Gusting winds and a heavy shower did not stop Cheltenham Harriers coming away from round 3 of the Athletics Direct Midland League Division 1 match in Newport with a fine 3rd place result. The weather conditions meant that PB’s would be hard to find so that finishing positions and points became more important, and on that score this was an excellent team performance. To this end, Sam Griffiths placed 1st in both the 100m and 200m A races, whilst Steph Beardsmore also won the 200m for the B string and finished 3rd in the 100m. Michael Gardener ran a finely judged 400m to win the B string race in a season’s best (SB) of 51.6, and James Miller led from gun to tape to take a win in the 800m A race in a time of 1.57.9. In the 1,500m Ian Devlin won the B race in a SB time of 4.24.4. At 5,000m, there was another double win for the Harriers, with Phil Beastall taking the A race in a time of 15.24.9, reducing his PB by 14 seconds, and Harry Bishop winning the B race in 15.32.6, which was also a PB.
The stand-out performance in the field events came from 16 years old Conor Kearns, making his debut in the senior team. Kearns won the A string Pole Vault with a PB height of 3.75m, which moves him up the rankings to 16th in the UK for his age group. Other notable performance came from Massimo Montecucco in the 110m Hurdles with PB of 19.0 to finish 2nd in the B race, a SB of 6.54.0 from Roger Mullins finishing 3rd in the 2,000m steeplechase A race, and a PB of 7.49.7 from Matthew Evans finishing 2nd in the B race of the same event. I5 years old Isabel Ovens reduced her PB in the 3,000m by over 32 seconds to finish 3rd in the B race with a time of 11.38.0, whilst 14 years old Agata Giles, another debutant in the senior team, running in the A race of the 1,500m, finished 4th in a time of 5.20.6, fractionally outside her PB. Also making a debut with the seniors was 15 years old Alex Griffiths, who stepped in at the last minute following an injury to Neil Crossley. Griffiths performed exceptionally well in the Shot, Hammer and Discus, all at weights some 50% or more above those he’d been handling as an under 17 field eventer. And finally, mention should be made of mother and daughter Ruth and Mel Bird, who between them covered all the throwing events, and Ruth even found time to fit in a 3rd place Pole Vault. The whole team, however, contributed significantly to producing a well earned result, which should help the Harriers retain their continued presence in the top division.