Distance Running News, 27-28 January

Shona Crombie-Hicks enjoyed a fine win as she finished as the first lady home at the Staverton 10 mile road race. After the opening mile the former Scottish international was in second place, as Oxford University’s Katie Truslove opened up a significant lead at the front of the field. Crombie-Hicks herself was being closely tracked by Almost Athlete Hattie Jenkins, as the two athletes again went head to head just a week after they were separated by three seconds at the Linda Franks 5. The pair caught and passed Truslove at around 2.5 miles, before Crombie-Hicks opened a small gap over her rival in the fifth mile of the race. Jenkins remained with 50m of the Cheltenham runner for the rest of the race, but Crombie-Hicks finished strongly to claim the win by 16 seconds in a time of 63:54. Fellow Harrier Fee Maycock had moved up into fourth place by halfway, with Cornwall’s Ruby Orchard in her sights. The LV50 athlete passed the Cornish woman in the eighth mile before going on to take third by nine seconds in 65:05. The Cheltenham ladies continued to pack well with Jo Fletcher posting a pleasing 67:34 for sixth on her debut for the club and Jo Wilkie recording 69:15 for eighth. Debbie Smith crossed the line in 80:27 and Leah Hopton continued her marathon build up with 85:16.

Meanwhile up ahead three Cheltenham runners battled it out to be the first home as a four man lead pack quickly established itself at the front of the race. Veteran John Parker set the pace, with his teammates Alex Lee and Marcus England joined by CLC’s Will Ferguson. The quartet were locked together until just before half way when Parker lost ground. Lee and Ferguson took turns on the front whilst England was happy to stay tucked in just behind them on a windy morning. Lee tried to make his move for victory at around eight miles, but could not shake off his rivals. Ferguson then made a decisive race winning break with a mile to go as England in turn pulled ahead of Lee. However, the latter closed down and passed his teamate in the final straight for a time of 53:50 that saw him finish one second ahead of England and eleven seconds adrift of the Ferguson. Parker ran an isolated second half of the race to finish fourth and as leading veteran in 54:43. Fellow veteran Mark James had spent most of the race in sixth place but managed to finish a second ahead of Stroud’s Nick Coyle to claim fifth in the closing stages. Further Harriers success then came in seventh place as Andy Gardiner set a PB of 58:34 before Alex Lindfield just missed out on breaking the hour with 60:07 and Dave Tomlin was the third V45 runner home in 60:29. Dave Rantell (62:16), James Wilkinson (63:35), Ian Giles (63:56) and Steve Bradley (66:24) continued the strong club presence in the race and Paul Barnes (69:21) took third place in the V55 category.

Further afield Gareth Edwards finished 19th at the Romsey 5 mile road race in Hampshire in a time of 29:23. Weekend parkruns saw Beth Hawling (18:52) finish as the first lady and fifth overall at the Cheltenham event where Gwenael Blanck (18:32) took third place and Rachel See (21:57) was the fourth lady home. Phil Beastall (15:59) claimed a win at the Worcester Pitchcroft parkrun where Alex Doherty (17:39) placed fourth whilst Dave Aubrey (17:31) took the win at the Hereford event. Andy Gardiner (18:01) and Dave Tomlin (18:20) finished first and second at the Kingway event in Gloucester whilst George Hawthorne (19:53) enjoyed a win at the Gloucester North parkrun.