Distance Running News, 11-15 July

Cheltenham Harriers distance runners played their part on a day when the full range of the club’s track and field athletes combined to give the team an emphatic win in their Midland League Division Two fixture at the Prince of Wales Stadium. The men’s 5000m saw Phil Beastall, Oli Mott and Ben Price fill the first three places for maximum points. Whilst Beastall ran the whole way on a breezy afternoon unchallenged for a 14:51.7 victory, Mott was content to hold back to help Price challenge his 15:23 personal best once it was clear that the points were secured. However, despite his teammate’s pacing, Price was to just miss out as Mott crossed the line in 15:23.2 with the duathlete exactly one second behind. Liam Roarty (16:14.9) took seventh place before Alex Lee (16:26.7) made a welcome return after injury and Alex Lindfield lowered his PB to 17:03.3. The 2000m steeplechase had also brought maximum points with Dan Owen picking up the pace in the second half of the race for a comfortable win in 6:12.0. Luke Kearns then took the B string win as he finished second overall in a personal best of 6:30.5 whilst guest runner Matt Evans recorded 7:40.6. The ladies 3000m also brought a good points haul with the Harriers impressing as Alice Taylor enjoyed her debut for the team with 10:22.8 for second in the A string in third place overall. Hilary Mott (10:37.9) then finished one place behind for second in the B string before non-scorer Naomi Eaton set a PB of 10:47.0 for fifth place. The 1500m also brought good points with Alex Bampton (4:10.3) taking second and Fraser Willmore finishing fifth overall as second B runner in a PB of 4:17.6. Guests Mike Gray and Iain Devlin posted times of 4:26.1 and 4:27.8 respectively. Mia O’Connell made a welcome return to the team after injury to take second in the ladies race in 4:48.2 before Emma Quekett was fourth B runner in 5:19.5. In the 800m Mollie D’Arcy Rice (2:33.0) and Isabel Ovens (2:42.5) placed second and third in their respective A and B races whilst Yesper Adams (2:03.2) and Mark James (2:09.9) were fifth and fourth in the two men’s races.

Earlier in the week at the second of the club’s Midsummer Open Meetings Mark James was in fine form as he set a new personal best in the 3000m. Tracking long-time leader Noah Lambert (Stroud) for the entire race, James sprinted clear in the final 150m for a 9:15.2 victory. Mike Gray also ran well for a PB of 9:23.4 in fourth before Roger Mullins posted 9:43.6 and Matthew Dwerryhouse lowered his PB to 9:45.6. Steve Maguire (10:04.5) moved through the field to pip Toby Wort (10:06.9) whilst Joe Tandy (10:14.2), Archie Routledge (10:16.1) and Henry James (10:35.4) all raced over the distance for the first time. In the B race Martin Soakell enjoyed a win in 10:34.1, Oliver Doherty ran a PB of 10:57.2 and V70 runner Martin Ford clocked 12:09.3. In the 800m A race Yesper Adams (2:03.2) took second, George Hawthorne (2:04.3) set a PB in third and Fraser Willmore (2:06.8) finished sixth.

Cheltenham Harriers enjoyed success at the Bourton Mile road race as they filled the top three places. Dave Roper returned from injury to claim the win in 4:35 as he finished six seconds clear of Mark James who in turn was three seconds ahead of fellow veteran Marc Fallows. Mike Gray (4:53) and Toby Wort (4:54) followed in seventh and eighth before Steve Maguire (4:58) also broke the five minute mark in eleventh position and Dave Rantell then stopped the clock at 5:22. Shona Crombie-Hicks finished as first veteran lady in 5:31 as she placed third overall behind Elsie Butler (Charnwood) and youngster Emily Field (Bourton). Sarah Sheppard (5:36) finished as fifth lady before Jo Wilkie (5:57) was ninth lady as she matched the time of clubmate Paul Barnes. Debbie Smith (6:20), Adrian Higgs (6:48) and Christina See (9:44) also enjoyed a run out in the picturesque Cotswold village.

Midweek racing had seen the Harriers take the team win at the Rose Inn 4 mile road race in Magor as they packed five runners into the top eleven of the Chepstow Harriers organised event. After the opening two mile lap Phil Wylie was adrift of Carwyn Jones (Cardiff), but whilst the Cheltenham athlete closed the gap on the second circuit he still finished three seconds behind the Welshman as he crossed the line in 19:36. Dan Owen started steadily and moved through the field with a fast last two miles for fifth place in 20:31 before Will New (20:53) and Eliot Taylor (21:03) completed the winning four man team in seventh and ninth respectively. Dave Aubrey (21:19) and Alex Lindfield (22:36) then followed before Alice Taylor (23:26) was third lady home. Graham Rush meanwhile finished first at the Doncaster 5k road race in 14:29 for a twenty second winning margin over Lincoln’s Tom Straw. Weekend parkruns saw Kevin Sheppard (16:48) claim a win in Cheltenham where Steve Hall (18:36) placed fourth whilst Dave Tomlin (17:33) was first across the line at the Kingsway event in Gloucester. Roger Mullins (18:03), Jeremy Bradley and Ian Giles (19:58) filled the top three places at the Dolgellau parkrun in Snowdonia whilst James Wilkinson (18:36) was fifth home in the Worcester event.