Richard Peters, home for Christmas from Boston University, was soon in the leading group of six at the Clevedon Boxing Day 4 mile Road Race and there he stayed before pulling away effortlessly in the last half mile to win by 7 seconds from Alex Carter of Team Bath in 19:20. Ben Noad was one of several local athletes who return home annually for Christmas with their family and turn out on Boxing Day and a spirited run saw him finish in third place in 19:29 just ahead of Tom Merson (19:33) who had made up the lead quartet on the final rise on the sea front some 800 metres from the finish. In fifth place another local – James Thie (20:02) – passed Ian Gillespie as the latter faded to finish sixth in 20:22. These six had built up a 30 second lead over the rest of the field. In thirteenth place Mick O’Doherty (21:34) held off Emma Pallant as the latter (another regular at the race) took the ladies title in 21:40 – Mick took the V50 title. Miles Chandler had a good run to finish seventeenth in 21:55 and Rob Stewart making his Bristol & West debut (he had entered as BAD Tri) finished twenty-third in 22:35.
It was good to catch up with Steph Barnes back from Belgium for Christmas with her family who took second place in the Ladies race as she finished just behind Rob for twenty-fourth overall in 22:42. Peter Mountain clocked 23:37 for 39th and third V50 and Tom Watkins was sixtieth in 24:29. Helen Newberry clocked 24:33 to finish sixty-third and seventh lady to reinforce the progress she has made in recent months.
Jon Goodland finished ninetieth in 25:27 (and twelfth in his age group) and not far behind Gary Jennings (25:46) made the top 100 as he finished ninety-seventh and fourteenth V50. Viv McConnell won her age group but will not be happy with a 26:35 clocking for 129th overall and twelfth lady. We hope Viv will recapture her form soon as she is finding results not up to the high standards she sets herself in her last few outings. Rosemary Hurford led the family Hurford charge in 144th in 26:56 – another athlete who was back home for the Christmas period.
Tracy Allan returned to racing and finished second in her age group behind Viv as she finished 167th in 27:23. Nicky Bromhall finished fourth in this category as next club runner home in 293rd in 30:02. Alison Hurford finished 425th in 32:24 with Isobel Medcroft 444th in 32:45. Sue Campbell was 492nd in 33:44 and clearly enjoyed her run. Paul Burgess clocked 34:56 for 568th just 10 seconds in front of Vanessa Redmond 574th in 35:06. Rich Kennington and Neil Davies completed the Bristol & West contingent finishing 776th in 40:49 and 844th in 45:16 respectively.
It was such a great morning that yours truly ran a lap of the course before the race and then headed south along the coast path afterwards to run off his Christmas Dinner.