Cheltenham Harriers celebrated their return to the top Division of the Athletics Direct Midland League at Rugby with a fine third place finish in the opening fixture behind Birchfield and Rugby. Despite a gusting wind, it did not deter the team who produced event winners and personal bests in abundance. In the men’s events Linton Gardiner, having already competed in the shot, won both the high jump and pole vault A string competitions and then went on to compete in the discus. Imran Qureshi also had success in the high jump, winning the B string event. Qureshi also leapt to a new PB of 6.75m in the A string long jump where he finished second, a position he matched in the B string javelin with a throw of 35.85m which was another PB. There was also a PB for Dimity Nazarenko in the 800m with a time of 2.02.6, and in the 5000m there were PBs for Phil Beastall with 15.38.8 and Alex Bampton with 15.55.9. In the 2000m steeplechase there was a PB for Russell Whiting of 7.16.4, which was particularly impressive as he’d already run the 400m Hurdles. Making their debuts in the men’s team were Massimo Montecucco, running in both hurdles events, Pedro Redondo in the hammer, and Chris Davies who was fully occupied in the shot, discus, hammer and pole vault.
In the women’s events, Isobel Haig had an outstanding day, producing PB’s in each of the four events that she contested. A javelin throw of 29.11m was followed by a hammer throw of 21.26m, a shot putt of 9.18m and a discuss throw of 28.72m. Ruth Bird also contested all four throwing events, producing a PB of 35.79m in the hammer. On the track, Mollie Courtney won both the 100m hurdles and high jump A string events and Mia O’Connell won a finally judged 1500m. Rachel See improved her 3000m PB by 3 seconds to 11.37.8 and Isabel Ovens, at 15 years of age, made her debut in the senior team. Finally the women’s 4 × 100 relay team of Courtney, Steph Beardsmore, Louise Ward and Sam Griffiths ran within fractions of the club record to finish in joint first place in 50.2 seconds.