Nothing in his recent form suggested that the Bristol & West AC runner, who races rarely, was among the podium favourites let alone had a chance to claim top spot.
Jack Millar leading Bristol & West AC clubmate and eventual winner Luke Grenfell-Shaw. All photos courtesy of Clevedon AC.
But clearly no-one had told that to Grenfell-Shaw as he beat the experienced international duathlete Phil Wylie by just two seconds with Jack Millar a further two seconds adrift in third.
At least Grenfell-Shaw knew the course inside up having finished third last year (19:40) and sixth in 2015 (20:53) so no-one can claim he hasn’t been improving steadily and is a deserved winner of this prestigious event.
Clevedon AC’s Alex Crossland gave the home supporters plenty to cheer as he came home in fourth for his best result in the event with Miles Chandler competing strong Bristol & West showing in fifth.
It is also worth noting that former winner Ben Noad, once of Bristol but now a long-sanding member of Highgate Harriers, was back in ninth and first veteran over 40, just ahead of another former west international, James Thie.
Emma Pallant is the most prolific winner of the female race in the history of the event as she takes advantage of a family Christmas in the west.
Step Barnes (right wearing 743 on her Kenya t-shirt)) chasing leader Emma Pallant while below Westbury’s Hannah Hobbs tucks in behind Ollie Sheppard of Emmersons Green Running Club
Defeated last year by course record holder Kate Reed, who was unable to defend her title in her home town race as she is again suffering from her long-standing ankle problem, Pallant was restored to the top of the podium with a solid win ahead of Steph Barnes.
Laura Gent, an AFD clubmate of Pallant as third with Westbury Harriers’ junior Hannah Hobbs continuing her excellent recent form in fourth place.
Younger sister Ellie was seventh and with Sophie Voller fifth the Harriers were well represented at the top end.
Men: 1 Luke Grenfell-Shaw (B&W) 19:39; 2 Phil Wylie (Chelt) 19:41; 3 Jack Millar (B&W) 19:43; 4 Alex Crossland (Clev) 20:02; 5 Miles Chandler (B&W) 20:14; 6 Mike Towler (AVR) 20:16.
M40: 1 Ben Noad (Highgate) 20:30; 2 Luke Murray (Clev) 20:50; 3 David Hobbs (WH) 22:54.
M50: 1 Michael Hart 22:38.
Women: 1 Emma Pallant (AFD) 21:28; 2 Steph Barnes (B&W) 22:06; 3 Laura Gent (AFD) 22:14; 4 Hannah Hobbs (WH, U20) 22:28; 5 Sophie Voller (WH) 24:50.