Distance Running News, 9-11 May

Phil Beastall lowered his personal best time by almost half a minute as he finished in a fine second place to help the Cheltenham Harriers team take victory at the Berkeley 10k. Beastall and teammate Anthony Bailey were soon at the head of the field and opened up a small gap in the opening stages, but they were soon closed down by Stroud’s Dan Robinson and Somerset’s Joshua Dixon. The quartet remained locked together until the 5km mark, which they passed in 16:20, before Bailey felt the after effects of the London Marathon in his legs and dropped off the pace. The lead was shared amongst the remaining trio, although Beastall spent more than the others at the front and led out the final two kilometres as the speed picked up. Unable to shake off his rivals, Beastall had former Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist Robinson sitting tight on his shoulder until the final bend when Robinson hit the front and opened up a race winning gap with 100m remaining. Beastall crossed the line just one second later to claim an excellent 32:15 PB with Dixon a further second adrift. Bailey remained in fourth to finish as second veteran behind Robinson with a 33:26 clocking. Gareth Edwards was the third Cheltenham runner home in 38:24 before Richard Birch lowered his PB to 38:43. Dave Rantell started his comeback from injury with 38:56 and Lee Groenewegen completed the winning six man team in 39:35. Martin Ford was the first vet 70 runner home in 40:11 as he finished ahead of his V60 rivals. In her first race since rejoining the club Jo Wilkie finished as fourth lady and first veteran home in 40:38. Vet 50 runners Paul Barnes and Dave Hemmings finished in 40:45 and 43:00 respectively before Sue Townsend was tenth last and third LV45 runner home in 43:39.

At the Great Manchester 10k Graham Rush rubbed shoulders with Haile Gebrselassie as the athletics legend contested his final race before retiring from the sport. The pair were together with an 8:43 opening 3km split before the double Olympic champion moved clear, with Rush passing the 5km mark in 14:50. The Cheltenham Harrier went on to finish in 30:26 as tenth Britain home in sixteenth place, just three places and twenty-one seconds adrift of Gebrselassie.

Gavin McCaugherty claimed a comfortable win with a 17:39 clocking at the Evesham parkrun whilst Luke Kearns was the leading Harrier at the Cheltenham parkrun with a time of 18:11 for sixth place. Jacob Pickering and Matt Evans followed with 18:35 and 18:37 for seventh and eighth respectively before youngsters Ben Sluman (19:33) and Michael Horrocks (19:42) crossed the line. Sue Townsend was the second lady home in a course PB of 21:45 with Agata Giles fifth in 22:32. At the Stroud Trails Half Marathon James Wilkinson placed fifth in 1:50:31 and Jamie Courtenay recorded 2:12:37 for the testing off road course. Competing in the British Athletics League fixture in Sheffield Dan Owen finished fourth in the 3000m steeplechase in 9:21.88.