Distance Running News, 13-16 August

Julia Cooke lowered her own Cheltenham Harriers 1500m record with an excellent third place in the British Milers Club Grand Prix at Solihull. The 25 year old took on 2014 Commonwealth Games athletes Jemma Simpson (Newquay) and Racheal Bamford (Leeds) as the three athletes moved clear of the chasing pack by the half way stage of the race. Whilst Simpson opened up a decisive gap at the bell to win in 4:12.18, Cooke moved up to second before Bamford regained the place in the home straight to take second in 4:14.27. Cooke’s willingness to mix it with the two England internationals was a new personal best of 4:14.60 as she knocked over a second from her previous best and moved up to eleventh in this year’s UK ranking list.

At the same meeting James Miller faced an intriguing 800m F race that included his local rivals Andrew and Richard de-Camps of Gloucester. Whilst Richard opened up a lead by the bell, Andrew led the chasing pack in which the Cheltenham athlete sat. Miller was still in fifth with 100m to go, as Andrew took the lead and looked set for the win. However, the fast finishing Miller found an extra gear in the home straight for a 1:55.77 victory, with Andrew just thirteen hundredths of a second behind in second place. In the 1500m D race Dan Owen finished seventh in 3:56.25 to follow up the 3:55.76 he ran earlier in the week for sixth place in the B race at the Watford BMC Gold Standard event. Also competing at Watford were Miller who placed seventh in the 800m C race in 1:55.34 and Hugo Coutinho who clocked 1:54.33 for eleventh place in the 800m B race.

At the Cheltenham parkrun Dmitry Nazarenko and Mike Gray finished first and second in times of 17:20 and 17:23 respectively, with Steve Hall eighth in 18:14 and Gareth Edwards stopping the clock at 19:09.