THE THIRD and final race organised by Thornbury Running Club (TRC) for 2017 was the Oldbury Power 10 Miler on Sunday morning.

Racing conditions were not ideal, with rain and squally winds whistling around the flat country roads near the Oldbury Power Station, where the ten mile course starts and finishes.

Thanks to the perennial Race Director partnership of John Watt and Justin Taylor and some shrewd marketing from club colleagues, the number of runners in this race rocketed from a little over one hundred in 2015 to a thriving 337 this year.

All three of TRC’s races have sold out in 2017, which has helped to support the growth of the club and increased charitable donations to local causes.

Weston Athletic and Bristol and West have dominated the men’s event in recent years and both had some of their strongest runners present to contest the top prize.

There was the added bonus of the ten-mile Avon Road Race Championship on offer in the men’s and female event, too.

Weston’s Kieron Summers made an early move for the title, opening up a small gap after one mile and, at the three mile mark, was twenty seconds ahead of a pack of four runners.

He rounded off a convincing display by winning the race in 57:01mins with Stroud’s Lee Stopford in second place in 57:43mins, ahead of Bristol and West’s Andrew Tarrant in third position in 57:50mins.

Gemma Hargreaves from Almost Athletes in Cheltenham improved her position from second place in 2016 by taking the ladies’ crown in an impressive one hour 04:22mins from Bitton’s Lynette Porter in second place in one hour 06:29mins and Thornbury 10k winner Naomi Aylwin from Bristol and West in one hour 08:13mins for third place.

As well as a small army of TRC volunteers there was a healthy number of their own runners. Thornbury’s Jim Godden has raced this event on several occasions and set off at an ambitious pace from the start.

He was able to maintain his effort well over the remainder of the race to finish in 14th place overall in one hour 03:12mins, taking first place in the VM55 age category.

Relative newcomer, Colette Jackson, continues to show great potential and was Thornbury’s first female competitor across the line, running a very strong second half to finish ninth in the women’s event and 77th overall in one hour 16:30mins.

Special mention to Suzy Cundy who knocked a whopping 14 minutes from her 2016 effort in a new personal best of one hour 38:18mis in 238th place.

Other TRC results: Sean Underwood (72nd, 1:15:29), Paul Weaving (93rd, 1:18:38), Ian Evans (107th, 1:19:48), Sarah Newnes (135th, 1:23:52), Martin Smith (146th, 1:25:30), Maite Roche (1:28:00), Alice Porter (235th, 1:36:51) and Helen Tayler (299th, 1:50:52).