The final race in the Gloucester AAA cross country series took place at Pittville Park Cheltenham on Saturday the 18th. Any illusions that it would be a “walk in the park” would be quickly discounted by the athletes, as the course is a testing one with plenty of changes of direction, fast flat sections and lot of undulation, the bonus was that conditions were frim underfoot. The organisers had also kindly moved the finish to ensure the runners had to crest the longest uphill section before opening up their finishing sprint. 

The event saw an impressive turnout from the club with three Juniors, five women and eleven men running on the day. Starting with the Junior Girls Olive jones ran her second race of the series running well to place 48th competing against a number of older children. Tom Holden and Charlie Jones were next up  in the boys U11 running 2.2km, that same distance as the girls, Tom finished 52nd in 11:27 with Charlie just behind in 52nd position.

It was then a wait for the Senior Ladies to gather at the start line this allowed the new club shelter to be erected, with some help from passers-by! Once off Jadie Cotterell led the Dursley woman running a controlled race, behind her competition for second place was fierce with Caroline Jones, just in front of Alice Lewis and Tara Truman.  Carolyn Thraves proved she had not recovered from a virus and had to retire after she struggled with her breathing. This left Andrea Sexton, running her first XC for DRC race and XC regular Erica Fuller battling it out. Andrea managed to move in front of Erica to finish half a minute on front. Jadie led the team home with Caroline a toasty second (check out that controlling temperature post) just 32 seconds in arrears, with Alice a further 14 seconds behind; Tara, who is tentatively returning to running, was an impressive 27 seconds behind Alice who was hoping she had done enough to get in the F55 prizes.

Having supported the women, the men prepared for their event. A good turnout saw James Everett coming into the race on the back of an excellent Dursley Dozen. In the age categories Dave Durden and Tony Wooldridge were well placed to get into the medals for the series running their fourth event of the series, as was Gary Strickland. Pete Dunn and Mike Brown were running for the time. The consistent attendance by the DRC males over the series would prove to be vital in the team event.

Whilst urging his DRC fellow athletes to start steady Dave Durden also insisted that they stand close to the front, in Kevin Jackson’s inimitable style, on the basis that faster runners would have to get around the Dursley phalanx! The men would complete a small lap before their first water crossing of three attempts. Once started James Everett disappeared in the distance, behind him things were much closer, Dave Durden was being kept honest by Tony Wooldridge, with a mere 50 to 60 metres separating them. Simon Jones was initially separating these two but his start proved a little too brisk as he sought to create some space after a very claustrophobic start. Once things settled down there was not much movement apart from Tony Wooldridge, Tony Freer and Nigel Sankey picking up Simon. James was way ahead of the other men finishing in an excellent 25th position in 36:23. Four minutes later (the equivalent of around 2/3rd of a mile) Dave Durden finished, just two minutes separated DRC’s second to fifth placed runners. Tony Wooldridge did his cause in the series no harm with an excellent first MV60 finish. Peter Shaffer led home a Dursley Trio of Mike Brown and Garry Strickland. In similar fashion to the women’s race a novice, Damian Lai, was battling it out with a regular, Pete Dunn. In this instance experience told, it may have been that Damian was running without his cap that did it?

Results

Girls U11: Olive Smith 48th 12:44. Boys U11: Tom Holden 52nd 11:27; Charlie jones 68th:13:54.

Senior Women: Jadie Cotterell 64th 32:33; Caroline Jones 69th, 33:05; Alice Lewis 72nd (4th FV55) 33:19; Tara Truman, 75th 33:46; Andrea Sexton 105th 36:33; Eric Fuller 110th 37:02.

Senior Men: James Everett 25th 36:23; Dave Durden 71st 40:25; Tony Wooldridge 85th (1st MV60); Tony Freeer 100th 41:50; Nigel Sankey 109th 42:30; Simon Jones 113th 42:45; Pete Chaffer 134th 44:10; Mike Brown 136th  44:30; Garry Strickland 138th 44:47; Pete Dunn 168th 48:55; Damian Lai 181st 51:42.

