Distance Running News, 4-10 July

Cheltenham Harrier’s Dan Owen broke the fifteen minute barrier for the first time as set an impressive 5000m personal best as the British Milers Club Grand Prix in Solihull. Contesting the C race on a windy evening, Owen was placed ninth after the opening kilometre which he passed in 2:58 as part of a large leading group. The Midland bronze medallist then went through the 2k mark in 5:55 in tenth position as the pack gradually dwindled, before reaching 3000m in 8:58 at the back of thirteen man group. By 4km Owen was still at the back of the lead pack which was now down to just eight runners, but the pace had slowed with a 12:02 split meaning the race had fallen just outside the fifteen minute schedule. The front group remained tightly bunched over the next 600m as Owen took the bell in seventh place in 13:52 before a strong final lap brought him home fifth in 14:59.98 for a seven second PB as the race was won by Niall Sheehan (Newham & Essex)in 14:57.29. In the A race Graham Rush sensibly decided not to follow the pacemaker through the opening kilometre in 2:40 as Austrailian’s Patrick Tiernan and Collis Birmingham moved clear of the field along with Southend’s Adam Hickey. Rush instead stayed in the main pack and passed the kilometre mark in 2:50 before reaching the halfway mark in 7:13. As the pack dwindled Rush looked in control as he went through the 4km point in 11:30 and moved up into third place on the penultimate lap. However, the BUCS silver 10,000m silver medallist lost two places in the final 100m as he crossed the line in 14:17.25 for fifth place after Tiernan had claimed the win in 13:43.84. In the 1500m E race Richard de-Camps recorded a time of 4:05.61.

There were team wins for both the Cheltenham Harriers Ladies and Men’s teams as Alex Lee took the individual honours at the Frampton 10k road race. A three man group of Lee, his Harriers teammate Anthony Bailey and Stroud’s Alastair Cambell moved clear of the field in the opening mile before the Cheltenham duo pulled clear on the first downhill section in the third mile. After going through the halfway point in a relatively pedestrian 16:54, Lee and Bailey continued to run side by side as the pace gradually picked up in the second half. After crossing the canal bridge at around 9km Lee finally made his bid for glory, before kicking again with around 500m to go move clear of Bailey. Despite missing the final turn onto the village green and running the final section on the wrong side of the course tape, Lee hurdled the barrier in the final few yards to cross the line in 33:21 for a four second winning margin over veteran Bailey. A dominant Harriers team victory was then ensured when Marcus England (35:09) finished fourth behind Cambell to complete the 3 man winning team. Running well to finish just three seconds outside his personal best, Mark James placed sixth in 35:51 before Jacob Pickering finished tenth in 37:08 and Dave Rantell recorded 38:16.

The Harriers ladies were led home by Shona Crombie-Hicks who finished as second lady home in 38:40 exactly three minutes behind Shaftsbury Barnet’s GB international Rachel Felton. Finishing as third lady sixteen year old Megg Brinley ran an excellently paced race to move her way through the field and close the gap on Crombie-Hicks to just thirteen seconds as she set a new PB of 38:51. Jo Wilkie then completed the winning ladies team as she was eleventh lady home in 43:06. Martin Ford was also in the prizes as he took the vet 70 category in 41:47. Other Harriers in action were Richard Birch (39:32), Dave Hemmings (42:45), Debbie Smith who ran well for 44:08 and Samantha Pickering (48:43).

Later in the week Crombie-Hicks finished as first lady home in the Evesham 10k in 38:55 in a race where Gavin McCaugherty took second place in 36:12 and Lizzie Sandham recorded 46:05. Weekend parkrun results saw wins for both Jon Barnes in 16:56 in Hereford and for George Watson with 17:35 at the Cheltenham event in which Dmitry Nazarenko (18:22), Alex Clements (18:30) and Matthew Dwerryhouse (18:36) also made the top six.