Dan Owen moved to the top of the UK rankings as he set a new Cheltenham Harriers and Midland League 2000m steeplechase record as the club’s distance runners excelled at their home league match at the Prince of Wales Stadium. Having only finished third in the 3000m steeplechase in 9:15.2 at the British Athletic League match in Bedford the previous day, Owen was eager to post a fast time in Sunday’s fixture and took the lead straight from the gun. Unchallenged throughout, the Dave Newport coached athlete stopped the clock at an impressive 5:49.1, as he took over three seconds off his own PB, club record and league record as well as moving to the top of the national rankings for the less frequently contested steeplechase distance. Luke Kearns ensure maximum points in the steeplechase as he was first B runner home in third place overall with 6:49.2. The ladies 3000m then also provided the team with the perfect 16 points as Hilary Mott led from the start to quickly open up a gap on the field. Easing up to conserve energy in the closing laps, Mott took the win in 10.44 before Fee Maycock won the B string win a personal best of 11:05.0 in third position. Mayccok’s time was also a Cheltenham Harriers LV45 and LV50 club record and places her fourth on the national LV50 rankings for the year. The men’s 5000m saw six Harriers toe the line as the excessive 4pm temperatures made conditions far from ideal. Birchfield’s Alistair Rutherford led for the opening mile, with only Alex Lee in contact as the five remaining Harriers stayed in the pack. Once Lee made his move the race was never in doubt and he finished clear of the field to take the win in 15:39.5. In his third race of the afternoon, Rhys Park ran well within himself, just doing enough to take second overall and claim the B string win in 15:50.3. Dom James enjoyed a fine track debut to finish fourth in 16:06.0 before Charlie Jones (16:07.9) and Marcus England (16:09.6) took the next two places and Eliot Taylor (16:15.6) completed the Cheltenham squad in eighth. Earlier in the meeting the men’s 1500m also brought a good points with Richard de-Camps finishing second in 4:08.6 as Tamworth’s Tom Randolph won the race by a single second. In fourth place Park took the B string win in 4:12.1. In the ladies race Mott took second in a PB of 4:57.6 and Maycock finished as second B runner in 5:24.8 for yet another club LV50 record. The 800m saw Park take third in the A race in 2:00.3, with John Merrett finishing third B runner in a V45 club record of 2:07.2 just behind non-scorer George Hawthorne who recorded 2:06.7. In the ladies B race Georgia Palmer impressed on her senior debut as she took the win in a PB of 2:25.2 after Katerina Horrocks had finished fifth in the A race in 2:33.9.
Midweek action also saw the Harriers host the first of their Midsummer Open meetings, with the mile the focus for the club’s distance runners. Dan Owen took the win in 4:17.3 as he finished 1.5 seconds clear of Bristol’s Ben Robinson. Alex Lee (4:35.7) took sixth before places ten to twelve were taken by Ollie Jones (4:47.0), Marc Fallows (4:47.3) and Mark James (4:49.4). The B race saw Matthew Dwerryhouse (4:50.9) take the win from Nick Brown (4:53.0) before Mike Gray (4:59.2) and Roger Mullins (5:01.8) followed in fifth and eighth respectively. Martin Soakell then lowered his PB to 5:02.6 whilst James Bingham (5:12.0) and Dan Minors (5:26.1) also had a run out. Alister Brown (5:04.9) took second in the C race in which Kaitlyn Sheppard (5:33.0) was the second fastest lady of the evening. In the D race Katerina Horrocks (5:50.2), Molly Dibden (5:50.4) and Fee Maycock (5:50.7) had a close battle with Maycock’s time a club LV45 and LV50 record that also places her second on this year’s national LV50 rankings. Elswehere, Andrew van Kints won the 3000m at the Guernsey Open in 9:05.77.
Whilst the focus for most of the club’s athletes was the track, the week started with a Monday night victory for Alex Lee (33:30) at the Frampton 10k where Mark James (36:45) was the first veteran home in fifth place. Dave Rantell (38:56) followed before Fee Maycock (40:38) finished as second lady and Martin Ford (47:13) was the first V70 athlete. At the Gloucester 10k defending champion Richard Dare (35:03) finished second behind Stroud’s Lee Stopford in a race where Gareth Edwards (38:00) and Steve Bradley (41:05) also battled against the heat. Weekend parkruns brought three first place finishes with John Parker (16:45) and James Bingham (17:26) filling the top two slots at the Cheltenham event where Dan Minors (18:45) placed tenth. Mark James (17:23) was first home at the Kingsway event in Gloucester whilst Dave Tomlin (17:30) took the win at the Killerton parkrun in Devon.