Distance Running News, 23-26 November

Naomi Eaton produced her best ever road race performance at the Weston Prom 5 mile road race to finish as second lady home, but was denied an official personal best by a misplaced cone. Having secured second place in the last two Gloucestershire Cross Country League races Eaton went into the race full of confidence and opened up with a 6:00 opening mile along the Weston-Super-Mare sea-front. Gaining places by maintaining an even pace, with further splits of 6:03, 6:01 and 6:02, the Dave Newport coached athlete finished strongly to take second in 29:46 behind Bristol’s Fiona Marks (28:41) whilst Clevedon’s Jen Bishop (30:23) took third place. However, it soon became apparent that the course was short due to the cone at the turning point being placed wrongly. Frustratingly Eaton’s time for the 4.94mile course would have been worth around 30:08 for five miles, which itself would have been a significant PB. Graham Rush meanwhile contested the British Trials for the European Cross Country Championship at Liverpool’s Sefton Park and ran a solid race to place 23rd in a high class field.

At the Gloucester 10k road race James Denne led the Harriers home in fifth place in 32:53 as Cardiff’s Carwyn Jones took the win in 31:19. One place later Marcus England was just five seconds outside his PB as he recorded 33:15 on a course that certainly wouldn’t be described as flat. In seventh place Alex Lee clocked 33:29 before Mark James’ 35:33 saw him finish as second veteran home. James Wilkinson then impressed as he lowered his PB by 39 seconds with 36:50 and Gareth Edwards completed the Harriers contingent in 37:27. Having just missed out on a place in the Oxford University team for their cross country varsity match against Cambridge next weekend, Alex Bampton represented the dark blues second team in a match against their rivals. Gaining places in the second half of the race after a pack of four Cambridge runners had pulled clear, the post-graduate moved from fifth into second place to finish just three seconds behind race winner Norman Shreeve. Over in France at the La Rochelle Marathon Shona Crombie-Hicks went through halfway in 1:26:36 before going on to finish as 14th lady home in a time of 2:58:38, becoming the third Cheltenham Harriers lady to break the three hour mark in the last five weeks. The Cheltenham parkrun celebrated its 250th event with Doug Wight (17:35) becoming the 31st Harrier to cross the line first on the Pitville Park course. James Bingham (18:04) placed fourth whilst Miguel Mundinando (19:43), Dave Hemmings (21:58) and Hannah D’Ambrosio (22:01) also enjoyed a run out. Andy Gardiner (18:19) meanwhile claimed his 22nd different parkrun venue win at the Thornbury event and Charlie Jones (17:42) was the first man home in Hereford. Elsewhere Steve Bradley (18:59) placed third at the Kingsway parkrun in Gloucester whilst Mike Ede (21:12) took sixth position at the Evesham event.