There were impressive personal best performances from Cheltenham Harriers Marcus England and Steve Hall as they joined many of the world’s finest runners at the London Marathon. England had a troubled build up to the race with injury curtailing both his training and racing plans, but he made it to the start line in hope rather than in expectation as he tackled the famous 26.2 mile route. After completing the fast opening 10km in 36:25 England passed the hallway mark in 77:26 knowing that he could better his previous best time of 2:41:11 if his body held together. Despite slowing in the final 7km the Cheltenham athlete managed to knock over three minutes from this time as he crossed the finish line in a very pleasing 2:37:47 for 224th place. Like England, Andrew van Kints hadn’t had the best build up to the race and until last month he hadn’t raced since last May. However, the RAF man still decided to attack the event and his 2:35 personal best time as he went through 5k in 16:53 and 10k in 34:10. Unsurprisingly van Kints slowed from this pace and after passing the halfway mark in 73:47 he struggled in the final 10km to come home in 2:40:33. Elliot Prince was also four minutes outside his PB, fading to 2:47:51 after a 1:20:04 half way split. Closing in on Prince in the final stages was Steve Hall who started the race with a PB of 2:57:35 from New York in 2014. Knowing he was in the best shape of his life the veteran paced his race exceptionally well with just 12 seconds separating his six 5km splits up until the 30km mark. Despite slowing fractionally Hall converted his 1:23:24 half marathon time to a huge new PB of 2:48:23, whilst also pipping his training partner and World Ironman Record Holder Chrissie Wellington by 38 seconds. After clocking 2:53:31 in Paris just two weeks ago Andy Gardiner found the going tough as he ran 3:06:25. Hannah D’Ambrosio was the sole Cheltenham lady competing and recorded a time of 3:22:27 with Simon Critchley following her home in 3:23:47. The final Harrier was 72 year old Martin Ford who finished as the third over 70 athlete in the race in 3:27:26.
Also contesting the marathon distance was Mateusz Podsiadly who ran a remarkably paced race at the Warsaw Marathon in Poland. 5km splits of 20:22, 20:16, 20:08 and 20:17 contributed towards a halfway time of 1:25:28 before the next four splits of 20:12, 20:59, 20:20 and 19:41 saw him go onto finish the 42km in a very pleasing time of 2:50:13. Meanwhile over much shorter distances on the track Alex Bampton set a 3000m personal best of 8:53.17 at the Loughborough Open and Mia O’Connell recorded a 1500m time of 4:36.99 at the BMC regional meeting in Birmingham. The weekend’s Cheltenham parkrun saw George Watson (18:07) enjoy a win with teammates James Wilkinson (18:27) and Matt Evans (18:34) crossing the line in third and fourth respectively. Henry James (20:32), Mike Ede (20:34)and Dave Hemmings (20:42) followed before Milly Foster (23:13) and Katerina Horrocks (23:15) were the ninth and tenth ladies home. Elsewhere Phil Wylie (15:13) won the Exeter Riverside parkun, Fee Maycock (19:56) was the first lady at the Gloucester North event, Mark James (16:54) finished sixth in Poole and Liam Roarty (18:59) finished second at the River Valley parkrun in Dublin.
At the Lower Age Group Youth Development Event in Yate the U15G Team performed well. Bathsheba Kayley and Issy Kiey-Thomas dominated the 300m race with Bathsheba winning the A string in 44.86 and Issy Kiey-Thomas winning the B string in 46.67. This duo also performed very strongly in 800m with Bathsheba wining the A string in 2.29.55 and Issy coming in second in the B string in 2.35.02. In the 75mH B string race Helena Shannon came in second in 12.60 and Grace Pitman 4th in the A string with a time of 12.81. Also in this group, Lily Crawley won the High Jump with 1.51m. George Palmer performed well for the U15B team in the A string Javelin with a throw of 36.20m coming in second. In the U13B group Conor Hilton came second in the Javelin A string with a throw of 19.10m and Archie Cross was second in the B string with a throw of 18.12m. For the U13G team Jessica Duncton came second in the 800m A string race in 2.41.2 and Lorna Wilmott was second in the 70mH with a time of 13.29.