Cheltenham Harriers athletes enjoyed a successful weekend as Jon Barnes took a fine second place at the Newport Marathon and Alex Bampton set an excellent 10,000m personal best at the British Universities Championship. In his third marathon, and first race over the classic 26.2 mile distance since 2015, Barnes went into the race hoping to break the 2:40 barrier as he embarked on the inaugural South Wales event. Whilst enjoying conditions much cooler than his clubmates faced at London last weekend, a stiff breeze was far from ideal on a course that was relatively flat and fast. Right from the opening stages it was Barnes and Neath’s James Carpenter who pulled clear of the field as they covered the opening 5km in 18:31. By the time they had passed 10km in 36:53 the pair had extended their lead and they were never challenged as the passed the halfway mark in 77:11. The fascinating duel continued with neither athlete getting away and they passed 21 miles together in 2:03:57. However, at this point Barnes started to tire and by 23 miles Carpenter had pulled six seconds clear as he went on to establish a race winning gap. The Welshman went on to take the win in 2:33:32 with Barnes managing to hold his race together to record a very impressive 2:34:13, a time fifteen minutes quicker than the PB he set whilst winning the 2015 Hereford Marathon.
The previous day on the track saw Alex Bampton take on the countries best student runners at the British Universities 10,000m Championships in Loughborough. Having set a 69:14 personal best at the Valencia Half Marathon last month, Bampton went into the race with his previous best time of 31:29.42 a realistic target. After making an early decision to the let the lead pack go, Bampton paced himself to halfway in 15:25 having passed through the opening 3000m in 9:14. Fading only slightly in the second half, the Oxford University post-graduate recorded an excellent 31:07.65 for a pleasing tenth place. Also in action at the Paula Radcliffe track was George Watson who was contesting the Loughborough University trials over 3000m where he finished ninth as he lowered his personal best to 9:08.62. There was also an early season PB for Andrew van Kints in the Guernsey Endurance Open where he finished second in the 5000m in a time of 15:50.4.
Back on the roads there were second placed finishes for both Dave Tomlin and Fee Maycock at the Dave McNamee Memorial 10k at Temple Guiting. Just seven days after completing the London Marathon, Tomlin recorded 36:36 as finished 53 seconds adrift of Bourton’s Tim Carter for the hilly course that is not conducive to fast times. Elliot Prince (39:20) and Andy Gore (39:33) took fourth and fifth respectively before Dave Rantell (39:52) fittingly made it four Cheltenham runners in the top seven of the rebranded Cotswold 10k that honours the former Harriers stalwart. Maycock’s 41:11 saw as the second lady home as she finished 46 seconds behind Tewkesbury’s Shona Crombie-Hicks. Mike Ede (41:04) then finished as second vet 60 runner before Paul Barnes (45:59), Leah Hopton (50:37) and Adrian Higgs (53:12) completed the club contingent. Also taking on a hilly challenge was Gareth Edwards who finished second in the Malvern Trails Half Marathon in 1:40. Weekend parkruns saw Martin Soakell (18:58) and Ian Giles (19:15) finish fifth and sixth at the Cheltenham event where Hannah D’Ambrosio (21:43) was the second lady home. Alister Brown (19:54) took second place in Evesham, a position matched by Kaitlyn Sheppard (21:14) who was the first lady home at the Tewkesbury parkrun.