Distance Running New, 25 December - 1 January

Dan Owen took the honours to win the Peter Holmes Cup for the first athlete home at the Winston’s Wish Boxing Day Challenge at Cheltenham racecourse. Holmes had won the inaugural James Brewer organised event in 2008, but had sadly passed away after a mountaineering accident just before the 2009 event and a trophy in his name has been presented to the winner each year since. Surprisingly, Owen becomes the first Cheltenham Harrier to win the race since Holmes as he pulled clear of Kent AC’s Noah Armitage Hooks in the closing stages of the 4 mile race. Alex Lee passed teammate Alex Chantler-Mayne in the final mile to take third place before James Bingham and Russell Forsbrook also enjoyed top ten finishes.

The Wye Valley New Year’s Day 10k road race saw Cheltenham Harriers dominate procedings as they packed five runners into the top six positions. Back home for his Christmas from his studies in America, Rhys Park dominated the race for a win in 31:50. Dan Owen then took second in 33:21 before Dan King impressed with a 33:38 clocking on a course that is not renowned for fast times to complete a Harriers 1-2-3. Eliot Taylor then posted 34:02 for fifth before Charlie Jones followed one place later with 34:31. There was also a New Year’s Day win for Mark James as he took first place at Severn AC’s 4 mile race in Elmore in 22:04.
The previous day Graham Rush completed his successful year with a win in the Buntingford 10 mile road race with a time of 52:25 for an 84 second victory over Enfield’s Alex Milne. The Gloucester New Year’s Eve 10 mile road race saw a fourth place finishes for Richard Dare and who posted a new personal best time of 56:04 for the undulating course. At the same event Fee Maycock’s 65:50 saw her finish as fifth lady and as first LV50 athlete home as she finished ahead of all the LV40 and LV45 athletes. Later the same day Dave Aubrey made the trip to Mountain Ash in Wales for the Nos Galan 5k road race where he placed 24th in a high class field in 16:38.

Phil Beastall ended his successful year in fine style with a course record of 15:01 at the Worcester Pitchcroft parkrun as he took 38 seconds off the previous record for the course. Fellow Harriers Alex Doherty (16:58) and Alister Brown (18:20) also set course PBs as they finished second and tenth respectively on the fast and short course. Meanwhile on a more challenging course in Cornwall Ben Price lowered his own course record at the Trelissick parkrun by three seconds as he took the win in 16:44. Elsewhere Dave Tomlin (17:41) won the Kingsway parkrun in Gloucester five days after placing second at the Cheltenham Christmas Day parkrun where he was just two seconds behind teammate Luke Kearns (16:55) who took the win. Andy Gardiner returned to his home parkrun in Cardiff to claim fourth place in a course PB of 16:55 on Christmas morning before taking third in 17:12 on the same course in his 300th parkrun on Saturday. New Year’s Day then saw Gardiner fuel his addiction with two parkruns at Swindon where he posted 17:53 for third place before heading to Chippenham where a time of 18:57 earned him fourth place.