Distance Running News, 15-21 May

Graham Rush produced an excellent performance to finish as sixth British athlete in a new personal best at the British 10,000m trials for this summer’s World Championship. The Cheltenham Harrier went through the opening kilometre in 2:51 as a twelve man pack went clear of the rest of the field. The group splintered during the third kilometre with Rush passing the 3000m mark in 8:33 in tenth place, with just the three British runners ahead of him as he lay tenth overall. Little had changed by the time the Dave Newport coached athlete had reached the halfway point in 14:28 as Ben Connor (Derby), Dewi Griffiths (Swansea) and Andy Vernon (Aldershot) pulled clear at the front. Keeping to a sub 29 minute schedule was always going to be tough for Rush to hold, as he looked to run faster than his road PB of 29:16. By the team he reached the 8km mark in 23:12 Rush had moved up into eighth place, a position he still held at the bell. Despite picking up the pace on the final 400m Rush was overtaken by Ellis Cross (Aldershot) and Luke Caldwell (Dorking) but he still managed to finish in an impressive tenth place overall and as sixth British runner in a new PB and Cheltenham Harriers club record of 29:04.52. Vernon (28:21.15) took the win whilst second placed Griffiths (26:31.88) and fifth placed Connor (28:46.45) claiming the other British Championship medals.

The B race saw Oli Mott tackle the 25 laps of the Highgate track as he bid to run faster than his road PB of 30:52. After ambitiously going through the 2km mark in 6:00 and 3km in 9:01, Mott inevitably slowed to 15:12 at the halfway point as he dropped down the field. However, after allowing the next group to close him down Mott was able to sit back in a pack and pick his pace back up as he hit the 8k mark in 24:37. Regaining places in the last 2km as his group split, Mott then finished with a 65 second last lap to stop the clock in a very pleasing 30:44.46 PB in thirteenth position. Alex Bampton was in action in the C race aiming to beat his road PB of 31:49. After passing the halfway point in 15:38 the Birmingham University student gained places in the second half of the race as many of those in front faded badly. Reaching the bell in 30:25, Bampton realised that a sub 31:30 clocking was possible and produced a 64 second last lap to stop the clock at an impressive 31:29.42.

Earlier in the week at the Berkeley 10k Mark James was in fine form as he finished as first veteran in second place overall. After going through the 5km mark in 17:00 James went on to finish second in 34:26, 70 seconds behind race winner Ian Radford (Black Pear), but 33 seconds quicker than his previous personal best. In fifth place Andrew Hussey impressed in his first race of the year as he won the vet 50 category in an excellent 35:28. Dave Rantell (38:12), Ian Giles (38:20) and Steve Maguire (38:50) then packed well before Martin Soakaell (39:36) completed the six man winning team. Just 24 hours after the Tewkesbury half marathon Shona Crombie-Hicks led the Harriers women home in third place in 39:13 as she finished just two seconds behind training partner Naomie Eaton as Gemma Hargraves (Almost Athletes) took the win. Paul Barnes (41:30) and Dave Hemmings (42:31) then crossed the line before Martin Ford (42:48) was the first V70 runner. Debbie Smith (44:51), Sue Townsend (48:03) and Adrian Higgs (48:28) followed whilst V75 runner Ken Buckle (54:53) completed the Harriers contingent. The weekend saw Shona Cromie-Hicks back in action at the Bognor Prom 10k where she finished as second lady and leading veteran in 39:34. James Bingham also enjoyed success with a victory in the Northleach multi-terrain 10k. Saturday morning parkruns saw wins for George Hawthorne (17:36) in Cheltenham, Toby Wort (17:23) at the Kingsway event in Gloucester and Liam Roarty (16:59) at the River Valley parkrun in Dublin. James Wilkinson (19:22) placed second in Tewkesbury parkrun.