THE cross-country season is nearing its conclusion and the last race of four in the Gloucester league took place on Sunday at Pittville Park in Cheltenham, writes Matt Johnstone.

Thornbury Running Club has enjoyed its most successful cross-country season in years, with record numbers of entrants and much-improved results.

The women’s team have been in particularly good form. Laura Orna and Hannah Kinloch Haken have pushed each other to quicker times and Sunday’s 6.6k race was no different. Laura was the first of the Thornbury women to reach the finish in 23rd place out of 139 runners in 28:55 mins and Hannah was not far behind in 30th in 29:23 mins.

Clare Watt has been Thornbury’s top performer in the age group categories. Clare finished 2nd in LV55 age group, 54th overall in 32:02 mins. Clare also achieved the notable distinction of finishing 3rd in her age category for the season.

Joanne Emerson and Angela Bushell were never far apart on the course, Joanne was first to cross the line in 80th position in 34:12 mins and Angela Bushell was 83rd in 34:21 mins. Sarah Newnes has been a regular in her first cross-country season and was next TRC woman in 98th in 36:10 mins, followed by Judy Mills in 112th in 37:30 mins.

The women’s A team composed of TRC’s top 3 finishers were in a very respectable 9th place out of 32 teams and the B team were 25th. The vets team were 10th out of 22 teams.

Nick Williams spearheaded the challenge from the seven Thornbury men in the 9.4K race, setting off at his usual high-octane pace. Nick achieved his best position of the season in an excellent 32nd position out of 193 runners in 36:06 mins.

David Beard is building towards the London Marathon at the end of April and has been making steady progress during the off-road season.

Like Nick, Dave saved his best performance to the final race, finishing in 68th with a time of 39:14 mins.

Henry Orna was next in 84th place in 40:05 mins. Thornbury’s Cross-Country Captain, Jim Godden, has raced, cajoled, and baked the cakes which fuelled his team since October last year, and signed off the season in 109th in 41:52 mins.

Andrew Darton had watched his son race earlier in the day and then stepped up to compete, finishing in 113th in 42:15 mins. Kevin Arnold was next in 154th in 45:46 mins, followed by Brian Godsman in 174th in 48:47 mins.

The men’s team were 15th out of 20 teams and the Thornbury Vets team fared a little better in 11th place out of 19 taking part.

Nick Williams romped to victory in this season’s TRC cross-country championship in the men’s league table and Laura Orna was a convincing winner in the women’s standings. In the age-adjusted competition, Jim Godden took top honours in the men’s competition. The women’s age-adjusted competition is still to be decided with one race to go at the start of March.

Saturday’s parkrun results included 3 TRC runners on the home course on Mundy Playing Fields. Paul Saville ran 21:17 mins, followed by Peter Blenkiron 26:48 mins and Richard Illingworth 33:05 mins.

Nick Langridge ran 22:42 mins at Wotton, Kevin Arnold ran 23:38 mins at Newent in Forest of Dean and Henry Orna completed Severn Bridge in 25:53 mins.

Kevin Wood was the first TRC finisher at Chipping Sodbury in 22:00 mins, followed by Chris Lee 26:37 mins and Anne Palmer 33:48 mins.