:17:11 179th; Andy Kilby, 03:17:11 180th.
Dan Anderson, one of Dursley newer members and ultra runner, travelled south west to compete in the Exmoor Ultra. A challenging course on the outskirts of Exmoor along the South West Coast Path took runners over an undulating 40 miles. Final results are still awaited for this event.