Distance Running News, 3-7 June

There were wins for Julia Cooke, Hugo Coutinho and Graham Rush as the middle distance squad made a notable contribution to the Harriers success at the Midland League fixture in Yate. In the women’s 800m Cooke kicked clear of the field in the final 200m, after what by her standards was a rather pedestrian opening 600m, to take the win in 2:21.5. Coutinho then followed this up with a fine display of tactical running in the men’s 800m as he controlled proceedings from the front for the whole race. When Gloucester’s Richard de Camps moved level with Coutinho with 100m to go the Portugese athlete unleashed an extra gear for a 2.3 second victory in 1:55.2. The men’s 1500m started with a 70 second lap, with the pace gradually winding up as the race progressed. Despite a 59 second last lap Graham Rush was unable to overtake Coventry’s Jeremy Barnes and finished as runner up 0.8 seconds behind the race winner. Rhys Park was the second B runner home in 4:08.3 to add to his earlier second place in the 800m B race.

Thirty minutes later Rush returned to the track for the 3000m where he tracked the leaders throughout. Hitting the front with 200m to go Rush sprinted six seconds clear of Coventry’s Harvey Speed for a 8:55.6 victory. In the same race Marc Fallows ensured maximum points for the Harriers as he was the first B runner home in 9:18.4. Running as a non-scoring guest runner Will New ran his fastest 3000m for four years as he clocked 9:18.1 to edge past Fallows in the final metres of the race. There were also good points in the women’s races where Jo Wilkie took second in the 1500m A race in 5:16.9 after earlier placing third in the 3000m with 11:21.0. Rachel See earned second in the 3000m B string with a time of 11:57.2. Competing in the British League match in Birmingham Dan Owen recorded a 9:15.4 in the 3000m steeplechase and James Miller ran 4:06.11 over 1500m. Dmitry Nazarenko lowered his 3000m pb to 9:16.8 to secure the Gloucestershire Schools title whilst Andy Gore placed sixth in the Midlands Masters 5000m championship in 17:16.8.

Dave Roper made a winning return to action after a four month injury lay off as the Harriers hosted the Cleeve Cloud Cuckoo 5.5 mile multi-terrain race. In atrocious conditions, that made the tough event even more challenging, Roper pulled clear of CLC’s Will Ferguson to win the race that he also won in 2010. With defending champion Miguel Mundinano finishing as first veteran in third place and James Wilkinson running well for fifth place the Harriers also secured the team win. Gareth Edwards secured tenth position before Dave Hemmings came home seventeenth to finish one place ahead of Anthony Rossi. In 34th place Paul Barnes one spot ahead of V70 runner Martin Ford who was the first over 60 athlete home. Chris Lythgoe (73rd), Jess Collins (94th) and Ruth Bird (97th) completed the Cheltenham contingent.