Distance Running News, 12-17 June

Rachel Longstaff produced an excellent performance to post an impressive 5000m personal best as she finished sixth in the England under 23 Championship in Bedford. Her time of 17.08.62 was just over two seconds outside the Cheltenham Harriers club record. Also o the track Graham Rush was in fine form in a high quality 3000m race at the Trafford Open in Manchester. The GB international’s time of 8:09.31 was agonisingly just one hundredth of a second outside his personal best and club record as he placed fourth behind Jonny Mellor (Liverpool), Tom Lancashire (Bolton) and Charlie Hulson (Liverpool). Rush also made a rare appearance over 1500m at the BMC regional event in Leeds where he finished second in 3:57.92 as Border’s Matthew Grieve edged 0.12 seconds clear in the final straight. However, Rush’s time was good enough to claim the Cheltenham Harriers V35 club record as it surpassed Andy Prophett’s mark of 3:59.8.

Ben Price led the Cheltenham Harriers team home with a fine fifth place and Marcus England set an impressive personal best in a high-class field at the inaugural Summer Speedway 10k. Hosted by Chepstow Harriers, in the village of Beachley on the confluence of the Rivers Wye and Severn, the event was billed as am opportunity for fast times on a flat course. However, its peninsula location meant that the wind made conditions far from ideal. Whilst Cardiff’s Matt Clowes ran clear of the field from the start for a 30:19 win, the battle for second place was more intriguing as an eight man pack that included Price, fellow Harrier Alex Lee and a quartet of Bideford runners went through the opening mile in 4:55. The group split in the third mile with Lee falling off the pace as Price and the Bideford trio of Shaun Antell, Mark Jenkin and Aaron Richmond went through halfway in 15:45. Antell then pulled clear at the start of the second lap before Price lost contact with Jenkin and Richmond with 2km remaining. Finishing into the wind, Price was still able to post a pleasing 31:40 for fifth place for what was arguably a better performance than the 31:24 PB he ran at Telford earlier in the year. Lee soon followed and came home in ninth place with a time of 32:25. Arguably the best Cheltenham performance of the day came from Marcus England. After opening miles of 5:02 and 5:07, the marathon man went through halfway in 16:05. Despite slowing in the second half England still gained places and managed to take eight seconds off his personal best as he defied the conditions with a pleasing 32:34. On his debut for the club Dom James showed great potential with 33:56 for seventeenth place to complete the Harriers four man team that took second place behind a strong Bideford squad. In twentieth Alex Doherty used the race as a build up to the duathlon age group world championships and showed great form to be just 15 seconds outside of his PB with 34:33. Dan Thomas crossed the line one place and five seconds later before Doug Wight posted 34:55. Alex Lindfield was another athlete to conquer the wind as he took 21 seconds off his personal best with a very pleasing 35:09. Ian Giles then posted 38:54 before Alister Brown (40:21) completed the Harriers contingent.

At the Humph’s Hilly Half Marathon in Bourton-on-the-Water John Parker made a return to racing after a five month absence in impressive style. The 45 year old proved to be in another class to his rivals as he claimed a comfortable 76:42 victory for a 2:18 winning margin over Weston’s Kieron Summers. With Dave Rantell (86:00) and Paul Wade (90:06) eighth and fourteenth respectively the Harriers also claimed the team prize. In the ladies race Fee Maycock finished third in 93:05 as Shona Crombie-Hicks (Tewkesbury) and Kate Krzywiec (North Cotswold) took the top two spots. Paul Barnes was the third over 55 athlete home with a time of 97:39. Elsewhere, Andrew van Kints finished third in the Guernsey Half Marathon in 75:06, Russell Forsbrook finished nineteenth in the Yeovil 5k in 17:32 and Gareth Edwards placed fourth in the Chelteham Challenge 10k multi-terrain race. At the Cirencester Park Summer Sizzler 10k Debbie Smith (47:34) and vet 70 athletes Martin Ford (48:09) and Ken Buckle (59:58) all had a run out whilst James Bingham placed second in the Cheltenham parkrun with a time of 17:40.