Distance Running News, 27 June - 2 July

Graham Rush produced an excellent performance to finish in an impressive seventh place in the 5000m at the British Championships in Birmingham. With places in this summer’s World Championships on offer, Rush lined up in a 24 strong field at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium intent on improving on the nineteenth and fifteenth places that he had achieved in the event over the last two years. A typical slow championship start to the race saw race favourite and Olympic seventh placer Andrew Butchard (Central) lead the field through the opening kilometre in a relatively pedestrian 2:58 with the whole field bunched together and Rush lying in seventh place. A slightly quicker next 1000m then followed as they passed 2000m in 5:51 with Rush’s position relatively unchanged as Andy Vernon (Aldershot) hit the front. Vernon’s injection of pace split the field into three distinct groups, with Rush just about getting onto the back of the second pack as a five man group broke clear at the front. After Vernon had gone through the 3km point in 8:30, Rush lay in eleventh place in 8:35. Whilst Butchard then broke clear of the lead group in the fourth kilometre, Rush continued to move through the field and was up to seventh as he went through 4km in 11.25. The Dave Newport coached athlete then put in another 2:50 kilometre to hold position over the final two and a half laps to cross the line in 14:15.96 as Butchard (13:50.56), Vernon (13:54.63) and Derby’s Ben Connor (13:56.71) took home the medals.

Earlier in the week Phil Beastall continued his fine recent form with a win at the Aztec West 5k road race in Bristol. Hitting the front from the start, only Phil Radford (Bristol) and unattached runner Andrew Chambers tried to keep pace as the Cheltenham athlete went through the opening mile in 4:50 with a three metre advantage. Maintaining an even pace Beastall went through the second mile lap in 4:51 as Chambers dropped back, but Radford remained just a few yards adrift. On the final circuit though Beastall pulled clear as he took the win in 14:56 for an eighteen second victory. The Harriers again had a significant presence in the race as Will New took fifth place with 15:59 before Mark James finished as second veteran with 16:33 for tenth as he finished one place and two seconds ahead of teammate Dave Aubrey. Andy Gardiner then set a personal best of 16:55 before Alex Lindfield recorded 17:15 and Steve Maguire posted 18:06. Naomi Eaton then finished as fourth lady in a time of 18:53 to complete the Harriers contingent. Phil Wylie meanwhile gained two midweek wins as he won the Milton Keynes in 31:57 before following this up with a 15:23 win at the Lakeside 5k in Portsmouth. On the track Luke Kearns impressed with a 3000m personal best of 8:58.64 for sixth place in the B race at the Watford Open meeting. At the same meeting Dan Owen and Alex Bampton recorded times of 4:02.04 and 4:09.79 in their respective 1500m A and D races. Weekend parkruns saw wins for Andy Gardiner (17:54) at the Barry Island event and for Liam Roarty (18:16) at the River Valley event in Dublin. Ben Price (16:15) took second place at the Cheltenham parkrun where James Wilkinson (18:41) placed fifth. Ian Giles (20:33) finished fourth at the Gloucester North event and Dave Hemmings (21:13) was fifth across the line at the Tewkesbury parkrun.