 

Teams:

Women’s Open DRC A 21st DRC B 30th  ; Masters DRC 12th.

Mens: Team Open, DRC, 10th; Masters, DRC, 7th.

 As ever in the Glos AAA series DRC did well with Tony Wooldridge (MV60) Margaret Johnson (FV50) and Alice Lewis (FV55) all taking home Bronze medals, all three continuing to perform consistently in the league.  Dave Durden improved on his 5th position in MV50 category from last year moving to fourth, and needs to get miles in so he can sustain his efforts over the 6 mile courses. James Everett place an impressive 8th Senior Male over the series, and Deb Peake managed to get in three races to place 11th FV35 with Erica Fuller 13th FV45, Garry Strickland 16th MV50 and Pete Dunn 22nd MV40 

With a number of other strong runners potentially available to compete next year series could see DRC really stepping up in both the men’s and woman’s team events.

The consistency of the men in coming out to race, with a number of regulars and quite a few others, was rewarded with the men’s veteran’s team placing 9th out of 30 team and the men’s seniors (where six runners count over all four races) placing 12th out of 31.

It was an excellent end to the series with both junior and seniors running and it is hoped that 2017-18 series will see further increase in both participation and competitiveness for DRC. With James Everett and Jadie Cottrell being the two stand out new entrants to the series, it was just a shame that Jadie only ran two events, based on those performances she may well have been Dursley highest placed female finisher. The Wotton course was the wettest course of the series and on this basis many of those who venture to Wotton for the parkrun could be giving the XC league a go. The great thing about separate age and gender races means that you get a chance to cheer on other runners as well as racing oneself, a win win situation. Out club shelter also means we have  dry HQ/base to meet and recover!

Series Results (for individuals best three races scored, for teams four races needed to be completed)

Juniors 

 

 

No. of races

Points

Category

Olive Jones

G

2

1084

U11

Charlie Jones

B

2

1129

U11

Tom Holden 

B

1

2050

U11

Louis Bowcock

B

1

20511

U11

Women 

Category

Gender

races

Points

Overall

Category

Category Pos.

Margaret Johnson

F

3

186

43rd

LV50

3rd

Alice Lewis

F

3

212

54th

LV55

3rd

Deb Peak

F

3

247

60th

LV35

11th

Erica Fuller

F

3

331

78th

LV45

13th

Jadie Cotterell

F

2

1128

 

SL

 

Caroline Jones

F

1

2067

 

LV35

 

Rebecca Topham

F

1

2070

 

LV45

 

Tara Truman

F

 

2073

 

LV40

 

Carolyn Thraves

F

1

2087

 

SL

 

Nicki Squire

F

1

2092

 

LV35

 

Andrea Sexton

F

 

2103

 

LV40

 

Shona Darley

F

 

2105

 

LV40

 

DRC Ladies Open a

F

2

1596

 

 

 

DRC Ladies Open B

F

2

2529

 

 

 

DRC Ladies Masters A

3

1614

 

 

 

DRC Ladies Masters B

1

3263

 

 

 

Men

Category

Gender

races

Points

Overall

Category

Category Pos.

James Everett

M

3

108

22nd

SM

8th

Dave Durden

M

4

259

52nd

MV50

4th

Tony Wooldridge

M

4

337

73rd

MV60

3rd

Andrew Truswell

M

3

416

90th

SM

30th

Mike Brown

M

3

450

93rd

SM

32nd

Garry Strickland

M

4

461

95th

MV50

16th

Pete Dunn

M

3

589

120th

MV40

22nd

Tony Freer

M

1

1197

 

MV50

 

Nigel Sankey

M

2

1245

 

SM

 

Chris Ashworth

M

2

1394

 

MV60

 

Mike Crompton

M

1

2032

 

SM

 

Simon Jones

M

1

2111

 

SM

 

