Distance Running News, 31 May - 5 June

There were race wins for Hilary Mott and Graham Rush, plus an impressive personal best from Oli Mott as Cheltenham Harriers dominated the Aztec West 5k road race in Bristol. On a windy night the Harriers trio of Rush, Oli Mott and Phil Wylie instantly opened a lead over the rest of the field. Wylie and Rush worked together and kept swapping the lead every minute or so in an effort to combat the conditions, whilst Mott took shelter behind his more highly ranked teammates. The trio passed the mile mark in 4:45 and remained locked together on the second lap as they reached two miles in 9:40. The start of the third and final lap saw Wylie drop off the pace before Rush pulled clear of Mott at around the 4km mark as he went on to claim the win in 14:48. Mott was rewarded with a new road PB of 14:51 in second as he equalled his fastest time over the distance on the track. In third place Wylie crossed the line with 15:11 to complete his preparations for the weekend’s World Duathlon Championships in Spain.

Alex Lee started quickly in the chasing pack, but despite fading in the second half of the race he still came home with a 15:47 PB in tenth place. Not far behind was an intriguing battle between four Harriers as Marc Fallows, Will New, Jon Barnes and Darren Jordan formed their own group which remained locked together throughout the first two laps. New eventually pulled clear of Fallows to cross the line eleventh in 16:14, with Fallows the first veteran home four seconds and one place later. Jordan then held off rival Barnes by a single second and position to cross the line in fourteenth and as second veteran in 16:27. Andy Prophett then ensured the Harriers filled the top three veteran spots with 16:40 for eighteenth position overall before Mark James (16:56) held off the challenge of Jacob Pickering (16:59). Gavin McCaugherty (17:06) and Dave Aubrey (17:07) ensured there were 13 Harriers in the top 25 before Mike Gray clocked 17:20 and Andy Gore was the third over 45 runner home in 17:31. Hilary Mott meanwhile started steadily and moved up from third lady on the opening lap to take the ladies win in 18:05, twelve seconds clear of Bristol’s Rebecca Awde.

There was team success for the Harriers as the club hosted the Cleeve Cloud Cuckoo 5 mile multi-terrain race over a challenging course on Cleeve Hill. Leading veterans Anthony Bailey and Marc Fallows finished third and fourth before Jack Mundinano was the first junior home to complete the victorious three man team in fifth place. Miguel Mundinano was third veteran home in sixth place, Alex Clements claimed seventh spot and James Wilkinson finished ninth before Dave Hemmings (25th) and Simon Critchley (38th) completed the Harriers squad. Midweek action on the track saw impressive 3000m personal bests from Luke Kearns and Ben Williams where they recorded times of 9:12.81 and 9:38.48 respectively at the Watford Open. In the club’s Midland League fixture in Nottingham Andy Prophett (9:34.9), Jacob Pickering (9:47.1) and Rachel See (11:47.0) contested the 3000m, Mike Gray ran a season’s best of 4:24.2 for the 1500m, Ian Devlin posted a 2:10.4 in the 800m and Matt Evans recorded a 3000m steeplechase PB of 12:02.9.

There were race victories for Dave Roper and Shona-Crombie Hicks as Cheltenham Harriers won both the men’s and women’s team events at the Fairford 10k. Roper was made to work all the way on the testing course by Honiton’s James Denne who was still trailed the Cheltenham athlete by just 25m with a kilometre remaining. Whilst Roper extended his winning margin to twelve seconds by the finish to cross the line in 32:17, the battle with Cirencester for the team win was to go to the wire. Cirencester had Dave Bell in third before Anthony Bailey (34:57) placed fourth for the Harriers to claim the veteran win ahead of fifth placed Adrian Williams of Cirencester. This gave the Cheltenham team a three point lead with one scorer remaining, but Cirencester runners Bill Leggate and Simon Campbell then came home seventh and eighth. However, Mark James’ ninth place in 35:56 gave the Harriers the team win by a single point. Crombie-Hicks meanwhile was the first lady home by over two minutes as she stopped the clock at 38:25. Jo Wilkie (43:47) and Debbie Smith (45:49) completed the winning ladies team as they finished as eleventh and fourteenth ladies home. Dave Rantell (38:30) and Richard Birch (39:44) scored valuable county race series points, as did Paul Barnes who was the third V55 runner home in 42:04. Sue Townsend was the third over 50 lady before Sam Pickering (49:40) and Ken Buckle (54:32) completed the Harriers contingent.

In the British League Graham Rush enjoyed a 14:35.74 5000m victory in London and Dan Owen ran 9:17.78 for third place in the 3000m steeplechase In Manchester. Marucs England meanwhile finished tenth in the Derby Half Marathon in 75:33. There were parkrun wins for Gavin McCaugherty with 17:19 at the Kingsway event in Gloucester and for Megan Brinley with 19:29 in Cheltenham where James Wilkinson and Matthew Dwerryhouse recorded 18:31 and 19:25 respectively.