Distance Running News, 15-19 July

Beth Hawling won the Midland Senior Women’s 3000 metres title at Coventry, running a very even paced race throughout she improved her previous best time by ten seconds to claim gold in a PB of 10:02.72. Julia Cooke continued her excellent form with a win and a new PB at the British Milers Club Grand Prix in Oxford. Racing in the 800m B race Cooke stopped the clock at 2:05.06 to knock a third of a second from her previous best time and earn herself 25th place in the national rankings. Earlier in the week Cooke representing Wales in the 800m at the Welsh Athletics International in Cardiff where she finished second in 2:06.21 behind Commonwealth Games bound Angie Smit of New Zealand who clocked 2:02.78. At the same event Mia O’Connell represented the Midland under 20 team and placed fifth in the mile in 5:01.86. At the Watford Open Meeting Dan Owen lowered his 800m PB to 1:54.54 as he finished seventh in the open A race, his time marginally slower than the 1:54.5 set by Hugo Coutinho who took ninth in the BMC B race held within the same meeting.

Graham Rush took the individual victory as Cheltenham Harriers claimed an eighth successive White Horse 5k team win with a dominant showing on the fast Gloucester course. A three man lead group of Rush, his teammate Dave Roper and Bristol’s Owain Jones quickly established themselves at the head of the field, before Roper lost ground and Rush opened up a small gap in the closing stages to take the win in 14:53 to Jones’ 14:54. Whilst Roper took third in 15:00 a three man battle for fourth took place with Harriers Ben Price and Anthony Bailey battling against CLC’s Will Ferguson. In the sprint for the line veteran Bailey edged out Freguson, with both athletes awarded a time of 15:42 and Price finishing sixth in 15:45. John Parker was second veteran home in seventh with a 15:49 clocking before Tom Lowe completed the victorious Harriers six man team with a season’s best of 15:54 in eighth place.

The Harriers again showed their depth with a B team led home by Jon Barnes in a season’s best of 16:11 for tenth. Dmitry Nazarenko was the first under 20 runner home, as he outsprinted James Bingham, with the pair taking eleventh and twelfth in new personal bests of 16:18 and 16:19 respectively. Will New (16:23) followed in thirteenth before Marc Fallows (16:31) and Roger Mullins (16:32) completed the Harriers second team in fifteenth and sixteenth. Andy Gore (16:49) made it fourteen Cheltenham runners in the top twenty after Dave Aubrey (16:34) had placed seventeenth. Mike Gray set a season’s best of 17:01 before Steve Hall set a personal best of 17:21 whilst Gareth Edwards recorded a time of 18:15 and Jack Mundinano impressed with a 19:03 PB. Vickie Wilkinson was ninth lady home with a pleasing 19:11, with Jess White eleventh lady in 20:42 and Lee Groenewegen completing the twenty-one strong Harriers contingent in 20:56.

Following up from this midweek success, the club had further cause for celebration on Saturday with Dave Roper claiming two race wins. In the morning he finished first in the Cheltenham parkrun with a 16:26 clocking, as Dave Aubrey (17:17) and Dmitry Nazarenko (17:32) completed the top three and Steve Hall (18:24) finished sixth. In the evening Roper then won the Bourton Mile road race in a time of 4:30 as the Harriers filled the top four places. Veterans Anthony Bailey and John Parker had a close battle with Bailey taking second in 4:37 and Parker following just one second behind. In his first race as a veteran Marc Fallows finished fourth in 4:44 whilst Matt Evans took eighth in 4:58. In ninth Jacob Pickering was the first under 20 runner home in 5:01 before Gareth Edwards finished eleventh in 5:03 and Steve Linton followed just one place and two seconds later. Dave Rantell was the second V45 runner home in 5:13 and Casey Fallows finished as third under 15 boy in 5:30. Youngster Holly Linton clocked 6:26 before LV45 runner Sam Pickering set a time of 7:02. The dominant team performance also confirmed the Harriers men’s team had successfully defended their County Road Races Series title in record time, with a third of the year’s races still remaining.