Distance Running News, 19-21 November

Cheltenham Harrier Rhys Park finished his cross country season with an excellent 120th place in the NCAA Cross Country Championship in Kentucky. Sub 14:30 5000m runner Park, who is in his second year of a sports scholarship at Boise State University in Idaho, completed the 10km course in a time of 31:08 to claim an impressive finishing position. The NCAA event between the top American universities is a higher standard than the senior men’s English National Cross Country Championship and is more akin to an international standard race at the front of the race. Park’s performance helped his Boise Broncos team to sixteenth place in the national event that they had not qualified for since 1996.

Back in the UK several Harriers prepared for their upcoming cross country and road races by contesting parkruns on a rare quiet weekend on the club fixture list. James Wilkinson claimed his first parkrun win with a 19:21 clocking over the testing four laps on the grass at Tewkesbury whilst Paul Horsfall was first at the Gloucester North event with a time of 18:56 for his third win around the fields of Plock Court. Quicker times were posted at the Cheltenham event around the lake in Pittville Park where Graham Rush and Alex Lee were the first two runners home in 16:07 and 16:19 respectively, with Lee’s time his fastest ever parkrun. Steve Hall (19:20) and Gareth Edwards (19:40) were the ninth and eleventh placed finishers whilst Isabel Ovens was the third lady home in 23:18. At the more challenging Newent event Ellie Hathaway was the first lady in 23:57 and Rachel See was the fifth lady at the Swindon parkrun in 22:10. Russell Forsbrook finished as third veteran in the Weston Prom 5 mile road race in a time of 29:01 which saw him claim eighth place.