Distance Running News, 26 April - 2 May

Graham Rush claimed an impressive 10,000m silver medal as he set a Cheltenham Harriers record at the British Universities Championship in Bedford. The Gloucestershire University student was happy to sit in third place in the early stages of the race as Josh Griffiths (Cardiff Met) took a five man lead pack through the opening two kilometres in 5:54. The pace then slowed slightly before Oxford’s Miles Unterreiner took the lead and led the field through 4km in 11:52 with Rush in second place. The American continued to lead to the halfway point in 14:54 with Rush in second and the four man pack including Alberto Sanchez (Imperial) and Alex Teuten (Southampton). The order remained unchanged for the next two kilometres with Rush and Sanchez both looking relaxed as the race passed 7km in 21:07. With just seven laps to go Rush made his move which soon saw Unterreiner instantly dropped as Sanchez and Teuton tracked the Dave Newport coached athlete through 8km in 24:08. Spanish international Sanchez looked particularly comfortable with Teuton struggling to hold stay in touch as Rush continued to lead through 9km in 27:08. With 450m remaining sub four minute miler Sanchez burst to the front and instantly opened a lead over Rush as he produced a 62 second last lap to stop the clock in 29:54.92. Rush took second in 30:02.45, which took two seconds off Mick Hewer’s 49 year old Cheltenham Harriers record, whilst Teuton claimed bronze in 30:06.44.

There was a win for Oli Mott in the 3000m as the Harriers hosted Bank Holiday Monday’s Brewer Games at the Prince of Wales Stadium. Pacemaker James Miller took the field through 1600m in 4:42 before the pace slowed as James Denne (Honiton) led the next kilometre, with the Cheltenham pair of Mott and Richard de-Camps sheltering from the strong back straight wind. As the bell sounded Mott hit the front with a turn of speed that opened up a small gap over de-Camps as the pair finishing first and second in 8:52.7 and 8:54.7 respectively. Corin Hughes made a welcome return to track racing with 9:31.8 and Matt Evans ran an isolated 10:06.7. There was also a Harriers win in the 1500m as James Chantler-Mayne hit the front with 600m to go for a 4:24.6 win after Mike Gray had led the field through the opening 900m. Gray had to be satisfied with third in 4:31.5 before Roger Mullins (4:33.6), Jack Mundinano (4:35.0) and Russell Forsbrook (4:38.8) crossed the line.

There was a race victory for Oli Mott at the Aztec West 5k in Bristol where there was a strong Cheltenham presence at the front of the field. On a breezy evening Mott led the field through the opening kilometre in 2:58 with a seven man group, that included Harriers Harry Bishop and Ben Price, still in contention at the end of the first of three laps. Bishop then led for most of the second circuit as the pack reduced to five athletes. With a lap remaining Price made his move and opened a few yards gap over Josh Dixon (Stroud) and Bishop, with Mott following close on their heels. Bishop’s challenge then fell away at 4km as Price held the lead with Mott and Dixon on his shoulder. With 300m to go Mott made a decisive move to pull clear and take the win in 15:19 before Dixon edged out Price who was rewarded with a new personal best as both athletes recorded 15:23. Bishop meanwhile came home sixth in 15:37. Richard Dare made the decision not to go with the lead pack and finished eighth in 15:43 with Richard de-Camps finishing three places later in 15:56. Alex Chantle-Mayne then lowered his personal best to 16:10 as he finished as the second under 20 runner home, a single second ahead of first veteran Marc Fallows. Will New was the next Harrier to cross the line in 16:32 before Andy Prophett finished as third veteran in 16:55 as he held off the challenge of 16 year old Jack Mundinano who impressed with a new PB of 17:00. Matt Evans ran well for 17:44 and Lee Groenewegen lowered his PB to 18:16. The final Harrier to cross the line was Darren Jordan as the race clock showed 18:43. However, despite being at the venue 45 minutes before the start Jordan had frustratingly managed to miss the start by over two minutes!

At the Milton Keynes Half Marathon Will New finished third in a time of 75:28 after a lonely race in testing conditions. Meanwhile in the Belfast Marathon Shona Crombie-Hicks finished as eighth lady in a time of 3:04:35 after going through the halfway point in 1:28.43. Weekend parkruns saw Megan Brinley finish as first lady home at the Cheltenham event in Pittville Park in a time of 19:29 where Dave Aubrey was third man home in 18:07. Elsewhere Jon Barnes won the Hereford event in 17:31 and Mark James was the first finisher at the Kingsway parkrun in Gloucester with a 17:53 clocking.