Cheltenham Harriers men’s distance running squad won three of the four races at their Midland League Division One fixture in Wolverhampton as Jacob Pickering, Dan Owen and Oli Mott claimed fine individual wins. Pickering employed bizarre tactics in the 800m A race as he went through the bell in 59 seconds in fourth place, some 3 seconds adrift of the leader. However, the Birmingham University student came to life on the back straight and gradually clawed back the deficit. Taking the lead with just 10 meters remaining Pickering crossed the line for maximum points in 1:57.6 for a 0.3 second victory over Birchfield’s Charlie Thurston. In the 3000m steeplechase Owen sat in the pack for the opening half of the race, before hitting the front after passing the 1500m mark in 5:08. Instantly moving clear of the field, the Midland Champion then ran huge negative splits to take a 19 second win in 9:39.9. Contesting the 3000m Mott sat in a seven man pack that went through the opening kilometre in around three minutes, before deciding to surge into the lead with 1700m remaining. The pack decided to let him go as he reached 2000m in 5:59 with a thirty metre lead over the group led by teammate Charlie Jones. A strong final thousand metres saw Mott maintain his advantage to take the win in 8:53.5 for a five second winning margin. Jones meanwhile lost out in the last lap sprint to finish fifth overall and as second B runner in a personal best of 9:02.1. Non-scorer Dave Aubrey also ran well to finish ninth with a new PB of 9:25.1. Bristol’s Ben Robinson denied the Harriers a clean sweep of the men’s distance events as he edged clear of Richard de-Camps in the final straight of the 1500m with the Cheltenham athlete clocking 4:00.2. Valuable B string race points were also gained through George Hawthorne (2:06.0) for third in the 800m, Pickering (4:13.2) for fourth in the 1500m and by Matt Evans (13:05.1) for third in the steeplechase.
In the ladies races Hilary Mott finishing third in the 3000m with 10:45.9 as Rachel See finished eighth and third B runner in 11:23.9. Both athletes then returned to the track in the 1500m where Mott (5:07.6) was sixth and third A runner and See (5:33.1) eleventh and fourth B runner. Ella Burfitt (2:39.7) finished sixth in the 800m A race shortly after her 400m hurdles race whilst Katerina Horrocks (2:33.8) placed fifth in the B race as the Harriers finished as sixth team on the day. Earlier in the week Alex Bampton was in fine form with a seven second personal best of 8:40.28 for thirteenth place in the 3000m A race at the Watford Open. Also impressing with an eight second PB was Rachel See who clocked 5:05.93 to win the 1500m L race.
At the Fairford 10k road race Alex Lee led the Harriers challenge and was content to sit off the typically fast early pace set by Cirencester’s Dave Bell. Catching his rival at around halfway, Lee moved clear in the second half of the undulating course to cross the line 18 seconds clear of second placed Bell. Mark James finished as third veteran in twelfth place overall with 36:40 whilst Alex Lindfield and Dave Rantell posted times of 37:01 and 39:25 respectively. Fee Maycock again won her LV50 age category as she finished fourth lady in 40:45 before Paul Barnes (43:46), Adrian Higgs (52:08) and V75 runner Ken Buckle (62:44) completed the Harriers contingent. Midweek action saw the Harriers host the Cleeve Cloud Cuckoo 5.5 mile multi-terrain race over a challenging course on Cleeve Hill. Doug Wight ensured a home win as he finished 1:42 clear of Evesham’s Marcus Mumford. With Andrew Kaighin and Gareth Edwards finishing sixth and seventh respectively the Harriers also took the team win whilst ninth placed Anthony Rossi finished as third veteran runner home. Further veteran success came At Severn AC’s Pilot Inn 5k road race in Gloucester where Mark James finished second overall and as the leading over 40 runner in a time of 16:50 that saw him finish 28 seconds adrift of Swindon’s Sergio Martinez-Goanzalez and 18 seconds clear of the host’s Chris Brown. Dave Tomlin meanwhile finished second in the Dartmoor Discovery 34 mile ultra-race where he averaged 7:21 per mile for a course that included 4000 feet of climbing as he recorded a time of 4:10:00. Weekend parkruns saw Dan King (17:18) cross the line first in Hereford, where Scott Jones (18:37) placed third and Alice Taylor (18:57) was the leading lady in fourth place overall. Gareth Edwards (19:33) also claimed a win at the Gloucester North event, whilst James Bingham (17:49) was the leading Harrier at the Cheltenham parkrun in fourth place.