Distance Running News, 14 December 2019

15 December 2019

There was a fine individual win for Dom James as he led Cheltenham Harriers to another dominant team victory in the Gloucestershire Cross Country League fixture at Old Down Country Park. James was happy to sit in the pack in the opening large lap as Severn’s Harry Bishop set the pace. The duo had pulled clear of the field by the start of the third lap, at which point the Cheltenham athlete made his move and instantly opened up a decisive race winning gap.

Meanwhile Jacob Pickering and James Bingham had both started sensibly and had picked off the fast starters. By the start of the third circuit Pickering was isolated in third with a significant gap ahead to Bishop and also a clear advantage over fourth placed Bingham. 

Other than James extending his lead, very little had changed as the race entered its fourth and final lap with the top four positions seemingly decided. However, with Bishop starting to tire, the typically fast finishing Pickering caught the Severn AC man with just a quarter of a mile to go to claim second place and his highest ever league finish 83 seconds after James had taken the win. Bishop followed seven seconds later with the in-form Bingham just a further six seconds adrift as he claimed another veteran win. Further veteran success followed as Marc Fallows was first V45 runner home in twelfth place before Doug Wight and Charlie Jones completing the A team in 14th and 15th respectively. With a team score of 47 this gave the Cheltenham men a 38th consecutive league win as they enjoyed a 44 point winning margin over second placed Bath University.

The Harriers then showed great depth as Eliot Taylor claimed 16th and John Parker finished as second V45 runner in 22nd. Henry James (35th), Gareth Edwards (46th) and Mike Hughes (48th) quickly followed before Ian Giles (51st) was the third over 50 runner home as he completed the B team who finished as the leading B team in fifth place overall. Bingham, Fallows, Parker and Edwards comfortably won the masters team event with a 61 point winning margin over Cirencester. The Harriers C team of Clark Lawson (66th), Charlie Marshall (67th), Dave Francis (83rd), Chris Cleary (84th), Steve Bradley (101st) and Matt Evans (102nd) finished as tenth team before Mike Ede (105th) finished as second V60 runner home. 

The Harriers ladies had won the opening league fixture in Wotton, but lining up without their top two athletes from that race it was always going to be tall order to repeat the win. The in-form Rachel See led the team from the off and produced another pleasing performance to cross the line in fifth place. With Izzy Loza continuing to improve in ninth and Petra Vymetalova taking fourteenth to complete the three to score team the Harriers scored 28 points to finish second, ten points adrift of winners Bath University and a single point clear of third placed Clevedon. However, with the student team only finishing twelfth in the previous fixture, the Cheltenham ladies remain top of the league with a 52 point advantage over Clevedon. 

The ladies B team packed well with Amber Bullingham (16th), Jo Wilkie (19th) and second V50 runner Fee Maycok (21st) to finish as the leading B team in fifth place overall. Loza, Vymetalova and Wilkie combined to clam the masters team win with a sixteen point advantage over second paced Clevedon. However, the Somerset club hold a fourteen point lead at the top of the league table as the Cheltenham team moved up into second position. Vickie Wilkinson (34th), Nicola Whiteman and third over 55 runner Clare Hawling (47th) earned the C team eleventh place whilst the D team of Nicola Knight (60th), Joan Shaw (84th) and Christina See (126th) finished in 25th place. In the accompanying under 20 race that was held simultaneously with the ladies race, Ella Burfitt finished second which would have shown her as 12th lady if the results of the two were races were combined in their usual way.

The weekend’s parkruns saw Nick Holliday (21:34)  having a run out in the mud at Cirencester. Whilst the experienced V60 runner is no stranger to claiming age group first places, he marked his 149th parkrun by finishing first overall for the first time. Ben Price (16:46) returned after injury to take first place in Cheltenham where Simion Critchley (19:14) finished fifth, Dave Tomlin (18:49) was first across the line at the KIngsway event in Gloucester and Dan King (19:30) took third place in Ludlow.