Dan Owen produced an excellent performance to win the 5000m at the Midland Championships in Nuneaton. With the strongest line up for the event for many years, it was unsurprising that the main protagonists in the 22 man field were looking at each other on the opening 75 second lap. This prompted Tipton’s Stuart Hawkes to take up the pace to lead the field through the opening kilometre in 3:05 as Owen and his Cheltenham teammate Alex Bampton sat towards the front of a large lead group. Fellow Tipton runner Peter Brookes was the next to hit the front after the pace dropped slightly before Birchfield’s sub 15 minute runner Ed Banks hit the front to take an eight man group through 3000m in 9:08 with Owen and Bampton still in contention. By the time that Joe Smith (Tipton) took the field to 4km in 12:12, Banks and Gloucestershire Champion Ben Robinson (Bristol) had fallen off the pace to leave a six man pack to battle it out for the medals. Sitting in second place as they approached the final lap together Owen kicked at the bell to put daylight between himself and the chasing group. However, Birchfield’s Jon Goringe started to reduce the deficit on the back straight before Owen decisively kicked again to pull away and claim the gold medal in 15:00.21 with Goringe (15:02.85) and Smith (15:04.44) completing the rostrum. Hawkes (15:05.71) followed before Bampton (15:09.04) impressed in fifth with a time of less than three seconds outside his personal best. Fellow Harrier Marcus England was racing at this level on the track for the first time and posted a solid 15:57.54 for fifteenth place. Owen’s victory added a fifth Midland title to his growing medal collection after claiming titles at 1500, 3000, 10000 and 3000m steeplechase last season.
In the 1500m Richard de-Camps was the sole Cheltenham athlete in action and he quickly settled into second place as Nene Valley’s James McCrae took the field through the opening laps in 63 and 2:06. By the third lap McCrae was clear of de-Camps, who in turn had a gap on the chasing pack. With the positions remained unchanged, de-Camps finished 4.68 seconds adrift by the finish as he crossed the line in 3:59.22 for a silver medal as Birchfield’s Alex Rutherford (4:03.66) took third place. In the 800m Jacob Pickering placed fifth in a time of 1:57.83. Also on the track Rhys Park recorded a season’s best time of 14:20.79 for fourteenth place in the 5000m B race at the Portland Track Festival in America.
Midweek action on the roads saw Alice Taylor make it three wins out of three at the Hereford 5k as she crossed the line in 18:01 for a 31 second victory over Chloe Wheeler (Forest of Dean). Taylor also claimed the series title for a second consecutive year whilst Fee Maycock ensured further Cheltenham success as she took third on the day as the leading veteran athlete in 19:19. In the men’s race Tipton’s Stuart Hawkes (15:25) again pulled clear of Alex Lee (15:36) in the final mile as the pair also claimed the top two series placings. In fifth place Charlie Jones (15:54) equalled his road personal best for the distance before Eliot Taylor (15:59) took sixth on the day to finish third in the overall series. Doug Wight was in fine form in eighth position as he lowered his PB to 16:03 to finish one position and twelve seconds clear of Dave Aubrey. Mark James (16:46) was the second veteran home before Alex Lindfield (17:07) showed good form and Scott Jones (17:14) ran a huge PB. Dan Minors (18:14) and Gareth Edwards (18:31) then completed the 12 strong Harriers squad as the club claimed the series title with three wins out of three. Back in his native North-East Phil Wylie was in fine form at the iconic Blaydon Races as he completed the 5.67 mile course from Newcastle to Blaydon in 27:18 for sixth place in a high class field. Closer to home Elliot Prince took fifth place at the 7.2 mile Stroud Beer race in a time of 45:05. At the Cheltenham parkrun Alex Lee (16:19) was the first across the line as Doug Wight (17:49) and James Bingham (17:58) finished fourth and fifth respectively. Hannah D’Ambrosio (21:16) was the third lady home whilst Matt Evans (19:52) also had a run out around the Pittville Park course.