Distance Running News, 24-25 February

Beth Hawling produced an excellent performance to finish twelfth in the English National Cross Country Championships. The event was held over a distance of 8km over the iconic Parliament Hill Fields course on Hampstead Heath and saw Hawling put herself in around thirtieth place at the top of the famous opening 400m uphill start. The former GB under 23 international then gradually picked her way through the field to move up into nineteenth place by the end of the challenging opening lap. Her momentum through the field then continued on the final circuit as she gained a further seven places to cross the line in twelfth place on her debut in the championship. Teammate Alice Taylor also ran well to finish in 111th place.

Having equalled his 5km personal best in Armagh last week Graham Rush went into the race hoping to follow up his fifth place in last year’s national with a challenge for the medals. However, having put himself into the lead group in the early stages Rush dropped back as a calf injury restricted his progress. Sadly he was eventually forcing him to jog in during the closing stages as he crossed the line in 62nd place. Having enjoyed a good cross country season Richard de-Camps went into the 12km race full of confidence and produced his best ever performance to squeeze into the top 100 as he finished in an excellent 97th place. Dan Owen ran a good race to move through the field to 183rd position before Dan King took 246th place. Fourteen seconds later Dan Thomas placed 266th as the Cheltenham runners packed well. Marc Fallows had been the sixth and final Cheltenham scorer throughout the final lap, but Eliot Taylor sprinted past him in the finishing straight to claim the last scoring spot. Taylor was just 12 second behind Thomas, but 21 places adrift in 287th, whilst Fallows was a further three seconds adrift in 295th meaning the 30 second gap to King was worth 49 places. Andrew van Kints made a return to the Harriers team in 340th before Steve Bradley and Matt Evans finished 1286th and 1363rd respectively in a race with 2328 finishers. Despite missing a few key athletes the Cheltenham team finished a credible 18th team and were the second highest Midland club. Earlier in the afternoon there were three Cheltenham runners in the under 20 men’s race with George Watson running well for a pleasing 56th position as he led home Jacob Pickering who placed 69th and Alex Lindfield who took 130th.

The weekend also saw the Bourton 10k road race well attended by the club with 2017 race winner Alex Lee and teammate Marcus England leading the charge. The duo chose to ignore the fast start of Cirencester’s Dave Bell and instead ran alongside CLC’s Will Ferguson. The trio then caught Bell at around 5km before Ferguson and Lee went clear. Lee eventually dropped off the pace at around 8km as he went on to finish 13 seconds behind Ferguson in 32:31. England meanwhile lost out to Bell by 2 seconds, but was delighted to lower his personal best to 32:42 as he took fourth place. Andy Gore was the leading V45 runner home in 35:59 before Simon Crew was the first junior home in 37:03. Veterans Dave Rantell (37:47) and Ian Giles (38:24) then followed before Fee Maycock ran well to finish as tenth lady and the first LV45+ runner home in 39:02. Jo Wilkie (41:10), Rachel See (42:25), Ella Burfitt (43:15), Debbie Smith (47:22) and Michael Imeson (51:08) also contested the race in the picturesque Cotswold village. Weekend parkruns saw Andy Gardiner (17:03) take second place in the inaugural Gloucester City event, a position which was matched by James Wilkinson (19:24) in Tewkesbury. Oliver Doherty (19:29) finished third at the Cheltenham event where Tamsin Carpenter (22:07) set a PB to finish as fifth lady and Katerina Horrocks (22:22) was the sixth lady to complete the Pittville Park course.