Distance Running News, 5-7 February

Cheltenham Harrier Beth Hawling produced another excellent performance to finish an impressive fifth place at the British Universities Cross Country Championships held at Plock Court in Gloucester. Steady rain throughout the day, coupled with high winds, meant that conditions were extremely testing with large parts of the course either flooded or heavy mud. Within the first kilometre of the two lap 6.1km race, a strung out lead group of about twelve athletes developed with Cardiff University athlete Hawling in around ninth place. As the second lap began significant gaps were developing within the field. There was a clear front two of the Birmingham athletes Rebecca Murray and Pippa Woolven, Amelia Pettit (Newcastle) was battling with Jenny Nesbitt (Bath) for third, whilst the race for fifth was looking to be between Mari Smith (Birmingham) and Louise Small (St Mary’s). At this point Hawling lay in seventh place, some twenty metres behind these athletes, but clear of the group behind her which included international 800m athlete Jessica Judd (Loughborough). Over the last kilometre of the race Hawling steadily narrowed the gap ahead of her and produced her usual strong sprint finish to move into a finishing position of fifth with just one hundred metres remaining. Fellow Cheltenham Harrier Rachel See (Oxford Brookes) also produced a highly encouraging performance placing 171st in a field of 583 athletes in her first BUCS event.

In the men’s race, held over a distance of 10.2km, Graham Rush represented Gloucestershire University and produced a solid performance to place twelfth in a high class field that saw West of Scotland’s Callum Hawkings win by almost a minute from Birmingham athletes Andrew Heyes and Jonathan Davies. The final Cheltenham Harrier in action was Tommaso Migliuolo who placed 140th in the men’s B race for Loughborough University.

Elsewhere Phil Wylie placed eighth in a high quality field at the Chichester 10k road race with a time of 30:31 whilst Andy Prophett recorded a time of 28:50 at the Alsager 5 mile road race in Cheshire. On the track Richard de-Camps trimmed his 3000m personal best to 8:50.42 at the Welsh Indoor Championships in Cardiff whilst Andrew van Kints finished fourteenth in the RAF Cross Country Championship in Aylesbury. At the South West Schools Cross Country Championship in Pittville Park Alex Chantler-Mayne and Jacob Pickering finished ninth and thirteenth respectively in the under 19 boy’s race whilst Ellie Hathaway came home 26th in the under 19 girl’s event. Earlier in the day at the same venue Alex Lee won his thirteenth Cheltenham parkrun with a 16:19 clocking, with teammate Mark James placing third in 18:02. At the Pontypool parkrun Dave Aubrey made a welcome return to action as he took second position with 18:07.