Distance Running News, 19-25 May

Cheltenham Harriers men claimed five out of the six middle distance medals at the Gloucestershire Track and Field Championships at the Prince of Wales Stadium. The morning’s 800m saw an eagerly awaited clash between James Miller and Dan Owen, with the latter choosing to follow Miller’s lead as they reached the halfway point in just over a minute. The 800m specialist continued to control the race for the second lap before Owen attempted to overtake in the final straight in a closely fought battle that saw Miller claim the gold in 1:59.7 for a 0.2 second victory over his teammate. John Merrett made it a Harriers clean sweep of the medals as he set a new club over 40 record of 2:01.4 in his first 800m since 2007. Jacob Pickering was just half a second outside his PB with a 2:05.6 clocking for fifth place which earned him the under 20 silver medal. In the afternoon’s 1500m Graham Rush led the race from start to finish as he passed the 800m mark in 2:10 and reached the bell in 2:57. An impressive 60 second last lap saw Rush take the win in a PB of 3:57.8 with Dan Owen taking second in 4:01.6, an improvement on the 4:01.98 he had clocked earlier in the week in a BMC gold standard race in Watford. Mike Gray with 4:25.7, Steve Maguire with a 4:28.7 PB and Matt Evans with 4:43.5 also contested the race whilst Rachel Longstaff finished second in the women’s 1500m in 4:53.3. Meanwhile at the Wiltshire Championship Alex Bampton won the men’s 5000m in a time of 16:11.38.

Cheltenham Harriers won a tenth consecutive White Horse 5k road race team event as they packed three runners into the first four on a wet and windy Tuesday evening in Gloucester. A lead pack of four soon established themselves at at the front of the field with Harriers Phil Beastall, Ben Price and Anthony Bailey running with Severn’s Harry Bishop. With around half a mile to go Bailey fell off the pace, with Price following suit with around 400m to go. As Beastall pushed on for victory Bishop hit the front to open up a decisive gap with 200m remaining, taking the win in 15:37 with Beastall just one second adrift. Price claimed third in 15:43 and Bailey’s fourth spot in 15:48 also saw him finish as first veteran. In sixth Jeremy Bradley ran a pleasing 16:15, James Bingham claimed tenth in 16:32 and Mark James completed the victorious six man team in 16:53 for twelfth place. Andy Prophett and Gareth Edwards matched each other stride for stride for the whole race before Prophett edged ahead in the final few yards as both runners recorded 17:52. In a high class field at the London 10000 which included the British 10k Championship Iain Devlin ran well for a PB of 35:40 for 224th place. At the Cheltenham parkrun John Parker lowered his parkrun PB and veteran course record to 16:13, Andy Prophett finished seventh in 18:32 and Dave Rantell finished ninth in 18:43 whilst Jane Thomas was the first lady home at the Swindon parkrun with a time of 20:37.