There was success for Cheltenham Harriers as Graham Rush and Oli Mott claimed the gold and silver medals and Jon Barnes smashed his personal best at the Midland 10,000m Championship in Tipton. Right from the start Rush and Mott were straight to the front of the race and shared the work as they went through the opening kilometre in 3:09 with just Matt Williams of Notts for company. The trio has already opened a small lead over the second pack and with 3:05 and 3:07 splits for the next two kilometres they slightly extended this lead, passing the 3000m mark in 9:21. Whist the two Cheltenham runners took turns on the front as planned, Williams, who like Mott had a recent 5000m PB of 14:51 to his name, was content to sit in third place. The halfway point was reached in 15:38 and another 3:07 km followed before Rush put in an extra injection of pace with ten laps remaining. At that point Williams overtook Mott to try and chase down the pre-race favourite, but Mott was able to match the Notts athlete as Rush opened up a decisive lead. Whilst the Dave Newport coached athlete went on to take the win unchallenged in 31:01.7, the battle for the silver and bronze medals was much more interesting. It was Mott who was now content to sit on Williams, as the pair both slowed and were caught by Rob Keal (Notts) at just after the 7km mark. The three athletes were only together a short while before Keal moved into second, with the slight increase in pace enough to drop Williams. Mott then sat on Keal’s shoulder until they reached the bell, where the Cheltenham runner kicked strongly to instantly move clear. Mott’s sixty second last lap earned him a track PB of 31:16.9, with Keal taking bronze nine seconds later.
Whilst Rush and Mott went home with medals, arguably the most impressive performance by a Cheltenham athlete came from Jon Barnes. After going through 3km in 9:47 and 5k in 16:22, Barnes was able to pick off a few runners in the second half of the race as he recorded 32:36.0 for eleventh place, a 52 second improvement on his previous personal best set on the road in 2011. At the same venue James and Alex Chantler-Mayne contested the regional BMC 1500m B race, with James overtaking Alex in the final straight as they recorded 4:21.7 and 4:23.7 respectively. In the 800m races Richard de-Camps finished third in the A race in 1:56.4 and Bethan Samuel ran a season’s best of 2:30.7 in the F race.
Earlier in the week at the Herefordshire 5000m Championship guest competitor Alex Lee paced his Harriers teammate Jon Barnes to the county title. Lee pushed on in the final lap for a 15:45 race win, as Barnes took second with a track PB of 15:54 and Gavin McCaugherty recorded 16:56. Running as a guest In the Cornwall 10,000m Championship Ben Price took third place in 33:10. Alex Bampton continued his return to fitness with a 16:47 win at the Swindon parkrun whilst Tommaso Migliuolo finished second in the Winchcombe 10k hill climb. At the Cheltenham parkrun Matthew Dwerryhouse (18:28) and Henry James (19:11) ran well before Hermione Brewster (22:02) and Katerina Horrocks (22:06) finished as second and third ladies home.