Cheltenham Harrier Charlie Jones enjoyed a race win as he set a new personal best at the Bristol & West 5000m meeting held in Yate. Jones was content to sit in the main pack in the early stages of the B race as he passed through the opening kilometre in 3:13 in sixth place, three seconds behind the breakaway lead duo of GB international Charlotte Arter (Cardiff) and Will Ruiz (Blackheath). Fellow Harriers Dave Aubrey and Eliot Taylor were also in the main group just behind Jones. By three kilometres Arter had extended her lead as she reached 3000m in 9:24 with Ruiz six seconds adrift. Taunton’s James Watson (9:33) wad just ahead of Jones and Taylor (9:34) with Aubrey a further second back. Jones then pushed on the pace as the race took shape, with Arter starting to fade and the pack beginning to split behind. By the time he had reached 4000m in 12:45 the Cheltenham athlete was now up into second place, just two seconds behind Arter, with Watson just behind him. Jones then took the lead on the penultimate lap with just a small gap over both his rivals as they reached the bell. With pressure from Watson, Jones’ 67 second last lap ensured he took the win in 15:47.4 with the Taunton man less than a second behind. Arter’s challenge faded and she crossed the line eight seconds adrift in third. Aubrey meanwhile produced a solid run for seventh place in 16:11.4 whilst Taylor faded to eleventh in 16:28.8. In the following A race Phil Wylie and Alex Bampton both represented the Harriers with Wylie going through the opening kilometre in 2:57 before falling off the front pack of five just before the 2000m mark. After going through the third km isolated in 9:00 the GB international duathlete continued to slow slightly to 12:05 by 4km. Picking up a place with a strong last kilometre Wylie crossed the line in 15:03.7 for fifth place in a race won by the host club’s Tom Merson in 14:40.1. Bampton meanwhile was attempting to break his 15:08 PB and opened with a 3:01 kilometre before reaching 3km in 9:04. However, by the time he reached 4000m in 12:09 the PB bid was all but over. However, it was another solid performance from the Birmingham University graduate as he took tenth place in 15:14.0. Earlier in the evening Toby Wort lowered his personal best to 17:04.5 as he placed sixth in the D race.
Earlier in the week the track action focused on the 1500m as the Harriers hosted their third Midsummer Open meeting. Mark James’ fine recent form continued as he set yet another personal best with 4:15.5 for third place in a race won by CLC’s Will Ferguson in 4:12.9. Wheelchair athlete Gareth Picken then recorded 4:15.9 whilst Mike Gray was less than a second outside his PB with 4:20.1. Iain Devlin (4:28.6) and Steve Maguire (4:30.2) followed before Matthew Dwerryhouse set a PB of 4:33.1 and Russell Forsbrook (4:38.1) completed the A race. The B race brought then brought a win for Toby Wort in 4:34.6 whilst Martin Soakell ran well for 4:51.0.
On the roads there was a first win in a Cheltenham Harriers vest for Sarah Sheppard as she was the first lady home at the Wye Valley 10k in 41:53 for a 25 second winning margin over the Forest of Dean’s Chloe Wheeler. Dave Rantell finished tenth overall as he completed the undulating course in 38:11 whilst fellow veteran Dave Hemmings crossed the line in 44:26. Phil Wylie meanwhile finished second in the Exeter 10k in 31:29 as he finished fifteen seconds adrift of Bristol’s Tom Merson. Weekend parkruns saw Liam Roarty (17:58) take the win at Eastleigh, Will New (17:23) take second at the Pashanger event in Hertfordshire and Andy Gardiner (18:05) finish as runner up at the Bath skyline parkrun. There was also a second place for James Bingham (18:08) in Cheltenham where Dave Hemmings (20:50) and Martin Ford (21:50) also contested the first event on the new Pittville Park course.