Anthony Bailey and Martin Ford put in excellent performances as Cheltenham Harriers athletes enjoyed success at the London Marathon. Bailey, contesting his first London with a previous PB of 2:45:36 set in Munich last year, went through the opening 10k in 36:46, a pace that he maintained to reach the halfway point in 77:36. At this point Bailey was unaware that he was 33 seconds behind world record holder Paula Radcliffe who was making her final marathon appearance. The 40 year old slowed slightly between 30 and 35km, but by this point he was just two seconds behind Radcliffe who he soon passed whilst enjoying some great TV exposure. A good final 7km saw Bailey cross the line as the first Gloucestershire runner home in an excellent 2:36:27 in 181st place before Radcliffe finished 28 seconds later. Meanwhile 71 year old Ford ran his fastest marathon since 2012 to finish as the first over 70 runner home in an amazing 3:13:58 after going through halfway in 1:32:52. Elliot Prince was targeting his PB of 2:43.00 and ran a 79:43 first half split before notably slowing between 35 and 40km to finish outside his target with a still very commendable time of 2:44:15. Reaching the halfway mark in 1:29:18, James Wilkinson held his race together in the later stages and was thrilled to smash his marathon PB to 3:02.24, a time which guarantees him entry into next year’s race. Becky Amor completed her third marathon in 15 days with 4:13:16 and Michael Imeson stopped the clock at 4:18:11. In the mini marathon 3 mile wheelchair race Gareth Picken finished sixth in a time of 14:11.
At the Midland League division one fixture in Rugby Mia O’Connell’s 4:37.4 victory in the women’s 1500m was the highlight in the distance events, with Dan Owen gained second place in the men’s race in a tactical race in 4:06.0. The 5000m saw Phil Beastall and Alex Bampton set track PBs of 15:38.8 and 15:55.9 respectively to finish third A and second B runner whilst Will New clocked 16:06. Jo Wilkie recorded 11:29.4 and Rachel See set a PB of 11:37.8 in the 3000m whilst Dmitry Nazarenko lowered his 800m PB to 2:02.6, Jacob Pickering clocked 2:08.4 and Isabel Ovens recorded 2:29.0 over the same distance. Guest runners Iain Devlin and Mike Gray set times of 4:27.1 and 4:35.2 respectively over 1500m.
Earlier in the week Graham Rush opened his track season at the Bristol Open meeting over 3000m. A strong last lap gave Rush a 1.73 second victory over Bristol University’s John Ashcroft and a new personal best time of 8:29.15. In the same race James Miller took third in 9:04.77, Will New recorded his fastest 3k time for almost five years with 9:07.27 for fourth place and Steve Maguire placed ninth in 10:01.45. In the 800 Mark James was in fine form to record a PB of 2:04.62 for sixth place. Miller was also in action in Sunday’s regional BMC race in Birmingham where he finished second in the 1500m B race in 4:09.4. In Spain Phil Wylie finished third in the European Duathlon Championships whilst at the Cheltenham parkrun John Parker and Matt Evans finished first and second with times of 16:36 and 17:49 respectively.