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Stuart's Stubbornness Pays Off

In the report last week, we read about Stuart Fitzgerald’s brilliant result at the Abingdon Marathon. Stuart has taken the time to share a bit more about the day itself and the lead up to it.

“Abingdon was the A race target for the year. Ambition was to try and secure a sufficiently sub 3 time to guarantee a GFA entry into London (my 2:59 from Manchester last year was too slow for London ’23 with them only taking 2:56:30 or better).”

“Training went brilliantly, every single major effort was almost foot perfect. Until the taper that is. Two weeks out I acquired a delightful gastro bug that was so bad it put me in bed for a day. 1 week out I picked up a cold that I never managed to shake. I decided to just suck it up and get on with it. Sunday morning saw me standing on the start line in the sort of heavy rain that slows traffic down to 30. Nevertheless, the first 20km trundled past quite pleasantly hitting all our pace targets. Over the next 10km the sun came out and I started to feel fantastic. At 30km I felt like Kipchoge on a fun run. At 32km I felt rather less fantastic, and by 34km I felt crap.”

“Despite that, a combination of gurning and stubbornness kept me on my pace target till the final few km where the uphill finish and the delight of the underpass meant I gave away a bit of time. Nevertheless, we nailed a massive 4 minute PB to romp home in 2:55:50. Mission accomplished.”

“Definitely picking a race with a downhill finish next!”

Thank you Stuart. It’s always interesting to learn the story behind the result. Congratulations on a great achievement.

Tom Purnell completed the Snowdonia Marathon at the weekend. This race is 40 years old. Originally conceived as an alternative to the big city marathons, it is now so popular that there is a ballot for places. The spectacular route, with a start and finish in Llanberis, encircles Snowdon.

The race is obviously a real favourite with Tom who has now run it eight times. He reports being really happy with his time, an eleven minute PB for the course, and also being mighty relieved that a worrying knee niggle held up for the duration. A tremendous run from Tom gave him overall 35th place.

A huge well done.

29th October, Snowdonia Marathon, 26.2 miles

1 Daniel Kashi (Sale Harriers) 2:39:51 - chip time

35 Tom Purnell (Cirencester AC) 3:10:46

1613 finished

An unfortunate delay in a trip to France gave David Wright the opportunity to run the 35th Anniversary edition of the New Forest 10 Mile race.

He describes having a “pleasant potter” at the race despite the “wild winds and rainy squalls making life interesting.” He is being rather modest though, as his “pottering” in fact gave him overall 44th place and 1st of 33 in his MV60 age group with his impressive finish time.

Very well done David.

30th October, New Forest 10 Mile, 10 miles, mixed terrain

1 John Borton 57.48 - chip time

44 David Wright (Cirencester AC) 1:11:58

414 finished

At the Calne Clock Change Challenge there was a choice of 5k or 10k on road courses described as fast and flat with PB potential.

James Widdowson took on the 10k in his first big test since his recent brush with the dreaded Covid. He reports feeling sluggish initially but being reinvigorated at the halfway point after the drinks station and a welcome heavy downpour of rain.

He had a further, unexpected boost as our very own Luke Campbell had been let loose with a microphone and provided commentary on James’s final 200 metres. He was pleased with a negative split and a sub 50 minute finish and would recommend this small, friendly event.

30th October, Calne Clock Change Challenge 10k, 10km, road

1 Simon Nott (Calne Running Club) 32.29 – chip time

79 James Widdowson (Cirencester AC) 49.27

208 finished

James was able to cheer home Ruth Fulford who took part in the 5k race. Her excellent 30.14 finish bagged her the FV65 1st prize………on the eve of her 75th birthday!

Happy birthday Ruth, many more new age-group wins to aim for now.

30th October, Calne Clock Change Challenge 5k, 5km, road

1 Akira Bees (Westbury Harriers) 16.51 – chip time

33 Ruth Fulford (Cirencester AC) 30.14 - 1st FV65

68 finished

On the parkrun scene this week, David Moss had a good run at Lydiard.

At Cirencester, Jo Musk was delighted to be 2nd lady as she incorporated parkrun into her long run, and all after a very early start with her three youngsters! Pam Wheeler continues to chip away at her time as she comes back after an injury lay off and great to see Louise Abbott back parkrunning.

Paul Timms and Rachel and Alan McAdam were all on good form at Tetbury.

29th October, parkrun, 5k trail

Lydiard parkrun

1 Harry Woods (Unattached) 16.15

37 David Moss (Cirencester AC) 21.55

281 finished

Cirencester parkrun

1 Andy Monro (Unattached) 20.06

9 Jo Musk (Cirencester AC) 22.04 – 2nd Female

93 Pamela Wheeler 29.35

164 Louise Abbott 39.27

173 finished

Tetbury Goods Shed parkrun

1 Jonathan Jamieson (Unattached) 17.55

12 Paul Timms (Cirencester AC) 23.06

24 Alan Mcadam 24.46

34 Rachel Mcadam 25.44

84 finished

Send you stories, comments and photos for inclusion in the report to Rachel at

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