Distance Running News. 10-15 June

Martin Ford set a British 5km road record for the vet 70 age group as he added another national gold medal to his vast collection at the British Masters Championship in Horwich. The 70 year olds time of 18:55, on a course that is not renowned for producing fast times, took 23 seconds off the previous record. Ford already holds the British and European records for the same distance on the track with a time of 18:33 that he set last August.

Julia Cooke set a new Cheltenham Harriers record as she smashed her 1500m personal best in the British Milers Club Gold Standard race in Trafford. More renowned as an 800m specialist, Cooke took six seconds from her previous best and over five and a half seconds off Vicky Holland’s club record as she finished fifth in 4:20.63, a time that places her 35th in the current UK rankings. In the men’s 1500m B race at the same meeting Dan Owen came eighth in a season’s best time of 3:56.72. At the following evening’s BMC regional meeting in Coventry Hugo Coutinho finished second in the 800m A race in a season’s best of 1:54.1

Mia O’Connell won her first outdoor Midland title claiming 1500m gold in the under 20 age group at the Midland Championship in Birmingham. The Matt Richards coached athlete was happy to sit in the pack during the early slow and tactical stages of the race, as each lap got progressively faster. O’Connell made her move to the front with around 250m to go and stayed fast and strong to cross the line first in a time of 4:37.14 for a 0.78 second winning margin. Having eased into the final of the men’s 800m with a 1:59.55 in his heat, James Miller contested another slow and tactical 800m race in the final. An opening lap of just under 63 seconds saw Miller lying second at the bell, before eventually just missing out on the silver medal by four hundredths of a second as he claimed the bronze with 1:58.31 In the women’s 1500m race Beth Hawling was less than a second outside her pb as she placed fifth in 4:43.36. Earlier in the week Miller learned that he had been selected to represent the British Police athletics team at the European Police Championships in Russia in September. The 29 year old, one of just six British athletes to be selected, heard of his selection after retaining his 800m and 1500m titles at the British Police Championships in Uxbridge. Miller also represented Britain in the quadrennial championships in the Ukraine in 2010 where he earned a bronze medal over 1500m.

Dave Aubrey earned his first race victory as heat beat teammate Jon Barnes at the Hereford 5k. Having won the previous two races in the series, Barnes went off hard from the gun as he looked to dominate once again. Aubrey, however, was happy to hang back early on and then to gradually close the gap on the leading pack. At the two mile mark Aubrey was sitting at the back of the four man leading group when he made his bid for the win as he moved up from fourth place to hit the front and quickly establish a race winning gap to take the win in a new road 5k pb of 16:30. Barnes followed ten seconds later for second on the day, but had the consolation of winning the overall series. There was a four mile personal best of 23:12 for Steve Maguire as he travelled across the Welsh Border for the Rose Inn 4 mile road near to Magor. Steve Hall led the Harriers home in twelfth place at the Westonbirt Trails 10k in a time of 38:16, with Gareth Edwards (39:31) and Richard Birch (41:13) following before Ken Buckle finished as first over 70 runner home in 50:23. At the Bourton Hilly Half Marathon Steve Linton finished fourteen in 1:28:04, with James Wilkinson clocking in 1:31:00 and Paul Barnes completing the course in 1:35:39. Dmitry Nazarenko claimed his eleventh Cheltenham parkrun win with a 17:14 clocking whilst Ellie Hathaway set an impressive pb of 20:02 to finish as second lady home. Matt Evans (17:49) and Steve Hall (18:02) placed fifth and seventh respectively before Gareth Edwards recorded his fastest time on the Pittville Park course to finish thirteenth in 18:54.