There were victories for both the Cheltenham Harriers men’s and ladies teams as the club hosted the latest Gloucestershire Cross Country League fixture at Pitville Park. In the women’s race it was Julia Cooke that laid the platform for the team success with an impressive second place. Having opened up an early lead over the rest of the field in thew early stages Cooke was caught by Gloucester’s Irish international Rose-Anne Galligan before the end of the opening lap and had to settle for second place as she ran unchallenged on the second lap. Lucy Merigold ran well to finish as third veteran in twelfth place and Louise McRitchie completed the victorious team in seventeenth place. The win moved the Harriers to the top of the league standings with a 26 point cushion over both Bromsgrove and Stroud who are tied for second place. Merigold and McRitchie combined with Kerry Heath-Smith in twenty-third place to take the veteran women’s s team win as they also moved to the top of the league. Further veteran success came through Joan Shaw who was the second over 50 runner home in thirtieth place.
The Harrier men’s team made it eleven consecutive Gloucestershire League victories with another dominant performance as they packed their six scorers into the top eleven places. John Parker forced the pace on the opening lap as he and training partner Oli Mott (Bristol) opened up a gap on the rest of the field. Mott then pulled away on the second of the three laps to open a race winning lead which he extended to 24 seconds over Parker by the finish. The battle for third place saw leading under 20 runner Dan Owen and fellow Harrier Andrew van Kints almost inseparable until the final half lap when Owen took six seconds out of his rival as they made it three Cheltenham runners in the top four. Marc Fallows was the fourth Harrier home in ninth place, whilst one place behind James Bingham claimed his first top ten league finish as he outsprinted Roger Mullins who completed the victorious six man team in eleventh place. This gave the Harriers a miserly score of just 39 points for a 95 point victory over second placed Severn AC as they extended their overall lead at the top of the league to 215 points. Such was the Harriers domination that their B team finished as third placed team through Jon Barnes (17th), Russell Forsbrook (21st), Dave Randall (28th), Tomasso Migliuolo (45th), Ian Giles (49th) and Iain Devlin (52nd). Randall also finished as first vet 50 home whilst Martin Ford took the honours In the vet 65 age group as the Harriers veteran team of Randall, Giles, Mike Ede and Ford finished third in their competition.
Earlier in the day the Harriers youngsters also showed good form with four team wins and two individual victories. Ben Roberts was a comfortable winner of the under 13 boy’s race as he finished 34 seconds ahead of teammate Oliver Powell. With Casey Fallows in fourth spot the team enjoyed a comprehensive victory. Similarly, in the under 11 girls race Grace Pitman took the win with Olivia Rook in second place and Jessica Burke in fourth giving them the team honours. There were also team victories for the under 15 boys with George Bygrave (5th), Jacob Pickering (6th) and Jasper Greenleaf (8th) and the under 11 boys with David Allcock (5th), Daniel Hearn (10th) and Henry James (12th). There were third placed team finishes for the under 15 girls through Jess White (8th), Emma Meecham-Jones (11th) and Charlotte Hayward (13th) and the under 13 girls with Agata Giles (7th), Isabel Ovens (13th) and Georgie Byrd (15th). In the under 17 boys race Dmitry Nazarenko continued his good recent form with fifth place.
For further Harriers perfromances see the full results.