Steve Watson

M

1

2129

 

MV45

 

Peter Shaffer

M

1

2132

 

MV50

 

Damian Lai

M

1

2180

 

SM

 

DRC Mens  Open A

4

2694

12th

 

 

DRC Mens  Masters A

4

2119

9th

 

 

 

Gloucestershire  AAA Race 3 Wotton Sports Foundation

The 17th of December saw Dursley Running Club host the 3rd  league event. With runners in the categories from under elevens to the senior males the club was well represented. With the club assisting with the race organisation race support and marshals there was plenty of support for the Dursley runners, but with a good turnout from other clubs the support was vociferous throughout the day. 

Whilst the course looked reasonably benign a number of lengthy drags and the going soft, or soft to firm it was an energy sapping course and the runners had to work to find the optimum racing line. In the U11 category Charlie and Olive Jones clearly enjoyed their runs, despite their slightly oversized club vests they both had big smiles on their faces as they completed their first cross country race for the club.  Aiden Hill, still currently unattached but hopefully will join the club in January, having turned 11 in August was running with boys significantly older; despite this he ran well, and maintained a decent rhythm over the testing course to finish 23rd in 10:18. Hopefully we will see some more juniors take the plunge if not at the County Championship then at the next League Event at Pittville park Cheltenham. The seniors saw an excellent turnout with 8 women and 10 men racing with Jadie Cotterell and Steve Watson making their cross country debuts. The juniors did not have to attempt the “brook” which was considered with some trepidation by the some of the seniors, ironically though as more runners went through the water jump the more pronounced some steps on the ascending side became, it was then all a question as to whether you got a clear run at the obstacle. The women’s course was 3.4 miles, Margaret led the team off and despite having completed a parkrun in the morning Rebecca Topham started quickly behind her.  There was not much between any of the Dursley woman at the end of the first lap. Margaret maintained her lead as they completed the second lap, with Jadie right on the heels of Rebecca as they crossed the water jump for the first time. Rebecca’s earlier park run efforts took their toll and Jadie and Alice were able to pass her on lap three. Having been pushed hard by Deb Peake at Blackbridge Margaret established her authority as leading DRC woman this year, with a time of 26 minutes, over a minute ahead of Jadie who finished in 27:03, Alice Lewis just 4 seconds behind (3rd FV55) with Rebecca just nine seconds adrift of Alice.  Behind the front runners Deb Peake, Carolyn Thraves, Nicki Squire and Erica Fuller all worked hard over the demanding course. Nicki Squire was returning to the Gloucestershire League after  17 year hiatus, having raced regularly as a junior for DADAC. The turnout by the women meant Dursley has two counting teams with the Females Vets “A team” best paced in 13th. The final race of the afternoon was the senior males with just under 200 runners on the start line. As ever the men started briskly with Dursley led by James Everett, someway behind the trio of Dave Durden, Tony Freer and Tony Wooldridge. These three established a holding a pattern based on their respective starts, Dave opting for a quick first half lap in the hope that he would get a clear run at the water jump. This was not to be the case, but there were delays for those further back as runners slowed to overcome the obstacle. Behind them Andrew Truswell was able to maintain a good lead on novice Steve Watson, with Nigel Sankey behind the pair focused on a steady run which he duly achieved. Garry Strickland managed to come home in front of Nick Langridge running for Thornbury (6th M60), the Chris Ashworth the veritable DRC Lanterne Rouge coming home in 44:28 to complete a good days racing for the club. James Everett was well ahead of the other Dursley runners, improving on his placing from Blackbridge, although again was second best in his tussle with the Team Bath runner Simon Brace against whom James had raced at Blackbridge. Tony Wooldridge best placed male in category coming in fourth MV60.  The men’s veteran team placed 11th and the senior team 13th.

