Distance Running News, 24-25 January

Ben Price won the Linda Franks 5 mile road race as Cheltenham Harriers athletes filled the top three places to secure a team victory. As the field set off an the roads of The Reddings it was evident that the three Harriers were a class above the rest of the field as Price, last year’s race winner Anthony Bailey and Gloucestershire cross country bronze medallist Phil Beastall soon established a lead in the opening quarter of a mile. The trio ran together for the first mile in a relatively pedestrian 5:30 before Price decided that the pace needed picking up and made his first move with a 5:08 second mile. Whilst Bailey went with the Price, Beastall decided that the injection of pace was too much and dropped behind the leading pair. Price continued to apply the pressure at the front and eventually pulled clear of Bailey at around three miles with a 15:50 split, with Beastall approximately 50 metres adrift at this point. Whilst Price opened up a decisive race winning lead Beastall clawed back the gap to Bailey and passed the veteran with about three quarters of a mile remaining. By the finish the three Harriers were well spaced out with Price claiming the win in 26:23, Beastall taking second in 26:39 and Bailey following ten seconds later with an 88 second gap over fourth place. The athletes placed between seventh and tenth had a close battle on the second lap with Steve Hall coming out on top as he finished as third veteran home in 28:59 ahead of Dave Rantell who finished as second V45 runner home in ninth with 29:12. Andy Prophett ran a very isolated second half of the race to take eleventh in 30:00 before Ian Giles took fifteenth in 30:54 and Richard Birch completed the top twenty in 31:18. Dave Hemmings (33:23), Jessica White (35:56) and Samantha Pickering (39:00) completed the Harriers contingent.

James Miller finished fourth in the 1500m at the Welsh Indoor Championships in Cardiff in a slow tactical race. Sitting in the pack, Miller went through 400m in 68 seconds and 700m in 2:03 before the pace picked up. Having to pull up to avoid a fallen runner with 150m to go meant Miller lost momentum and any hope of getting in the medals, despite closing the gap slightly on the runners ahead the 29 year old had to settle for fourth place in a time of 4:08.96

At the Midlands Cross Country Championships in Nottingham Alex Bampton showed great form to finish in an impressive eighth place in the under 20s race which also saw Dmitry Nazarenko finish in thirteenth. Jon Barnes and Elliot Prince contested the 12km men’s race in which they finished 87th and 118th respectively, whilst earlier in the day Fraser Willmore claimed an excellent bronze medal in the under 13 boys race.

Cheltenham Harriers filled the first three positions at the Cheltenham parkrun where Richard Dare took the win in 17:29 with a six second gap over James Bingham. Jeremy Bradley made a welcome return to action in third in 18:03 before Ben Williams finished fifth in 18:16 and Matt Evans placed seventh in 18:56. Isabel Ovens was the third lady home in 22:01 whilst Dave Aubrey came home first at the Hereford parkrun in 16:53. Further afield Gareth Edwards was just outside his personal best with a pleasing 1:25:54 at the Marrakech Half Marathon in Morocco.