Distance Running News, 25-30 December 2018

31 December 2018

Dan Owen retained the Peter Holmes Cup as Cheltenham Harriers filled the top five places at the Winston’s Wish Boxing Day Challenge at Cheltenham racecourse. Again the trophy, in memory of the former Harrier and inaugural event winner in 2009, was keenly contested with Cheltenham athletes Dom James, John Parker, Will New and Jacob Pickering joining Owen in a lead group that went through the opening mile in 5:16. Owen and James then pulled clear in the second mile, with veteran Parker just off the pace as they put in a 5:01 split that split the pack. The two teammates remained together until they passed the grandstand with around 500m remaining, with Owen then using his trademark fast finish to open up a gap and complete the 3.8 mile course a few seconds clear of James. Parker then crossed the line in third before New and Pickering followed him home to complete the top five. Russell Forsbrook ran well for seventh whilst Andrew Kaighin, Matt Evans and Matt Lambourne were amongst the other Harriers having a run out to support the charity event.

The Gloucester 10 mile road race was supposed to provide a group of the club’s distance runners with the opportunity to end 2019 with a personal best, but things soon went wrong in the opening stages of the race when marshalling errors saw runners taking several different and inaccurate routes. Alex Lee, Marcus England, Richard Dare and Dave Tomlin never found the correct route and had to enjoy a swift training run together. After an 8 mile effort the trio of Lee, England are Dare crossed the line together to rapturous applause in just a shade over 46 minutes, whilst Tomlin found a 10 mile route back that saw him cross the line in 57:31 way before the lead car was in sight. The official results, however, do not include the quartet. They do, however, and to his surprise as there were runners ahead, show Joe Willgoss who ran 10.6 miles as finishing second in 61:51 as BRAT’s James Marshall was declared the winner in 59:52. Phil Brush (66:37), Steve Bradley (71:01) and Leah Hopton (83:52) are also listed in the results, although whether they ran the same 10.6 miles that many runners ran has still to be confirmed.

A much more successful event was enjoyed by Nick Holliday and Caroline Cotterell as they made the trip to Cardiff for the Old Father Time 5 mile road race in which all competitors must be veteran athletes. Holliday recorded a time of 31:49 to win the V60 age group whilst Cotterell’s 34:09 earned her third place in the LV45 category. Earlier in the week Mark James finished as first veteran and second overall in Severn AC’s Pilot Inn 4 mile road race.

The week also offered two opportunities for runners to enjoy parkruns, with many venues hosting special Christmas Day events to spread the festive cheer. Dave Aubrey (17:35) earned his Christmas lunch with first place at the Pontypool event whilst Andy Prophett (18:37) crossed the line fourth at The Wammy parkrun in Newcastle-under-Lyme. There was also a fourth place for Mark James (17:46) at the Cheltenham event where Matt Lambourne (19:34) and Matt Evans (20:28) were amongst those who ran in festive attire. Georgia Palmer (21:35) meanwhile was the third lady home. The weekend then saw Alex Lee (16:10) first home in Pittville Park, with teammate Jamie Harper (16:29) setting a course PB in second before Dan Minors (18:21) and George Watson (18:26) placed sixth and seventh respectively. Meanwhile Ben Price (16:29) was just four seconds outside the course record as he crossed the line first at the Trelissick parkrun in Cornwall. There were also first place finishes for Dave Tomlin (17:12) at the Kingsway event in Gloucester, Alex Doherty (17:33) in Evesham and by Liam Roarty (17:49) at the River Valley event in Dublin. Alice Stalberg (22:13) was first lady home at the Gloucester North parkrun, whilst Amber Watson (21:06) was second lady and eighth overall at the Street event in Somerset, a position matched by Henry James (17:43) in Hastings.