Distance Running News, 24-29 July 2018

06 August 2018

Cheltenham Harrier Graham Rush gained his first ever national track medal with a fine third place finish in the England Athletics and Inter-Counties 5000m Championship in Manchester. Strong winds meant that a slow paced race was almost inevitable, as Poole’s Tom Austen led the field through the opening kilometre in a modest 2:56. The pace then slowed further to 9:09 by 3000m, with the Dorset man still at the front and the whole field still bunched together. Rush had been content to stay out of trouble and sit towards the back of the pack, but was still able to react quickly when Southampton’s Alex Teuton made a move with around 1350m to go. However, the Cheltenham athlete could not match his rival who quickly opened up a gap as Rush found himself clear in second. Birchfield’s Will Richardson then passed Rush with 600m to go, which meant the last lap for Rush was all about holding on to the bronze medal. Whilst Teuton (14:42.42) and Richardson (14:46.13) maintained position, Rush managed to do likewise to cross the line in third place in 14:48.86 as Derby’s Richard Weir (14:50.38) and Notts’ Doug Musson (14:54.51) completed the top five. Dan Owen was also in action in the 3000m steeplechase where he placed fifth in 9:30.71. Earlier in the week Rush had warmed up for the championship with a win over 3000m at the Trafford Open where he recorded a time of 8:23.90.

There was a win for Dan Owen, whilst Fee Maycock smashed the Cheltenham Harriers over 40 ladies record, as the club hosted an excellent evening of high quality 5000m races at the Prince of Wales Stadium. In the A race a strong field of eighteen sub 16:00 runners lined up, on an evening where the excessive temperature made the conditions far from ideal. With Oli Mott acting as the official pacemaker, the aim was to set up the race at sub 15 minute pace as the athletes wanted to take advantage of the high quality line up to achieve fast times. Through 2000m it was Tonbridge’s Ben Cole who was right behind Mott, with the Harriers quartet of Harry Bishop, Owen, Alex Bampton and Ben Price all in close order and filling the next four places. The group had split before Mott stepped aside on schedule at 3km, with Bishop now isolated in third and Owen tracking Cole as the Tonbridge man did the work on the front. With just two laps to go Owen made his move, quickly opening up a gap over Cole that he extended to eight seconds to take victory in 14:56.2. Alex Lee had gone through 3000m in eighth place, but judged his race well to pick his way through the field and finish third in 15:09.9, missing out on a personal best by just 0.37 seconds. The race for fourth was an extremely close affair with Bishop hanging on to record a track best time of 15:15.1 before Bristol’s Kurt Taylor bagged a 15:15.5 PB in fifth. Richard de-Camps followed just 0.1 seconds later to lower his PB by five seconds, as like Lee he ran a well-measured race to move through the field. Bampton tracked Price until the final lap before outsprinting his teammate as they recorded 15:28.2 and 15:28.8 respectively for seventh and eighth. CLC’s Will Ferguson (15:31.5) and Oxford University’s Kirk Smith (15:32.7) completed a high quality top ten. Marcus England enjoyed a race long battle with Welsh Commonwealth Games international Jenny Nesbitt of Worcester, with the two athletes inseparable throughout. In the end it was England who won the sprint for the line for thirteenth place to claim a new track PB of 15:51.3, as Nesbitt recorded an excellent PB of 15:51.6 to move up to fourteenth in the 2018 UK ladies rankings.

The B race was paced by James Chantler-Mayne and Charlie Jones who achieved their aim of getting some runners sub 16 for the first time. Whilst Bristol’s Robert Stewart took the win in 15:55.8, close on his heals for an excellent eight second PB was Dave Aubrey with 15:57.9. Marc Fallows was the fastest veteran of the evening with 16:29.9 in fifth with fellow veteran Mark James seventh in 16:38.3. Nick Brown (17:02.1) and James Bingham (17:06.1) both ran well before Dani Chattenton (MK Distance Project) was the second fastest lady at the event with 17:06.6. In the C race, paced by Doug Wight, it was Tom Kabala (CLC) who took the win in a PB of 17:28.6 before Dan Minors (17:36.5) showed great form for second place. Martin Soakell (17:44.6), Paul Wade (17:49.4), Alister Brown (18:03.8), debutant Josh Playle (18:17.7), Gareth Edwards (18:21.3), Dave Rantell (18:32.8) and Tara Grovsenor (18:59.6) continued the large Harriers contingent. The D race was set up for those looking to go sub 19 for the first time and Fee Maycock did not disappoint with an excellent time and victory. Sticking closely to pacemakers Wight and Mike Gray throughout, her time of 18:42.8 was not only a PB and club over 40, over 45 and over 50 record, but also a time that placed her fourth on the UK LV50 2018 5000m rankings. In the same race Hannah D’Ambrosio made a welcome return to action with 19:17.6 as she held off the late challenge from Rachel See who set a pleasing sixteen second PB with 19:18.6. The 25th and final Cheltenham runner to cross the line was 74 year old Martin Ford, with his time of 21:30.6 placing him fourth on the UK V70 rankings. Wheelchair athlete Ed Grazier was also in good form with a pleasing time of 15:15.9.

Phil Wylie enjoyed a fine win as Chepstow Harriers hosted the Magor 10k. The Dave Newport coached athlete ran alongside Calne’s Simon Nott for 5k before running negative splits to claim a sixteen second win in 30:57. Weekend parkrun’s saw Amber Watson (20:20) finish as first lady in Cheltenham where Alex Lee (16:10) was the first man to complete the 5km and James Bingham (17:26) was the fourth man over the line. There were also first place finishes for Dave Aubrey (17:01) at Cwmbran and for Dave Tomlin (17:04) at the Kingsway event in Gloucester.