There was a victory for Dave Roper as Cheltenham Harriers took another emphatic team win in the third race of the White Horse 5k series in Gloucester. Roper had moved clear of the chasing pack by the end of the first mile and by the time he had reached two miles in 9:50 he had established a 20 second lead over teammate John Parker and Tipton’s Ian Williams. Crossing the line in 15:27 the GB international duathlete had extended this margin to 28 seconds over Williams, with Parker four seconds further back to finish third and as first veteran in 15:59.
On an evening where the heat had an impact on times Anthony Bailey (16:08) saw off the challenge of Ben Price (16:10) to make it four Cheltenham runners in the top five. Phil Beastall took seventh in 16:18 and veteran Darren Jordan came home eighth in 16:28 to complete the victorious six man team. Once again the Harriers showed their depth with Roger Mullins (16:46), James Bingham (16:57), Will New (17:08), Richard Evershed (17:18), Dave Rantell (17:36) and Dmitri Nazarenko (17:48) scoring a lower points total than Severn AC who were officially the second placed team. Dave Aubrey (18:02), Gavin McCaugherty (18:26) and Dave Hemmings (18:35) soon followed to complete the club’s fifteen strong men’s squad.
The Harriers ladies also performed well in a highly competitive women’s race. By the two mile point newly crowned World Cross Triathlon vet 40 champion Vickie Wilkinson was in fourth place as she headed a pack of four women that included her training partners Jo Wilkie (CLC) and Jane Thomas, as well as Stroud’s Jo Fifield. Whilst the top two of Amy Fithern (Tipton) and Jo Fletcher were out of sight, Wilkinson increased the pace in the last kilometre to split the pack and take herself and Wilkie past Bourton’s Lucy Walmsley. She then held off Wilkie’s challenge on the run in to take third as both runners crossed the line in 19.24. Thomas impressed with a personal best of 19:37 to finish as seventh lady.