Distance Running News, 24-29 September 2019

29 September 2019

Dom James enjoyed a fine victory as Cheltenham Harriers filled the first six positions and placed twelve runners in the top fifteen at the Cheltenham Half Marathon. Only James’ teammate Alex Lee went with the fast early pace, but the eventual winner pulled clear after a mile and went on to establish a race winning gap as he passed through 10km in 32:45.

Controlling the pace in the second half of the race, the Dave Newport coached athlete went on to cross the line in 70:24 on a course that is not conducive to fast times.

The race for second and third place was a more interesting affair with the isolated Lee opening a significant gap over Marcus England and Joe Turner who had moved clear of the chasing pack by the time the race reached Montpellier at three miles.

The duo gradually closed the gap and eventually caught Lee as they entered Cheltenham racecourse in the eleventh mile. With Lee tiring, his teammates remained locked together until twelve miles when Turner pushed on to take second in 70:58. England took third eleven seconds later before Lee crossed the line in 72:38 in fourth. Richard Dare and George Watson moved through the field effectively as they picked off Cirencester’s Dave Bell and Spa Strider’s Ian Allen to ensure an all Harriers top six, with Watson moving clear of Dare in the final stages as the pair were rewarded with PBs of 73:28 and 73:41 respectively.

After Allen took seventh, James Bingham finished as the first veteran home with a pleasing 74:30 for eighth place. Chris Booth (78:12) and Andrew van Kints (78:44) then claimed eleventh and twelfth before Henry James finished one place later as the leading under 20 runner in 78:49 on his half marathon debut. Joe Willgoss (79:07) followed before Anthony Bailey (79:25) made it twelve Harriers in the top fifteen as he finished as second V45 runner in his first race for 32 months.

Gareth Edwards showed good form with an 83:01 personal best and Dave Rantell (84:07) claimed second in the V50 category whilst Martin Soakell lowered his PB to 87:03. Naomi Eaton led the Harriers ladies home with 88:31 to finish as seventh lady before Matt Wood frustratingly clocked 90:00 and Ben Lease recorded 90:39.

Dave Francis (93:34) and Charlie Marshall (93:36) were evenly matched before Kayla Garland impressed with a big PB of 1:40:59. Emma Qukett (1:46:44), Sue Townsend (1:48:15), Leah Hopton (1:48:32), Debbie Smith (1:50:35) and Paul Longford (1:52:55) then completed the Harriers contingent. In the wheelchair race Ed Grazier and Les Hampton recorded times of 71:12 and 1:42:03 to finish first and second respectively.

Away from Cheltenham there was further half marathon success at the Forest of Dean event where Elliot Taylor took the win. Taking the lead after 1.5 miles, Taylor opened up a gap and ran solo for the rest of the race as he completed the forest trails course in 76:23 for a 36 second winning margin over Swansea’s Mathew Rees.

Doug Wight meanwhile travelled to Glasgow to compete over the classic 13.1 mile distance at the Great Scottish Run, where he continued his fine recent form to finish fiftieth in a new PB of 73:04. Midweek action saw Charlie Jones and Eliot Taylor finish first and second with times of 15:34 and 15:50 respectively at the Hereford 5k road race, whilst Dan Schofiled recorded 17:40 at the Pomphrey 5k in Bristol.

The weekend’s parkruns saw two Harrier ladies claim outright first places as they finished clear of the the first man home. Amber Watson (20:19) achieved the feat at Newent whilst Kaitlyn Sheppard (19:32) matched this result in Tewkesbury where her mum Sarah (22:01)   and sister Chloe (22:29) completed the ladies top three. Tara Grosvenor (19:26) was first lady and second overall at the Gloucester City event whilst Marc Fallows (18:40) finished first in Cirencester. Alice Stallberg (22:08) was the second lady at the Gloucester North parkrun whilst in Cheltenham Will New (18:09) was second and Clark Lawson (19:52) had a run out.