Distance Running News, 28 April - 4 May

Mia O’Connell and Graham Rush put in impressive performances at the British Universities Championships in Bedford. Representing Birmingham University in the 1500m O’Connell finished third in her heat on Saturday before making it through to the final after finishing sixth in Sunday’s semi-final in a time of 4:38.47. The Matt Richards coached athlete then excelled in Monday’s final where she knocked over two seconds from her personal best for a very pleasing seventh place in 4:30.71. In the men’s 5000m, Gloucestershire University student Rush won his heat on Saturday in 14:51.62 to comfortably qualify for Monday’s final. After a very pedestrian opening two kilometres the final eventually came to life in the third kilometre with Rush finishing sixth in 15:25.38.

John Parker finished as first veteran runner at the Aztec West 5k in Bristol with a 15:42 clocking for eighth place overall. Also making a return to form was Richard Dare who finished eleventh in 15:58 whilst Alex Chantler ran well to finish as second under 20 runner in 16:13. Roger Mullins took seventeenth in 16:37 before Steve Hall broke the 17 minute barrier for the first time to finish as second veteran home in a PB of 16:58. Hall had passed Matt Evans in the closing stages, but Evans was rewarded with a PB in 17:03 as he finished seven seconds clear of Gavin McCaugherty who in turn was seven seconds ahead of Jay Dowding. Youngster James Chantler impressed with a 17:23 PB before Mike Gray followed in 17:45. Miguel Mundinano managed to see off the challenge of his son Jack with a time of 17:56 that saw him finish as first V45 runner, with Jack smashing his PB with an excellent 18:01. There was also a significant PB for Lee Groenewegen who lowered his best time for the distance to 18:53.

At the Cheltenham parkrun Harriers filled the top three places with Dmitry Nazarenko lowering his best time on the course to 16:31 as he claimed his twenty-first win at the event. James Bingham held off the challenge of Jeremy Bradley as the pair took second and third in 16:52 and 16:55 respectively, with Steve Hall finished fifth in 17:55. Alex Bampton was first home at the Cannon Hill parkrun in Birmingham in a course PB of 16:07 whilst Jon Barnes took second place in the Trail Running Association Championship in Wales. On the track Mark James and Steve Maguire made the trip to the Oxford Open where they finished fourth and fifth in the 3000m in times of 9:50.94 and 10:00.2 respectively. James was also in action at the Brewer Games in Cheltenham where he finished second in the 800m in 2:06.58 ahead of teammate Jacob Pickering (2:06.73) before also placing second in the 1500m in 4:26.73 ahead of Iain Devlin (4:27.98) and Mike Gray (4:33.46). Over the same distance Rachel Longstaff was the first lady home in a PB of 5:02.95 and Rachel See recorded 5:35.18.