ON the weekend when the clocks sprung forward, Colerne runner Gary Dunstone showed a timely return to form to suggest that 2019 could be a big year for him.

Two years ago, the former Chippenham Harrier was running personal bests for fun, but since then injury has held him back – until now.

On Sunday, the Wiltshire runner smashed his personal best in the Calne Clock Challenge 10k as he finished runner-up in a time of 33mins 38secs, which shot him straight into the top 10 quickest times of 2019 for veteran O45 runners in the UK.

“I surprised myself as that was 50 seconds off my PB, which isn’t too bad for a 47-year-old,” said Dunstone.

Ideal conditions and a strong field helped Dunstone as he settled into a group of five as eventual winner Alex Bampton, of Highgate Harriers, and Avon Valley Runners’ Michael Towler contested the lead.

At around 7k, Dunstone, who now competes for Team Bath AC, overhauled Towler and finished second, while also leading his club – with juniors Themis Bower, from Marshfield, and Box-based Otto Copping in support – to the team title.

Bower finished sixth and first U20 man in 34:14, which shaved 18 seconds off his PB, with a big gap to Copping in seventh (35:36), also a PB by 19 seconds.

“It was nice to win the team prize,” added Dunstone.

CHIPPENHAM runner Eilidh Bell showed signs of her improving form with a personal Best in the Cardiff bay 10k.

Bell finished top west woman in eighth, clocking a PB of 36mins 42secs, clipping 17 seconds off her previous best.

CALNE Running Club coach Denise Nott has paid tribute to her class of 2019, who graduated with honours at the latest Chippenham parkrun.

“This is the fifth year we have run the ‘Couch to 5k’ programme and we had a really good group this year,” said Nott.

“They had 12 weeks to prepare and we met once a week at the club on our beginners’ night on Thursdays.

“I did a warm-up routine followed by a session and then a warm-down.

“Afterwards we had a different pep talk on a part of the sport – such as nutrition, footwear, running style and alike – and every week they would get some homework to focus on and encouragement to go out running again.”

Nott runs the programme on a voluntary basis and the club hopes that some of the newcomers will opt to join the club and continue their progress.

“We had 35 running at Chippenham last Saturday and quite a few of them have opted to join the club,” added Nott.

“I think they love the social side of this group and it certainly helps to give them self-confidence, lose weight and get fit. It is great to see them start believing in themselves and I find it very rewarding.

“That is payment enough for me.”