Distance Running News, 18-19 November

Andy Gardiner had a productive weekend as he won the Newent 9.5km road race just 24 hours after finishing first in a course personal best at the Kingsway parkrun. In Sunday’s race Gardiner and unattached runner Steve Kenyon moved clear of the field from the start and matched each other stride for stride over the opening three kilometres. As the hills approached before the halfway mark Gardiner pulled clear of his rival and remained unchallenged at the head of the field for the rest of the race. Stopping the clock in 33:26 to take the win, the Cheltenham athlete crossed the line 48 seconds clear of Kenyon. The previous day at the Kingsway parkrun in Gloucester Gardiner lowered his fastest time on the course to 17:06 as he claimed his seventh win at the event by finishing sixteen seconds clear of Severn AC’s Chris Brown. The parkrun addict has now contested a mammoth 293 events and enjoyed 28 wins at 21 different parkrun venues.

Dave Francis continued his fine run of form with yet another personal best to finish eighteenth at the Windsor Autumn Half Marathon at Eton Dorney. Having joined the club in the late Spring with personal bests of over 20 minutes for 5km and 92 minutes for the half marathon, Francis has consistently kept lowering his best times and has clearly benefited from the sessions in Dave Newport’s highly competitive training group. After breaking 19 minutes for 5km in the summer, Francis then proved himself over the longer distances with Autumn half marathon PB times of 86:04 and 85:33 at Bristol and Stroud respectively. Two weeks ago the determined Francis made another breakthrough with a time of 30:17 for eleventh place at the Tewkesbury Guy Fawkes 5 mile race, so lined up at Eton full of confidence as he sought to break the 85 minute barrier. Gaining places after the opening five miles the Cheltenham athlete yet again hit new heights to lower his personal best to an impressive 1:23:45 as he came home in eighteenth place. The Cheltenham parkrun saw Marcus England and Dave Aubrey finish in first and second as they incorporated the event into their training by posting times of 17:21 and 17:37 respectively. James Bingham followed in sixth as he stopped the clock at 18:09 after four laps of the Pittville Park lake. On the grass course at Plock Court Steve Bradley was fourth across the line in the Gloucester North parkrun with a time of 19:45.