Distance Running News, 1-3 September

Cheltenham Harriers enjoyed success at the Swindon Half Marathon where Fee Maycock was the first lady home and Ben Price finished smashed his personal best to take second place overall as the club packed four runners into the top six places. In her first race since celebrating her 50th birthday, Maycock battled for the lead in the ladies race over the first five miles before opening up a ten second lead over second placed runner Jessica White (unattached) by the time she reached the 10km mark in 38:58. After this point the experienced veteran remained at the head of the field as she extended her winning margin to 24 seconds to take the win in 86:03. This time places the Cheltenham athlete seventh in the UK rankings for her new age group as she prepares for the Frankfurt Marathon next month. In the men’s race it was Tonbridge’s Ben Cole that set the quick early pace. Only the Harrier’s Dave Roper tried to match this in the opening mile before sensibly deciding to let the eventual race winner go as Price ran isolated in third. By the 10km mark it was Cole (30:46) who was comfortably clear of Roper (32:00) who had a 23 second cushion over Price. Fellow Harriers Marcus England and Alex Lee then passed the mark together in 33:56 as they occupying fourth and fifth places. However, the gap between Price and Roper soon started to close with Price catching his teammate just after nine miles and eventually pulling clear at around ten miles. Despite the more challenging second half of the race Price held good form to set a new personal best of 70:45 as he took 94 seconds off his previous mark to take second place behind Cole (68:07). Knowing he was assured of third place Roper eased back in the closing stages to cross the line in 72:23. England meanwhile had moved clear of Lee in the second half of the race to finish fourth in a new PB of 73:32, sixteen seconds quicker than his previous best for the distance. Lee fell back by a single place, but still took sixth position in a respectable 74:21. Jo Wilkie then earned sixth place in the ladies race as she recorded her second fastest time for the distance with a 91:52 clocking.

The Gloucestershire 10,000m Championship saw new signing Doug Wight enjoy a fine first race for the club as he led the race from the start to take the win in a new personal best of 33:49.0. There was also a PB for Alex Lindfield in third with 35:30.0 whilst Dave Rantell recorded 36:42.5 for fifth place. The Harriers performance of the night then came from Hilary Mott who took the ladies title with a big PB of 36:56.0 before Martin Soakell posted 38:56.1 on his debut over the distance. In the accompanying mile race Mike Gray took fourth place with a time of 4:46.0. The following evening Gray was back in action again in the meteor mile road race on the Staverton where he took second in 4:51 as teammate Mark James took the win in 4:42. Debbie Smith was the third lady home with a time of 6:14. Martin Ford and Ken Buckle competed in the 17th World Masters Mountain Running Championships, held at Vrsatec in Slovakia. On a 9.6km course of varied terrain with a total ascent of 2000 feet Ford came fourth in the M70 category for the third time in four years, but as a consolation collected a team gold medal alongside his GB teammates. Buckle was tenth in the M75 age group. Weekend parkuns saw Alex Bampton (15:56) win the Swindon event where Rachel See (20:41) was the third lady home. Sarah Sheppard (21:19) was the first lady home in Tewkesbury whilst the Cheltenham event in Pittville Park saw Jeremy Bradley (18:37), Oliver Doherty (19:45) and Dave Hemmings (20:52) all in action.