Midland League Report, 8 May

Cheltenham Harriers women’s 4×100m team were in record breaking form as the club made a good start to the season to finish second in their Athletics Direct Midland League Division 2 match in Tamworth. The quartet of Mollie Courtney, Steph Beardsmore, Sophie Yorke and Sam Griffiths dominated the relay for a comprehensive victory. Their time of 47.9 seconds not only did they beat the old Cheltenham Harriers club record from 2011 by two seconds, but they also broke the Midland League record of 48.0 which had been held by Birchfield since 2008. Courtney also added to her growing national reputation by equalling the league record in the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.1 seconds on a day where the strong head wind in the finishing straight meant that fast times were rare. Yorke also won the A string 100m and B string 100m hurdles race whilst Griffiths winning the B string 100m race and placed 2nd in the A string 200m. Frankie Courtney survived the elements with a good 3rd place in the A string 400m hurdles whilst Isabel Ovens set a new 400m PB. In the men’s sprints Jeremy Drackett scored valuable point with 3rd in both the A string 100m and 200m races whilst Dominic Biss produced wins in both the B string races at the same distances., Making light of the conditions, Chris Bell-Hartley produced a PB of 50.8 in finishing 3rd at the men’s 400m.

In the distance events the Harriers men dominated proceedings as they won all four A string races. James Miller took the lead in the final 20m of the 800m for a well- timed victory before Dan Owen comfortably won the 2000m steeplechase in his first race since January. Richard de-Camps was then a clear winner of the 1500m before the 5000m brought maximum points as Owen won his second race of the afternoon rae and Andrew van Kints was the leading B runner. The women’s distance runners also scored well with Rachel Longstaff winning the 3000m and finishing second in the 1500m on her league debut. Meg Brinley also enjoyed a fine debut with a 3000m B string win and personal bests in both the 3000m and 1500m.

In the field events, outstanding performances came from youngsters Conor Kearns and Daniel Carpenter as both athletes produced PBs in each of the events at which they competed. In the pole vault Kearns won the A string event with a height of 4.30m, which also exceeds the entry standard for the English Schools championships, and Carpenter cleared 3.40m for 2nd place in the B event. In the men’s high jump, a PB of 1.85m for Kearns was followed by a PB of 1.55m for Carpenter; and in the long jump, a PB of 5.71m for Kearns was again followed by Carpenter who leapt 5.30m for his third PB of the day. For the womens’ jumps, the Courtney sisters both earned good points in the high jump, with Mollie placing 3rd as the A jumper, and Frankie placing 2nd as the B jumper. In the pole vault, another youngster making her debut was Megan Mokgweetsi whose 2nd place vault of 2.10m in the A event, was matched by a 2nd place from Ruth Bird in the B competition. In fact Bird had a very busy and productive afternoon. Ably assisted by her daughter Mel, they both competed in the shot putt, discuss and hammer; their best joint performances being 2nd places as the A and B string discus throwers. Bird senior also placed 2nd as the A string javelin thrower. In the mens’ throwing events, Neil Crossley was another Harrier with a busy high point-scoring afternoon. Returning to action after an injury he won the A string javelin competition with a throw of 57.73m, supported by George Elliott who won the B event with a 42.29 throw. In the middle of the javelin competition, Crossley went off to run in the 110m Hurdles, and either side of the javelin event, he scored points in each of the shot putt, hammer and discuss.