Distance Running News, 23-24 March 2019

24 March 2019

Cheltenham Harriers produced a fine team performance to finish fourth in the Midland 12 Stage Road Relay Championship in Sutton Coldfield as Phil Wylie enjoyed an excellent win on the opening stage. Wylie sat in the lead pack during the hilly opening mile of the iconic Sutton Park course before pulling clear of the group with Bristol’s Harry Allen on the dog leg to Streetly Gate. Just before the turn point, the Dave Newport coached athlete opened a small gap on Allen who never got back on terms. Completing the 5.38mile course in 26:20, Wylie finished seven seconds clear of Allen whilst Sutton Coldfield’s Shaun Evans was a further half a minute adrift in third place.

On his 12 stage debut Dom James then took the second leg for the Cheltenham team and his pleasing time of 27:13 was the second fastest of the stage. However, this still saw the Harriers drop back to second place as Doug Musson of Notts took his team into the lead with a sincilating 25:59; the only time quicker than Wylie’s for the rest of the event. Richard de-Camps then took the third leg and recorded 28:28 as he handed over in third place after Jarleth McKenna had moved Bristol move up into second. The final of the four long legs then saw Ben Price run 27:33 with the Harriers now in fourth as Birchfield’s Will Richardson moved up into third.

The remaining eight legs now followed the shorter 3.15 mile lap, with Dan Owen taking stage five and running a fine 15:56 to move the team back to within four seconds of Birchfield, with the race past the halfway mark in terms of distance. Liam Roarty (16:43) and Jacob Pickering (16:38) then produced solid legs on the sixth and seventh stages. However, the top three had pulled further away and the Cheltenham team were to remain isolated in fourth for the remainder of the race. George Watson impressed with 16:14 on leg eight followed by Doug Wight (16:43) who made a welcome return to the team after an injury lay off. Chris Booth and Dave Aubrey then posted identical 16:55 legs before Richard Dare ran well with a 16:36 that saw the team finish in fourth position. Whilst Bristol, Birchfield and Notts claimed the medals with a significant advantage, the team could be pleased with a 2:09 advantage over rivals Tipton who took fifth.

The Cheltenham B team also put in a good team performance with Nick Brown (30:27) placing them 35th on the highly competitive opening leg before Marc Fallows (30:28) gained six places and Joe Willgoss (30:02) picked up a further two positions on stage three.

The pick of the B team performances though came from Alex Lindfield (29:53) as he took the team up into 22nd. On the short stages George Hawthorne (17:39) gained three places before Luke Kearns (17:14) ran well to hand over in 20th to club stalwart Russell Forsbrook (18:00) who gained four places. Dan Schofield (18:27), Dave Tomlin (17:41) and Roger Mullins (17:51) then each gained a single place. Leg eleven saw Steve Hall (19:23) return from injury for his first race since 2017 and he handed over in fourteenth position with one stage to go. In his first relay race for the club, newcomer Andy Kyle (19:12) took the team back past Tipton B to ensure that the Harriers finished as second B team in thirteenth place overall.

Marcus England continued his build up to the London Marathon with a fine performance at the Ashby 20 mile road race in Leicestershire. After going through the first 5 miles in 27:53 in joint second place, the Harrier moved clear of third place at 8 miles and passed through 10 miles in 55:52. A solo second half of the race inevitably saw his pace drop, but England still produced an impressive PB of 1:53:49 to finish in second place as Daniel Bagley (1:51:43) of Holme Pierrepoint took the win and Brad Allen (1:54:56) of Redditch took third place. Also preparing for the London Marathon, Elliot Prince finished tenth in the Weston-super-Mare Half Marathon in a time of 79:40 in a race that also saw Sue Townsend record 1:53:36. Jon Barnes’ appearance for England in the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km unfortunately didn’t go to plan. After passing through the marathon in 2:55 Barnes develop an achilles injury and was forced out of the race after 45km. Weekend parkruns saw Alex Lee (15:54) and James Bingham (17:16) finish first and second in the Cheltenham event where Samuel Stafrace (19:26), Matt Evans (19:27) and Oliver Doherty (19:44) also had a run out. Chloe Sheppard (21:44) was the first lady and tenth overall in Tewkesbury whilst Mark James (17:32) and Matt Lambourne (19:03) were second and seventh respectively at the KIngsway event in Gloucester. Georgia Palmer (21:00)  was the second lady at the Upton House parkrun in Poole and Alice Earle (20:06) was the fourth lady at the Newcastle parkrun.