 

Results: Girls U11 Olive Jones 37th 10:20; Boys U11 Charlie Jones 62nd 12:22; Boys U13:Aiden Hill 23rd 10:18. Senior Women: Margaret Johnson 49th (5th FV50) 26:00; Jadie Cotterell 65th 27:03; Alice Lewis 67th (3rd FV55) 27:07; Rebecca Topham 72nd (9th FV45) 27:16; Deb Peake 80th, 28:17; Carolyn Thraves 89th 29:26; Erica Fuller, 92nd 29:50; Nicki Squire 94th 30:29. Team Results: Ladies Senior A 19th B 21st; Masters A 13th B 16th  Senior Men: James Everett 39th 32:10; David Durden, 81st (6th MV50) 35:23; Tony Freer, 98th (10th MV50) 36:19; Tony Wooldridge, 105th (4th MV60) 36:45; Andrew Truswell, 114th, 37:18; Steve Watson, 131st 38:14; Nigel Sankey, 137th, 39:12; Garry Strickland, 144th, 39:54; Chris Ashworth 175th, 44:28.

Gloucestershire  AAA Race 2 Blackbridge

A bright sunny day saw both the senior Women and Men’s field that were considerably larger than in 2015 with 225 in the men’s race and 156 in the women’s. With a slightly shortened course layout the runners were assisted by the brisk wind on the long drag up toward the railway line, with conditions underfoot very firm, and the cool temperature conducive to fast running. Injury and illness impacted on the Dursley’s women's team Margaret Johnson and Deb Peak were the sole representatives but were well supported by the men’s team. Margaret ran well, placing an impressive 5th FV50, although her sprint finish is still a work in progress. Deb Peake showed how much she has improved over the last year, just 13 seconds behind Margaret keeping Margaret in site throughout the race. The men’s race started quickly and soon Mike Crompton and James Everett were well ahead of the rest of the team. Mike Brown again started quickly but was passed by Dave Durden, Andrew Truswell and Tony Wooldridge over the course of the race, holding on to finish 18 seconds behind Tony Wool. This was the closest gap between any of the DRC’s males. With the men cheered on by the woman , Mike Crompton was first home with James Everett making an impressive debut close behind. James recognised he had started of a bit too quickly but soon settled down in to a better rhythm. Tony Wooldridge was the best placed in category, fifth MV60, with Chris Ashworth Dave Durden 11th MV60 and MV50. With a higher number of runners the team event was highly competitive and Dursley finished 17th in both the in the Open and Masters events.

Senior Women: Margaret Johnson, 32:26, 81st, (4th FV50); Deb Peake, 32:39, 85th, (16th LV35)

Senior Men: Mike Crompton , 31:49, 34th; James Everett, 32:32, 44thDave Durden , 35:23, 107th, (11th MV50); Andrew Truswell , 36:37, 139th; Tony Wooldridge, 37:49, 164th, (5th MV60); Mike  Brown , 38:07, 168th; Garry Strickland , 39:04, 179th; Pete Dunn, 42:10, Provisional; Chris Ashworth , 46:29, 219th, (11th MV60); Mens Open Team , Dursley , 17th; Mens Masters Team , Dursley , 17th

Mike Hanman ran well between points on the course  to offer vocal support to woman and men alike.

Gloucestershire  AAA Race 1 Little Rissington

There was a good Dursley turn out at the first cross country race of the season at Bourton on the 15th of October. Twelve Dursley Athletes ran altogether which included one our junior runners from our Summer Athletics programme, with  another U11 from this programme one running for Stroud AC. This meant we had enough for a ladies and men’s team with 5 ladies, 6 men and 1 junior. Louis Bowcock started the proceedings for DRC running in the U11 race which was a 2Km lap and he came 53rd overall in a time of 10:12 working hard in his first race in the league.

