There was an impressive victory for Harry Bishop as Cheltenham Harriers athletes filled the top eight places and recorded a host of personal best times in the 5000m at the third Cheltenham Midsummer Open Meeting at the Prince of Wales Stadium. Straight form the gun Bishop showed his intention to go out hard with a 68 second lap that his rivals sensibly chose not to follow as they looked for a more even pace. However, the nineteen year kept extending his lead and went on to stop the clock in a new track personal best of 15:23.45. Behind Bishop a strong pack of Harries battled for second with Anthony Bailey setting the pace before Alex Bampton took Bailey and Parker through 1600m in 4:55. The trio shared the work before Bailey hit the front after 3400m and opened up a small gap with 800m remaining. With Parker chasing him down, Bailey hung on for second place for a new track PB and Cheltenham Harriers veteran record of 15:39.49. In third fellow veteran Parker was also comfortably inside Steve Brown’s old record time of 15:58.8 with the two Harriers moving to thirteenth and fourteenth respectively in the national veteran rankings. Bampton meanwhile claimed a PB of 15:44.65.
In fifth place Alex Lee continued to make rapid improvement as he broke the sixteen minute barrier for the first time with an impressive 15:51.88. Veteran Marc Fallows ran a PB of 15:56.17 and Will New ran well for 15:58.41. Roger Mullins made it eight Harriers in the top eight as he ran an isolated race for 16:27.43. In eleventh place Andy Gore lowered his own club V45 record to 16:53.14 as narrowly finished ahead of Jay Dowding who recorded a PB of 16:53.82. A pack of six athletes remained together until the final lap with Marcus England finishing strongly to record a personal best for the distance of 17:08.60, Andy Prophett clocking 17:10.19 and James Chantler setting A PB of 17:13.49. Dave Aubrey (17:30.62) and Gareth Edwards (18:01.46) completed the Harriers contingent in the A race before Hilary Mott was the leading Harriers runner in the B race with 18:29.39 as she saw off the challenge of Miguel Mundinano (18:30.73). Ian Giles (18:45.56) and Rachel See (20:59.98) followed in a race where wheelchair athlete Gareth Picken led the field home in 16:10.3. In the 800m races at the same meeting Iain Devlin ran well for 2:06.76 and Martin Ford went to the top of the UK rankings for the V70 age group with 2:42.27. On the same evening James Miller showed good form with a season’s best of 1:54.47 in a British Milers Club 800m race in Watford.
The weekend again saw the Harriers distance group dominate the local racing scene as they packed nine runners into the top ten at the Bourton Mile road race. Graham Rush took a comfortable win in 4:26 with Anthony Bailey (4:37) holding off the challenge of James Miller (4:38) and Marc Fallows (4:39). Mark James (4:46) made it five Harriers in the top five before Jacob Pickering (4:49) was the first under 20 runner home in seventh place. Gavin McCaugherty (4:50), Mike Gray (4:51) and Russell Forsbrook (4:52) completed the top ten before Steve Maguire (4:55), Marcus England (4:59), Gareth Edwards (5:00) and Lee Groenwegen (5:09) crossed the line. Casey Fallows (5:11), Elliot Goodman (5:13) and Callum Fallows (5:16) followed before Dave Rantell (5:19) made it seventeen Harriers in the top twenty-five. Richard Birch (5:27) and Tom Keylcok (5:28) followed with Dave Hemmings the third over 50 runner home in 5:52 and Paul Barnes the third V55 runner in 5:54. Rachel See (6:05) was the leading Harriers lady in 6:05 before Hermione Brewster (6:42) and Samantha Pickering (6:53) followed her home. Meanwhile Alex Lee lowered his best time at the Cheltenham parkrun to 16:45 as he took victory ahead of teammate Ben Williams who finished second in 18:13. There was also a second place for Darren Jordan (17:24) at the Buckingham parkrun whilst Mia O’Connell won the women’s 800m E race at the BMC Grand Prix in Oxford in a time of 2:13.04.