THE final event in the Gloucestershire AAA cross country series took place at Pittville Park, Cheltenham, writes David Durden.

Dursley boasted a healthy contingent from U11s to the veteran runners.

The racing got under way with a quartet of DRC junior girls racing. Starting with the U11s Jessica Foran and Verity Hoskin ran the 2.2km course, with water feature. Both, debuting for DRC, ran measured races placing 34th and 44th.

Next up were Lucy Holdsworth hoping to complete a successful season with another high placing, and gain 4th overall.

She was joined by Emma Foran running her first XC for DRC. Lucy and Emma both ran strongly with Lucy covering the 2.7k in 11:21 to place 7th on the day and achieve her fourth place. Emma came home strongly to place 26th. Last junior to run was Freddie Turner, he favours 200m and high jump so he pushed his boundaries with a 4.8k run, finishing in 23:46, a good time on a very testing course.

For the seniors a slightly modified course made the overall distance of the race a little shorter than the previous year while still maintaining its challenging nature. Alice Lewis took an early lead, with Nicola Christopher looking relaxed behind her. It soon became obvious that Christopher meant business as she floated over the first water jump and sprang up the rise like a Gazelle. Rachel Brown, Erica Fuller, Andrea Sexton and Julie Gowing followed in close order. Whilst Sexton pulled out with an injury, Christopher continued to push on. She

opened up a lead on Lewis and stormed to the finish placing 17th senior-woman and first for DRC in 32:12.

Lewis also nimble through the water was 2nd F60 in 34:01. With Brown, Fuller and Gowing all working hard and looking good over the final sections.

Seven Dursley men were on the start line, injury and illness depleting the team. The pace at the start was fast, Mike Brown took off with a DRC group consisting of Nigel Sankey, Andrew Truswell, Matt Read Jon Tudor and Dave Durden forming, with Martin Bragg not too far behind.

Those positions held through the first water crossing, after which a number of energy sapping undulations followed, before a long flat section and another bump to get over before finishing the first lap. Brown slightly increased his lead over his fellow DRC runners on the second lap, with Sankey and Read pulling clear of Truswell, with Tudor putting some distance between himself and Durden.

Sankey was just in front of Read through the second water jump – a huge crowd here providing terrific support. On the final lap, Read passed Sankey, who was having a very good run, with half a lap to go, then having Brown in his sights. The gap was just too large to close and Brown was first over the line for DRC, Read finishing twelve seconds behind, closely followed by Sankey and Truswell. Tudor was next in after an excellent run, especially as he had run 14 miles on Saturday. Bragg was the final man home and was best placed in category for DRC with 3rd M60 cementing his position in the Series. It was another successful year for DRC. The highlight being a third place in the Senior Women’s category for Robin Wait finishing superb performances, over the series, 7th, 5th and a 9th in her three races. Alice Lewis (Silver F60) , Margaret Johnson (Bronze F50), Eileen Hieron (Gold F70) and Martin Bragg (Bronze M60) also picked up medals.

Results: U11 Girls:(2.2km) Jessica Foran, 10:57: 34th; Verity Hoskin, 11:58 44th. U13 Girls: (2.7km) 11:21, 7th; Emma Foran, 12:52, 16th. U15 Boys: Freddie Turner 23:46, 19th. Senior Woman: Nicola Christopher 33:12 70th (17th SenW); Alice Lewis, 34:01, 7th (F60 2nd); Rachel Brown 34:44, 89th (F45 11th); Erica Fuller 35:54, 96th (no cat. result); Julie Gowing, 37:49, 115th (F35 14th). Andrea Sexton (DNF). Senior Men: Mike Brown 39:26, 71st (SenM 45th); Matt Read 39:40, 73rd (Sen M 47th)

Nigel Sankey 40:14, 87th (54th SenM); Andrew Trusswell 40:53, 95th (SenM 55th); Jon Tudor, 41:00, 96th (SenM 56th); David Durden; 41:28, 103rd (M50 10th); Martin Bragg; 42:58, 122nd (M60 3rd).

DBMax’s Duathlon and 10k also took place on the Sunday, held at Castle Combe the cyclists and runners get traffic free roads. Seven DRC athletes were completing with Mark Sprigings pacing a group around the 10k course. Just two DRC athletes ran the10K with, new member, Dan Lygo breaking the 40-minute barrier, Behind Lygo was Joe Browning, who was some way off his best, but is coming back from illness. Rich Pitts led home the duathletes, placing 6th in category with a strong run to finish in just over fifty four minutes.

Time Overall

Pos. Cat & Pos. Run 1 T1 Cycle T2 Run 2

Richard Pitts 54:24.4 59th Supvet50 6th 12:51.2 49.4 26:41.8 52.7 13:09.1

Steve Rugman 01:11:44.7 216th Supvet50 28th 16:45.9 02:21.8 33:36.6 02:44.7 16:15.6

David Quarterman 01:12:48.4 223rd Supvet50 29th 16:49.6 01:19.9 34:40.1 01:20.9 18:37.7

Jude Rugman 01:25:59.8 263rd Supvet50 13th 21:53.0 01:44.4 38:25.6 01:32.6 22:24.0

Kate Browning completed another marathon on Friday. Part of the Seven Sins multi-event event she completed what she described as a ‘cheeky mid-week marathon” Browning was 3rd in the “Glutinous Marathon” in 04:08:03 getting her close to 90 marathons.

DRC had 20 parkrunners out on Saturday with Dave Quarterman running a PB at Kingsway. Kris Rymer ran the fastest parkrun of 22 minutes dead, at Rogiet. Whilst Shona Darley topped the age grading’s for DRC and was fastest DRC woman of the weekend with a time of 25:16 and AG of 62.27% at Wotton. Pete Allen ran his first ever parkrun in a time of 28:11.