Road Running Report, 12-13 March

Cheltenham Harrier Graham Rush produced an excellent performance at the Trafford 10k road race to earn himself second place in the UK rankings lists. With conditions perfect and a high calibre field assembled in Manchester, Rush was confident of breaking his PB of 30:00 and relishing the opportunity to get back on the roads after a cross country heavy winter. A group of three athletes quickly established themselves clear of the field in the first kilometre with Olympian Tom Lancashire of Bolton joined by Sweden’s David Nilson and Jordan’s Mohammed Abu-Rezeq who was running in the colours of host club Altrincham. Rush remained prominent in the next pack, not too far adrift of the top three, as he passed the 3km mark in 8:40 before leading his pack through the half way mark in 14:40. Conscious that the pace was slowing after the 6km mark Rush took the initiative to pick it up again as the pack behind him gradually split. Whilst Lancahsire took the win in 28:56, for a five second margin over Nilson, Rush was quickly was closing in on Abu-Rezeq who was slowing in the final kilometere. However, the Cheltenham athlete finished fourth, just a second behind the Jordanian, but with the clock showing a new personal best of 29:10. Not only does Rush’s time place him second on the early 2016 UK rankings, it was a time that was beaten by just two British athletes on the road in 2015. Four more Harriers also enjoyed success with Alex Lee carving 25 seconds of his PB with an impressive 31:51, Andrew van Kints running well for 32:25, Gareth Edwards posting 36:41 and Lee Groenewegen recording a time of 38:06.

The Gloucester 20 mile road race provided the perfect opportunity for the club’s marathon runners to continue their preparations for their upcoming events. Anthony Bailey had been clear in third place, some distance behind the front two of Scott Hazel (Coventry) and Hywel Davies (McCarkiss), but was caught by teammate Marcus England and Cirencester’s Adrian Williams. The trio remained together until 19 miles when Bailey pulled clear to take third in 1:58:05, with Williams claiming fourth seventeens seconds later and England finished fifth with 1:58:25. Dave Rantell (2:12:00), Gavin McCaugherty (2:13:52), Richard Birch (2:14:57) and James Wilkinson (2:16:16) all had pleasing runs. Shona Crombie-Hicks was fourth lady home in 2:16:34 , Simon Critchley clocked 2:19:09 and vet 70 runner Martin Ford crossed the line in 2:31:53 before Paul Barnes (2:35:00) and Dave Hemmings (2:35:08) completed the Harrier contingent. Elsewhere Oli Mott contested the Bath Half Marathon where he finished 24th with a time of 1:11:53. Weekend parkruns saw Andy Prophett take the win at the Hanley event in Stoke-on-Trent with a time of 17:20 whilst Fraser Wilmore’s 17:59 earned him second place at the Cheltenham parkrun where Jo Wilkie was the third lady home in 21:58.