Distance Running News, 21-22 September

22 September 2019

Dom James was in fine form as he helped Cheltenham Harriers to fifth place in the Midland Six Stage Road Relay Championship in Sutton Coldfield. With an injury hit squad, the team weren’t expecting to repeat their medal success of the last four years, but were still keen to prove they are amongst the region’s top clubs. Oli Mott took the highly competitive first leg and placed twelfth with a time of 18:57 as 122 teams tackled the hilly 5.88km Sutton Park course. James then sped through the field as he took the team up into second behind leaders Bristol with an 18:11 clocking that was the eighth quickest of the day and took thirteen seconds off his course PB. Leg three then saw Birchfield and Notts move through as Alex Lee’s 19:24 left the team in fourth place and twelve seconds clear of rivals Tipton at the halfway stage.

With Birchfield, Bristol and Notts already holding the medal positions that would remain unchanged for the rest of the race, Tipton moved up a position on leg four through Ian Williams as George Watson crossed the line eleven seconds later with an 18:39 leg that saw the Harriers fourteen seconds clear of sixth place Coventry. The penultimate leg then saw Charlie Jones’ 18:56 move the Cheltenham team back up a place as he went past Tipton’s Martin Williams to hand over with an eleven second advantage. However, with the West Midlanders having sub 15 minute 5k man Jonathan Carter on the final leg, it was always going to a be a tough task for Richard Dare to maintain fourth. Despite Dare running well with a 19:24 clocking, things indeed went to form with Tipton finishing fourteen seconds clear as the Harriers ended the race in fifth place.

Marc Fallows (20:12) led the Harriers B team off and handed over in 33rd place to Dave Aubrey (19:49) who gained five places before Ollie Jones (20:38) took the team up to 25th by the half way stage. Doug Wight (19:24) then picked off six more teams and Eliot Taylor (19:48) gained five positions on the fifth leg. Marcus England then showed that he was unlucky to miss out on A team selection with a course PB of 19:16 as he brought the team home in 12th place and third B team behind Birchfield and Bristol.

The C team of Tom Radley (20:52), Martin Soakell (22:11), Steve Hall (22:37), Joe Willgoss (20:34), Roger Mullins (21:44) and Russell Forsbrook (22:39) enjoyed a close contest with the A teams of both Gloucester and Severn AC. On the final leg Forsbrook fell just four seconds and one place short of catching Gloucester as the team took 45th position and third C team, two places clear of Severn. The Cheltenham D team finished as the events leading D in 61st position overall thanks to the efforts of Jamie Penton (21:52), Chris Hayes (21:58), Clark Lawson (23:17), Matt Wood (22:57), Peter Carmichael (23:16) and Michael Ede (24:58).

There were two Cheltenham teams in the ladies race, with Sarah Sheppard leading the A team off as 121 women tackled the shorter 4.33km lap. With a 17:53 leg Sheppard handed over to Hannah D’Ambrosio in 39th place, with D’Ambrosio’s 17:33 gaining eleven places. Rachel Underhill then continued the charge up the field as she gained twelve places with her 16:49 before Naomi Eaton picked off two more teams with a 16:22 leg.

Finishing in thirteenth place the Harriers team were the leading Gloucestershire club as Stroud and Gloucester finished 20th and 23rd respectively. The ladies B team of Leah Hopton (19:40), Emma Quekett (18:58), Clare Hawling (19:43) and Kathryn Morton (20:31) ran well to claim 53rd place.

At the Apperley Quarter Marathon James Bingham was involved in a close three way battle for the win before losing out to Birchfield’s Teklay Gebrikdan in the final stages as the Ethiopian athlete enjoyed an eleven second win in 36:12 whilst Gloucester’s Steve Kenyon took third a further fifteen seconds behind Bingham. Under 20 athlete Henry Jamres claimed fourth in 38:24 whilst Gareth Edwards’ 39:59 made it three Harriers in the top six. In a high class field at the Swansea Bay 10k Phil Wylie finished fourth and the first veteran runner in an impressive time of 30:57.

The weekend’s parkruns saw James Bingham (16:42) first home at the second staging of Cheltenham’s second parkrun at the King George V Playing Field where Sue Townsend (22:40) was the second lady. Meanwhile Kaitlyn Sheppard (19:34) was first lady and second overall in Tewkesbury whilst Henry James (17:33) was first at the Cheltenham parkrun in Pittville Park.