Oli Mott produced another impressive performance to win the Aztec West 5k Road Race Series with a fine second place in the final race of the season in Bristol. The Gloucestershire 5000m champion led a lead pack of four runners through the opening kilometre in 2:56, with teammate Phil Wylie for company alongside Bristol’s David Bishop and Cardiff’s Carwyn Jones. The quartet remained together through 2km in 2:55 and 3km in 8:53 before Wylie dropped off the group despite the pace slowing slightly in the fourth kilometre which was reached in 11:59. Bishop and Jones, who had both spent less time on the front than Mott, started to wind the pace up in the final kilometre with the Cheltenham athlete matching their pace. The decisive move, however, came with 500m to go as Scottish 1500m Commonwealth Games representative Bishop kicked for home to open up a race winning gap. Mott stayed behind Jones until around 300m to go, before kicking past the Welshman to cross the line in 14:53, eight seconds behind Bishop but five seconds clear of the Cardiff runner. Wylie was just a further five seconds adrift as he took fourth in 15:03. Dave Roper was hoping to improve on his recent 15:08 track time, but after passing 3km in 9:03 he slowed on the final lap to finish sixth in 15:26. Making his first race appearance after a seventeen month injury lay-off, Tom Lowe made a welcome return to action with a pleasing 15:52 for tenth place.
Marc Fallows produced another consistent result to finish as first veteran in 16:10. This confirmed Fallows as the veteran series winner, with fellow Harrier Andy Prophett placing second in the overall veteran standings based on athletes fastest three times over the four race series. The battle to be the sixth Harrier home was always going to be a fascinating battle, with the next six Harriers separated by just 24 seconds. Mark James made his characteristic fast start with Mike Gray and Dave Tomlin in close attendance, whilst some distance behind Dave Aubrey had Gavin McCaugherty and Jack Mundinano on his shoulder for the first half of the race. Whilst James held on to record 16:41, Gray and Tomlin were being closed down by the next trio as McCaugherty took a turn on the front of their group. The final kilometre saw positions change as Mundinano kicked past McCaugherty in the final 500m to post an impressive PB of 16:48 as he finished one place behind James. One place and two seconds late McCaugherty crossed the line in twentieth position. There were season’s bests for both Tomlin (16:54) and Aubrey (16:56) as Tomlin finished as third veteran and Aubrey became the 31st Cheltenham Harrier to break the 17 minute barrier for 5km in 2016. Gray was unable to match his recent sub 17 track time as he crossed the line in 17:04. The Harriers also had two runners involved at the front end of the ladies race. Bristol’s Fiona Marks was out in front for the entire race and took the win in 18:09, the battle for second, third and fourth was a close affair. Hilary Mott had been in third for the opening two laps, but was quickly closing on Rebecca Awde (Bristol) on the final circuit whilst Megg Brinley in fourth was in turn reducing the gap to Mott. With half a kilometre to go Mott moved up into second and Brinley closed to within a few yards of Awde. However, in the final two hundred metres the Bristol athlete produced a strong finish to go back past Mott and take second place by a single second. Mott recorded 18:18 for third and Brinley followed just three seconds later to finish as leading under 17 lady in a personal best of 18:21. Jo Wilkie completed the Harriers contingent with a time of 20:41.
On the track Martin Ford took second place in the V70 age group at the British Masters 10,000m Championships in Birmingham where he recorded 41:59.01. Dan Owen took twelfth place in the 3000m B race at the Watford Open in 8:49.51 and Luke Kearns finished third over the same distance at the North Down Open in Northern Ireland in 9:20.45. Dave Rantell took a pleasing second place at the Blaisdon 10k road race in the Forest of Dean in a time of 37:37, some 54 seconds adrift of race winner Mike Smith (Bourton). Shona Crombie-Hicks won the ladies race in 38:54 for sixth overall before Richard Birch (39:25), James Wilkinson (40:41) and Debbie Smith (45:08) completed the undulating course. Jon Barnes meanwhile won the Wye Valley 10k in 35:00 and Dave Aubrey finished third in the Magor Marsh 10k in 35:52. At the Stourport 5k Samantha Anderson finished as second lady in 21:37 and Alister Brown finished seventh in 18:50. Weekend parkruns saw Marcus England set a new course record of 17:01 at the Gloucester North event and the Harriers filled the top three places at the Cheltenham event through Phil Beastall (16:41), Mark James (17:11) and Gavin McCaugherty (17:14). Pittville Park also saw Gareth Edwards record 19:10 and Mike Ede make his V60 debut with 20:33 before Katerina Horrocks (22:31) and Isabel Ovens (22:40) finished as third and fourth ladies home. Further afield Matthew Dwerryhouse recorded 18:44 for fifth at the Penhyrn event in North Wales and Luke Kearns finished eighth with 17:27 at the Belfast Victoria parkrun.