Distance Running News, 31 January - 4 February

There were impressive personal bests for Cheltenham Harriers Oli Mott and Phil Beastall as they finished first and second at the Aztec West 5k road race in Bristol. The duo quickly established themselves at the head of the field as Mott led Beastall and Bristol’s Ben Robinson through the opening mile in 4:42. Beastall then took up the lead and the trio remained together on the second lap as they passed the two mile mark in 9:30 before Robinson dropped off the pace. Mott stuck closely to his teammate on the final lap before sprinting for home with 200m to go to take the win by a single second. Whilst Mott’s time was a four second PB, Beastall’s 14:48 was a huge breakthrough as he lowered his previous best by twenty seconds to finish eleven seconds clear of third placed Robinson.

Ben Price was the next Cheltenham runner home as he recorded 15:34 for fifth place before Alex Lee took eighth in 15:53. Marc Fallows was the first veteran home in 16:15 as he finished five seconds clear of teammate Liam Roarty who in turn was five seconds ahead of Jon Barnes. The white vests continued to come in thick and fast as Darren Jordan finished as third veteran in 16:34. Just two seconds later the fast finishing Mateusz Podsiadly smashed his PB as he made a significant jump up in class to cross the line in the same time as Jeremy Bradley who made a welcome return to the road racing scene. One place later Dave Aubrey made it 11 Cheltenham runners in the top 26 as he recorded 16:44. Mark James and Steve Hall then posted times of 16:59 and 17:11 respectively before Simon Critchley completed the Harriers squad with a PB of 18:36.

Four Harriers were in action at the British Universities Cross Country Championships in Sheffield. In the men’s A race Alex Bampton (Birmingham) finished 94th, Liam Roarty (Gloucestershire) placed 114th and Matt Crew (Falmouth) came home in 190th place. Jacob Pickering (Birmingham) placed 124th in the men’s B race. In the senior boys race at the South West Schools Cross Country Championship in Truro Ben Williams finished 27th and Jack Mundinano took 41st whilst Ellie Hathaway and Izzie Ovens came home 28th and 43rd in the senior girls race. Meanwhile in Sweden James Brewer made a return to the track at the Raka Sparet indoor meeting in Stockholm where he finished sixth in the 1500m in 3:51.08. Weekend parkrun results saw Matt Evans (19:04) finish fourth in the Cheltenham event where Dave Hemmings (20:34) enjoyed a run out before Katerina Horrocks (21:38) and Ella Burfitt (23:08) were the second and fifth ladies home. Alex Clements (18:21) took fifth place at the Great Lines parkrun in Medway and James Wilkinson (19:46) was finished fourth at the Tewkesbury event.