Great Western Runners

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Sunday 21st October, the start of the 2012/2013 Gwent League and a trip to Bridgend.  Joining the teams on the day for their first time this season were Tor Thompson, Steve Blakeney and Liam Scanlon which was fantastic and an encouraging sign that a summer's worth of dropping massive hints about cross country was paying off....

Bristol was left in drizzle and we arrived to blazing sun in Bridgend (every year I have run there has been hot) where Newbridge Fields were heaving with runners, this league being significantly larger than the Gloucester series.  The fields were also heaving with plenty of local rugby teams which you have to round around to start your race - trying not to trip over their spectators.

Despite the rather toasty running conditions it had obviously been raining fairly solidly as much of the course was quite boggy, especially a couple of quite sharp corners where we witnessed some of the junior runners coming a cropper in their races as we warmed up.

As usual, the ladies race was on well before the men's giving us two lung-bursting laps to dash round and the chance to get some lunch before finding the toughest spots on the course to watch the men's team - sorry, to encourage them on the trickier parts!

Mention should also be made of the fact that this was Audrey Butler's first outing of the season.  She has been running this league forever and is regarded as a mascot by many of the teams; the chap on the finish funnel reckons that his cuddle from Audrey is why he goes along to help out!

The results ran as follows:

Senior Ladies: Emma Oughton, Tor Thompson, Veronica Ford, Taryn Talbot, Pat Parr, Audrey Butler,

Senior Men: Steve Blakeney, Liam Scanlon, John Hargreaves, Terry Fenton, Martin Bennett, Chris Bennett.

Once we had all finished there was the slow-dawning realisation that due to crossed wires there had been no baking for the event.....mutterings of "lured under false pretences" were heard and the spotting of a tea tent failed to provide any distraction......there cannot be a repeat of this failure to provide post-race treats.

A terrific first cross country outing by Tor, Steve and Liam who are all going to come back and give it another go - Tor may even try running in grippy shoes next time, watch this space...