Dave Roper put in a strong performance as Cheltenham Harriers men’ team started their bid for a fifth consecutive Gloucestershire League title with victory in the opening fixture of the season at the Cotswold Farm Park. A fast early pace was set by Sales Harrier Matt Bond, with Roper just a few yards behind over the opening few miles. Towards the start of third large lap the 2012 GB Olympic trials 10,000m bronze medallist opened up a race winning lead, with Roper having to settle for second place. Graham Rush started steadily before moving through the field in the second half of the race to finish an impressive fourth on his league debut, whilst Jon Barnes ran well for tenth place. Will New pulled clear of Richard Evershed in the closing stages to claim his highest league finish as the pair finished twelfth and thirteenth respectively. The victorious six man team was completed by James Miller who finished strongly to move up to fourteenth place and give the Harriers their fourteenth consecutive league victory with a 109 point cushion over second placed Team Bath. In his first appearance for 18 months Andrew Hussey was second V45 runner home as he led the Harriers Masters team to second place with support from Miguel Mundinano in 51st, Steve Linton in 74th and Ian Giles in 93rd place.
In the women’s race Jane Thomas ran well to finish thirteenth to help the Harriers ladies team to fifth place, with veterans Kerry Heath-Smith 22nd and Joan Shaw 34th. Rebecca Pitman in 56th completed the Harriers ladies veteran team which finished third, with Shaw also finishing as second LV50 runner home. The meeting started well for the Harriers youngsters with Grace Pitman winning the under 11 race to lead the Cheltenham team to victory with support from Isabelle Owen (5th) and Lottie Roberts (9th). The under 15 girls were also team winners through Agata Giles (6th), Freya Lane (8th) and Eleanor Hathway (10th) whilst the under 13 team of Ellen Foster (13th), Ella Burfitt (16th) and Georgia Byrd (17th) finished fifth. In the boys races there were second places for both Dmitry Nazarenko in the under 17 boys race and Oliver Powell who led the under 13 team to third place with support from Ben Sluman (20th) and Daniel Hearn (22nd). The under 13 boys finished as second team through Ben Williams (10th), Michael Horrocks (16th) and Jasper Greenleaf (17th).
For further Harriers performances see the full results.