1= IMOGEN AINSWORTH & TIM WALLIS – It was difficult to differentiate between these two who were both the leading Avon finishers in the Gwent League at Hestercombe.While Imo successfully defended her Avon title by making light of the arduous course to take a fine second place overall behind former Commonwealth medallist and international triathlete Andrea Whitcombe, Tim produced by some way his best performance of the season to finish 5th overall and first Avon athlete home in the men’s race. Although, like many others, he had assumed he was eligible for the county event by running in the League race, which had been so in the previous two years, he had not actually entered the accompanying championship, but to all else involved he is the uncrowned champion. This had been a scenario I had long predicted would happen!
2= CHARLEY COFFEY & TOM MERSON – Again it is invidious to split these two who both took the silver medals in their respective county championships. Charley, in what she described as her last race as a Coffey (!), produced a Willslike performance to work her way through to third overall behind Andrea and Imo in the Gwent League a long way ahead of the third Avon athlete, while tuff Tom ran as well as ever to beat all bar the favourite Kev Heywood in the Devon championship that accompanied the latest Westward League race at Exeter.
3= ERICA GOLLAND & DAVE GREEN – These two from our growing Bristol University contingent underlined what an asset they are going to be to the club. Dave made the top 20 for the first time in the League, while Erica despite some recent problems proved that she must be one of the most improved runners on our books by making the top 25 in the women’s race.
1 RICH PETERS – Rich enjoyed, or should I say endured, a race he will never forget after opting to run the senior event in the Gwent League. Not only did he lose a shoe when running comfortably in third place close behind the eventual first two Ben Tickner and Rhodri Buffet, but after trying to continue with one shoe was forced to go back and retrieve it when he hit a gravel patch. Having lost a dozen places or so in the interim, he worked his way back into the top ten only to suffer the same fate twice more in exactly the same spot. Even so he still refused to throw the towel in and managed to finish 7th, three places higher than he had finished in the previous race at Bath. Ironically too he was the still the second Avon athlete to finish behind Tim, and as he had actually entered the championship rather than the League, he could well be crowned the official Avon senior champion!
2 SEAN HAZELL – Having finally recovered from the calf muscle injury he suffered in the opening Gwent League race at Bridgend, Sean produced his best cross-country performance of the season to finish a good third in the combined U17/20 race and would, like Tim in the senior race, have deservedly taken the Avon title if he had entered.
3 MATT PETERS – The combined U17/U20 event was Matt’s comeback race after a couple of months out with achilles tendinitis, and after starting cautiously he worked his way through the field to finish an encouraging 7th overall. Bizarrely, along with his elder brother Richard, he may have completed what will go down as the oddest family double in the history of the Avon championships, as unlike Sean he had entered the Avon event rather than the League race and will presumably be awarded the U20 title.
1 PHIL PARRY – Though by his own admission still some way short of full fitness following his unfortunate experience in the New York marathon, Phil as usual produced another of his evergreen performances to finish as high as 15th in the Gwent League senior race, which would have given him the silver medal behind Mike Sully masters winner Julian Emery in the Avon Vets championship had either of them have entered!!
2 CLAIRE JOLLIFFE – Claire turned in her best ever run in the Gwent League to finish in the top 40 for the first time just ahead of younger clubmate Vicky Tester.
3 ALISON HURFORD – Alison too, continues to defy her age, finishing only three places behind Vicky, which presumably will have earned her the Avon V45 title.