Cross country league gets into full swing
Old Down Country Park was the venue for the opening round of 4 races in the Gloucestershire Cross Country League.
Thornbury Running Club were out in force at their local race, with 21 runners across the ladies and men’s teams, ranging from the dyed in the wool cross-country veterans to those taking part for the first time.
The Old Down course was a baptism of fire for the first timers. As well as contending with strong winds from Storm Callum on the exposed sections, there were plenty of tight turns, steep hills and hazardous roots to avoid in the woods.
The ladies’ 6.7k race started first and it was new recruit Hannah Kinlock Haken who led out the 8 Thornbury women, with Laura Orna not far behind. Hannah and Laura produced the best performances of any of the Thornbury runners on the day, with Hannah making a great debut in 23rd place in 32:08 mins and Laura in 28th in 32:52 mins.
All the friendly competition between team mates helped to propel the women’s teams to new heights in the league table. The first 3 TRC runners across the line comprised the women’s A team, which finished in 10th place out of 31 teams. The B team were 20th and the Vets team rounded off a great performance from the ladies in 7th place out of 21 teams.
Some of the experienced runners who had sustained the team going through the leaner years could scarcely contain their shock at seeing so many enthusiastic Thornbury men ready to earn points for the team over the 10k race. Many had been bribed with pictures of home-made delicacies for anyone who finished the race.
Matt Johnstone found himself in uncharted territories further up the field than usual and finished in 50th place in 42:47 mins. Henry Orna was next in 83rd in 44:29 mins. The next two TRC runners were making their cross-country bows, Paul Clarke running particularly well in the second half of the race to finish 94th place in 45:16 mins and Dave Beard the next athlete across the line in 45:21 mins. Jim Godden was close by in 99th position in 45:33 mins and achieved a top 2 finish in the MV55 age category.
The men’s A team, which comprised the first 6 TRC runners, were 13th and the B team were 22nd out of 22 teams. The men’s vets team had a great result, finishing 7th out of 21 teams.