Distance Running News, 26-27 November

Cheltenham Harrier Graham Rush produced his most impressive cross country race to date as he finished in an excellent twelfth place in the British Trials for the European Cross Country Championship in Liverpool. With the country’s best distance runners assembled, it was arguably the strongest domestic field assembled for years as four members of this year’s British Olympic team filled the top four spots in a race won by Rio 5000m sixth placer Andrew Butchart. Rush ran most of the race just inside the top ten as a seven man pack looking to make the British six man team pulled clear. Despite slipping back by two places in the final run in, the Dave Newport coached athlete was delighted to finish in an excellent twelfth place having finished in thirtieth position twelve months ago. The only other Cheltenham athlete in action was Alex Bampton who showed improved form to finish in a pleasing 125th place less than three minutes behind Rush.

Shona Crombie-Hicks lowered the Cheltenham Harriers ladies marathon club record to 2:56:49 as she finishes as eleventh lady in the La Rochelle Marathon in south west France. The 45 year old former Commonwealth Games runner took exactly half a minute off the previous record set by Joyce Barrus in 1991. Simon Critchley meanwhile recorded a time of 3:13:27 at the Florence Marathon. Also competing out of the country was Liam Roarty, who competed in the Irish National Cross Country Championships in Dublin where he finished 71st overall and as twelfth under 23 athlete across the line. Closer to home, the Eynsham 10k saw Sue Townsend finish as first LV55 runner home in 47:33 whilst Jo Wilkie recorded a time of 42:26. Harriers runners filled the first three places at the Cheltenham parkrun where Ben Price was the first across the line in 16:11 as Dave Tomlin (17:20) and James Bingham (18:26) followed him home. James Wilkinson (18:48), Darren Jones (19:10), Dave Hemmings (20:34) and Michael Horrocks (21:04) also enjoyed a run out as the Pittville Park event reverted to its four lap winter course. Further afield Phil Wylie won the Exeter Riverside parkrun in 15:18 whilst Andy Gardiner finished fourth at the Pontypridd parkrun in 17:32.