Distance Running News, 18-19 January 2020

21 January 2020

Dom James and Alex Lee were amongst the twelve Cheltenham Harriers setting personal best times as they travelled to Beachley for the Speedway 10k. The Chepstow Harriers organised event again attracted an excellent field of athletes from Wales, the South West, the Midlands and beyond as the reputation of the fast two lap peninsular course in the shadow of the Severn Bridge continued to grow. Dom James led the Harriers charge and was hoping to break the 30:14 personal best that he set at Telford last month. The Dave Newport coach athlete soon found himself in a group of eight athletes locked together at sub 30 minute pace in a battle for fifth place, until the pack fragmented at around 8k. After dropping a few yards off the group James rallied in the final to pick up a few places and finish ninth as he broke the 30 minute barrier for the first time with an excellent 29:48 in a race won by Birchfields’s Omar Ahmed in 28:58

Alex Lee and Chris Booth also found themselves in a nice group that went through halfway on schedule for a sub 31 minute clocking. Whilst the inform Lee finished strongly to knock 53 seconds off his PB for an impressive 30:45 in 17th, Booth fell behind his clubmate in the last 2km but was thrilled with a 61 second PB with a time of 31:18.

Marathon specialist Joe Turner was the fourth Harrier home as he recorded a PB of 31:28 as the team gained third place behind Birchfield and Bristol. James Bingham and Dave Aubrey were expected to be closely matched, but the former opened a large lead over his rival in the first half. However, Aubrey then closed to within five seconds of the veteran on the second lap as the pair recorded new PBs of 32:22 and 32:27 respectively as Bingham finished as second veteran home.

Teenager Henry James then impressed with a 33:50 PB before Tom Radley then smashed his PB by over two minutes with 34:19, Chris Roxburgh recorded 34:33 and Dan Schofield PB’d with 35:02. Chris Cleary then posted 36:08 before the improving Jonathan Floyd and Charlie Marshall set PBs of 38:01 and 38:48 respectively whilst LV55 athlete Clare Hawling also impressed with a PB of 44:34 to make it twelve out of fourteen Harriers setting PBs.

Four Harriers meanwhile contested the Gloucester Half Marathon with LV50 runner Fee Maycock leading the quartet home as she finished as third lady and first veteran runner in a very pleasing 84:51 as she followed Weston’s Susan Duncan (83:36) and Lliswerry’s Elizabeth Dimond (83:47) across the line. Dave Francis had Maycock in his sights all race and closed to within eight seconds by the finish as he continued to return to his best form. Alex Smith posted 86:55 before Leah Hopton completed the 13.1 miles in 1:46.05.

The Linda Franks 5 mile road race around Hatherley and The Reddings saw Anthony Bailey finish as first veteran and third overall in a time of 27:28 as RAF runner James Bellward (24:10) and Gloucester’s Steve Kenyon (27:04) took the top two spots. In sixth place Mark James finished as second veteran in 28:04 whilst Dave Rantell’s 29:28 earned him second in the MV50 age group. Jacob Howes (33:16) and Sam Pickering (39:35) completed the Harriers contingent whilst wheelchair athletes Ed Grazier (26:21) and Les Hampton (37:20) also opened their 2020 seasons. Racing in a much warmer climate at the Cardiff Indoor Open, V60 runner Nick Holliday recorded 2:36.43 over 800m and 5:13.99 in the 1500m whilst LV60 athlete Kathryn Morton posted a 1500m time of 6:!2.51.

The weekend’s parkruns saw an all Harriers top three at the King George V Playing Field event in Cheltenham as James Bingham (19:19), Matt Lambourne (19:20) and Gareth Edwards (19:38) led the field home. Charlie Jones (17:42) and Dan King (17:53) placed first and second in Hereford whilst Alice Stalberg (21:58) was first lady and tenth overall at the Gloucester North event. Naomi Eaton (21:05) finished as the second lady in Cirencester where Dave Tomlin (19:48) finished third.


(speedway action photos from Tosh Simpkin and Rob Gale)