Distance Running News, 12 January 2019

13 January 2019

Naomi Eaton gained her first top ten finish in the Midland Women’s Cross Country League Division One as she led the Cheltenham Harriers team home in their fixture at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park. The friendly rival between Eaton and teammate Rachel Underhill has seen some good head to head encounters in recent races, with Underhill edging clear of Eaton in the final stages of their last two encounters. On Saturday the pair again matched each other stride by stride for the first half on the opening lap as they held eleventh and twelfth positions. Towards the end of the first lap of the hilly and testing course Eaton pulled clear of her training partner, before gaining a place half way round the second circuit. Finding herself back in eleventh after the final uphill section, the Dave Newport coached athlete then regained a top ten spot on the descent and held off the challenge from behind in the final straight. Crossing the line in tenth place Eaton improved on her fifteenth place in the last fixture and claimed her first top ten finish in this high quality league. Underhill faded slightly, but still match the fourteenth place that she registered in the previous fixture before Fee Maycock again put in a good performance to come home in 32nd place. Last minute call up Agata Giles then completed the scoring team in 101st place. With a score of 157 the Harriers finished a pleasing seventh team in the fifteen strong division, a result that also sees them slip from sixth to seventh in the overall standings.

The Harriers men meanwhile travelled to Northampton for their Birmingham Cross Country League fixture with Ben Price spearheading their relatively small squad on the undulating four lap course in Abingdon Park. Price was in touch with the large lead group on the opening lap before the race kicked off in earnest on the second circuit. His position then remained relatively unchanged for the remainder of the race before he came home in a pleasing thirteenth position.

The second Harrier’s scorer was the ever reliable Richard de-Camps, who put in another good performance to come home in 31st. Jacob Pickering’s new found consistency continued with an impressive 38th place before Doug Wight claimed his highest ever league position in 39th. With several regular A team members missing Dan Thomas and Dave Aubrey both needed to step up and run well for the team. Both athletes paced their races perfectly and picked up places lap by lap as the moved through the field to produce their season’s highest finishes with 71st and 77th respectively. A team score of 269 earned the Cheltenham squad seventh place on the day, but they remain fifth in the overall standings of the sixteen team league with one race remaining. Surprisingly, the gap to fourth placed Tipton Harriers was reduced to just 20 points after the West Midlands club placed eighth on the day with a score of 283. Providing vital back-up to the scoring team were Phil Brush (146th) who held off the challenge of Russell Forsbrook (150th) before Andy Gore (164th) and Matt Evans (215th) completed the squad.

Weekend parkruns saw Chris Booth (16:56) first across the line in Aylesbury and Mark James (17:26) leading the field home at the Worcester Pitchcroft event where Nick Holliday (19:25) also had a run out. Georgia Palmer (21:37) was first lady and fourth overall in Newent whilst Ellis Woolley (22:34) was first lady at the Fire Service College parkrun in Moreton-in-Marsh. In Cheltenham Dan Minors (18:15) placed third before Matt Lambourne (19:46) and Dan Schofield (19:48) crossed the line. Dave Tomlin (16:57) was third home in Exmouth event whilst Andy Prophett (19:12) placed fourth at the Gloucester City event.