The Ladies all agreed it was a challenging course, very hilly and the temperature made it feel even harder. Shona Darley made her debut describing the course as "brutal" and compared the experience to childbirth but going onto describe the "sense of elation when you cross the finish line!". For Deb Peake it was her 3rd XC race and even though she described it as "Hot, hard and hilly.", she also said she enjoyed the race but especially crossing the finish line. It was a fast start and after being promised that we couldn't go wrong, the ladies seemed to go off track immediately and recovered by crossing some long grass to get back on track. Margaret led the DRC team throughout the race, with attritional course playing to her strengths, finishing first for Dursley, closely followed as usual by Alice Lewis. Deb ran a good solid race and was less than a minute behind Alice at the finish and 3rd for the team.  Shona struggled a bit with breathing and asthma but really pulled it together for a sprint finish to hold off a Tewkesbury Runner. Erica Fuller worked hard and was the ladies’ lantern rouge so had everyone shouting at her as she crossed the line.

And of course the ladies always have the luxury of enjoying watching the men suffer in the heat and hills as they enjoy a tea and cake and capture some good photos!! The men was slightly less organised than the ladies and whilst the ladies were finishing they were scouting the course. Returning in time to give Erica a cheer. At this point the weather was extremely warm. A gentle jog up the first climb with a stop to survey the remaining climbs left the men perspiring heavily. Like the Ladies it was a fast start into a sharp left hander and despite a field of over 200 runners it was safely negotiated, much to the amazement Arthur Daley.

Tony Wooldridge was initially at the front, Dave Durden getting in front after about 200 metres, Mike Brown them moved into the lead before they exited the first loop, he kept ten to fifteen metres ahead of Dave until he cracked on the second long ascent. By the time the men had ascended the first hill clouds had gathered and a chillwind made for ideal running conditions. For both Mike and Garry it was their debut and both were pulled along by the initial rush, only to find they had started too fast. Garry managed to settle down into a steady second lap after cursing this elementary error. Garry's comment afterwards was "Man, that was hard!" and we all know what a strong runner Garry is. He looked amazing comfortable as he was running though. Our chairman Dave having caught Mike on the second hill stretched out a good lead over Mike and Tony after the first lap. Dave was obviously in the zone throughout as no expression was shown as we cheered him on and no smiling for the camera. 

Dave finished looking strong and first for Dursley in 38:55. Two minutes behind were Mike and Tony, with Tony in second place for DRC until the last 50 metres when Mike sprinted past, but only 1 second split them at the finish. Andy was only a minute behind Tony and 4th for the team, a committed run as he admitted he was not at his peak of ot fitness. Garry finished 3 minutes after Andy and Pete Dunn was the 6th DRC man to finish. Pete looked like he was enjoying himself throughout the race, smiling for the camera, although his comment at the end was “I need to do more miles” hinting that on a demanding course stamina is the key. It was a great result for Margaret placing first FV50, with Alice and Tony both 3rd in theirs

 

Results: MU11; Louis Bowcock 53rd 10:12

Ladies (147 runners) Team Result: 10th overall in Team Masters

Margaret Johnson, 56th (1st LV50/01) 29:58; 73   Alice Lewis Dursley 73rd (3rd LV55)  30:49; Deb Peake 82nd  31:27; Shona Darley 107th  33:55; Erica Fuller 129th 35:44.

Men(240 runners) Team Result: 19th Masters, 21st Senior Mens.

David Durden, 107th 38:55; 146th  Michael Brown 40:51; Tony Wooldridge 147th (3rd MV60/03)  40:52; Andrew Truswell 163rd 41:50; Garry Strickland 189th 44:42; Pete Dunn 215th 47:59.

Gwent League Race 1 Bridgend 

Kevin Jackson in his own words “ran his best cross country race for three years” at the Gwent League placing 255th out of 470 runners a good position in a high quality field. A whilst we celebrate Kevin's effort, we should reflect that the club used to take a coach or two to Gwent Leagues in days gone by. This year has seen Kevin's constant companion Roly Hobbs bow out due to knee problems. Roly's positivity and determination will be sadly missed both at the cross county league and also on Tuesday night.    

Reports courtesy of Margaret Johnson, Kevin Jackson and Dave Durden