ONE of the joys of running is the opportunity to travel and compete in new places.

Thornbury's Rob Hopkins achieved this in several ways at the Long Course Alpe d'Huez Triathlon in France.

The 2.2k swim takes place in the chilly but crystal clear waters of Lac du Verney, accessible to swimmers only as part of the triathlon, while the 115k bike section is part of the Tour de France course with three mountain passes and a 21-bend climb to Alpe d'Huez itself.

The 22k run is within the resort of Alpe d'Huez, on roads and mountain paths.

In an international field Hopkins finished in 289th place in a time of 8:06:31, having enjoyed an above-average run time.

More recently and on an even longer Long Course, Roly Ward completed the Cotswold 226 Triathlon over a 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run. Although, it lacked the severe climbs of the Alpe d'Huez, it was around twice the distance, and he raced well in all three disciplines to finish 43rd in 11:33:30.5, ending his day with a 3:54 marathon.

There was plenty on offer for the mere mortal members of Thornbury RC, but at the top of that category comes veteran Mike Willis, who again put in an outstanding peformance at the Castle Combe Duathlon.

Finishing in 33rd position, he recorded his fastest time of the series, completing the two-mile run, ten-mile bike, two-mile run in 53:11.9, and dropping only a few seconds from his second run to easily take the race and series SupVet60 title, with still one event to come.

The Blaise Blazer comprised a club team competition with six men and two women to count.

After much persuasion from regular competitor Pete Mainstone, many good Thornbury runners turned out and the team came fifth, missing out on fourth place by just one point.

So successful was his persuading that Mainstone himself failed to count for the team, being eighth club male to finish.

The first Thornbury finisher was Paul Hosefall, 12th in 24:20, with Jim Godden taking the second MV50 position to come 26th in 26 minutes exactly.

First woman was Nancy Harding, first LV50 in 81st place (30:48), followed by Fiona Moore, 88th in 31:22.

Also counting for the team were Steve Allen (28th, 26:18), Jo Firth (30th, 26:41), Wilf Burke as first MV60 (46th, 27:42) and Hugh McPherson (99th, 32:19). Also running were Emma Barnes (90th, 31:30), Jeremy Clothier (109th, 33:24) and Pete Mainstone (117th, 34:34).

With no parkruns at either Ashton Court or Little Stoke on Saturday, the three Thornbury runners all chose Chipping Sodbury.

Daniel Harding (19:39) finished sixth with his best run on the course, 45 seconds quicker than his previous run at Sodbury and only three seconds slower than his best ever parkrun time.

Paul Thomas had his first run at the venue and was 30th in 21:35, with regular Hugh McPherson 44th in 22:57.