Phil Beastall defied a winter hail storm to claim an emphatic and impressive victory at the Aztec West 5k road race in Bristol. Beastall had finished second behind teammate Oli Mott in the March race of the series and the pair lined up with the intention of attacking their personal bests of 14:47 and 14:48 respectively. Beastall led from the gun and completed the opening mile lap in 4:37 with Mott and North Somerset’s James Rodgers sitting on his shoulder. Continuing to push the pace the Gloucestershire Cross Country Champion pulled clear in the early stages of the second lap whilst a tired looking Mott dropped back to third. Any hopes of a personal best time went out of the window as the race reached the halfway point though as the sky darkened and the athletes were left running into an unpleasant hail storm. Beastall’s lead had grown by the two mile point and the race was all but over, with the only question being whether Mott could close down Rodgers for second place. Whilst Beastall went on to cross the line victorious in 14:54 Mott used his canny racing skills to finish two seconds clear of Rodgers in 15:30 to complete a Harriers one-two. One of the most impressive Cheltenham performance of the night came from 17 year old James Chantler-Mayne who defied his lack of road racing experience to run a mature race and set a PB of 15:40 for seventh place as he comfortably finished as the leading junior athlete. Will New followed just eight seconds later and a just a second outside his PB in twelfth place before Dave Aubrey posted his fastest time for a couple of years with a pleasing 16:22 and Ben Williams clocked 17:03. Gareth Edwards, Steve Maguire and Hilary Mott ran much of the race together before Mott produced an excellent final lap for arguably the Harriers performance of the evening. Breaking the 18 minute barrier for just the second time Mott crossed the line in a new personal best of 17:50 to finish as the third lady home behind Ruth Barnes (Avon Valley) and Georgian Schwiening (Cambridge). Edwards finished just one second and one place later before Maguire showed he is regaining fitness with a time of 18:05 and Martin Soakell enjoyed his Harriers debut with 19:07. Midweek action also saw Mark James break Steve Brown’s veteran club record for the rarely run distance of 2000m at the Worcester Open where he finished second in 6:02.5 in a race that also saw fellow veteran Roger Mullins record 6:21.7.
There were team wins for both the Harriers ladies and men’s teams at the Angels Running Club 10k in Ashleworth. Shona Crombie-Hicks (40:03) and Fee Maycock (41:09) finished first and second ladies before Debbie Smith (48:12) completed the victorious team as 14th lady home. The men’s team were led home by winning veteran Mark James (36:04) in third place with Dave Tomlin (36:43) taking fourth spot. Gareth Edwards (37:49) finished sixth before James Wilkinson (39:12) completed the four man team in tenth position. Paul Barnes (43:35) and Charlotte Deacon (53:39) also contested the event. The weekend also saw Alex Bampton and Dan Owen finish fifteenth and sixteenth in the Great Birmingham 10k, Whilst Bampton crossed the line before his teammate after a close battle, Owen’s chip time of 32:20 was six seconds faster than his teammate. Dave Aubrey trimmed his best 5k of the year again with 16:20 at the Cardiff 5k for 25th place in a race that included the Welsh Championships. Meanwhile in Spain Phil Wylie finished sixth whilst representing GB in the European Duathlon Championship elite race.
Phil Beastall took his second win of the week as the Harriers hosted the Brewer Games on Bank Holiday Monday. Beastall dominated the 3000m from the start for a convincing win in a new pb of 8:43.6 as Liam Roarty (9:22.0) and Mark James (9:25.0) also claimed lifetime bests in third and fourth place. George Watson (9:46.3), Steve Maguire (10:15.0) and Matt Evans (10:26.4) also opened their track seasons at the Prince of Wales Stadium. Earlier in the weekend Roarty had recorded a time of 4:22.97 at the British Universities Championship in Bedford and Jacob Pickering enjoyed a win in a new personal best time of 4:17.50 at the Youth Development League fixture in Yate. There were parkrun wins for Andy Gardiner (17:02) at the Kingsway event in Gloucester and Dave Tomlin (17:22) at Evesham whilst Ian Giles (19:20) finished second at the Gloucester North event, a position matched by George Watson (17:47) in Cheltenham where Matt Evans (18:34) placed sixth.