Distance Running News, 3-7 April 2019

08 April 2019

Cheltenham Harriers produced a fine team performance with some impressive individual performances to claim a top twenty finish at the National 12 Stage Road Relay Championships in Sutton Coldfield. Fielding a relatively young and inexperienced line up to compete against the other 67 teams who had qualified from the regional relay events, the challenge set by the team management was to get as close to last year’s time and nineteenth position as possible. Despite the youthful lineup, it was veteran Phil Wylie who took on the highly competitive opening 5.38 mile long leg around the hilly Sutton Park course.

The international duathlete continued his fine recent form with a pleasing 26:26 for eleventh place before Dan Owen ran well on the 3.15 mile short leg with a 16:01 clocking that took the team up two places. With the stages alternating between the longer and shorter stages, Dom James took the third long leg with 27:37 to hand over in thirteenth before George Watson impressed with a 16:08 that held position. Alex Lee ran well with 28:12 to hand over in sixteenth, a position maintained by Alex LIndfield’s pleasing 17:02 as the race reached half way.

Richard de-Camps the ran a course PB of 27:49 as he gained and lost a place to stay in 17th before Luke Kearns posted 17:22 to hand over in eighteenth. A 29:44 leg from Dan Thomas saw the team in nineteenth before George Hawthorne’s 17:37 put the Harriers in twentieth. Recent Cleevewold winner Doug Wight then took the final long leg with a 29:17 that held position as regular rivals Tipton closed to within 57 seconds with one leg remaining. Matthew Dwerryhouse took the anchor leg on his road relay debut, running a mature 17:25 to hold position and bring the team home in twentieth with a time of 4:30:50 that was 29 seconds faster than the club posted in 2018. With Tipton crossing the line 27 seconds adrift, it also meant the Cheltenham team were the fourth Midlands club home behind Bristol, Notts and Birchfield.

Fee Maycock and Steve Linton headed to the Manchester Marathon, with the ultra consistent Maycock having ran 2:56 in her last four outings. Linton in contrast had past times of 3:01, 3:01, 3:02 and 3:03 to his name, having consistently missed out on his elusive sub three hour target. Keeping with Maycock therefore seemed like a good plan for Linton and the two teammates stuck together through 10km in 40:25 and to the halfway mark in 1:26:07. By the 30km mark though Linton had pulled clear, with a 2:03:09 split that showed the PB was on if he could hold the final 12km together. Maycock was also going well, with a 2:03:23 split suggesting another fast time was on the cards. By the finish, Linton’s sub three was never in doubt and he crossed the line triumphantly with 2:54:57 before Maycock again showed her class with an excellent 2:56.02 that ensured she was first LV50 runner home. Whilst it was remarkably a fifth consecutive 2:56 clocking, Maycock’s time was her fastest for six years and also put her at the top of the 2019 UK LV50 rankings as well as an excellent eleventh on the all-time ranking list for her age group.

A successful weekend for the club also saw the Harriers provide the first man and first lady home at the Angels Running Club 10k at Ashleworth. Richard Dare had a close battle with Gloucester’s Steve Millward before pulling clear on the downhill stretch at around 6km and opening up a 15 second advantage by the time he crossed the line in 34:28.

The hilly course also a close battle between Rachel Underhill and Tewkesbury’s Shona Crombie-Hicks, with the pair trading the lead whilst remaining together throughout before the Cheltenham athlete sprinted six seconds clear in the final stages for a time of 38:59.

The Harriers men also took the team honours with Mark James (37:47) sixth and second V50 runner Dave Rantell (39:09) placing eleventh. Paul Barnes completed the Harriers contingent with 43:37.

Elsewhere Chris Booth opened up his track season with a PB of 9:09.42 for seventh place in the 3000m B race at the Watford Open whilst Dave Aubrey finished fourth in 21:36 in the New York Road Runners 4 mile race in Central Park. Also in America there was a 10,000m track win for Will New in a time of 33:01:09 at the American International College Invitation meeting in Massachusetts. Closer to home, Rachel See contested the White Horse Half Marathon in Oxfordshire where she posted a time of 1:37:02 on her debut over the longer distance. Weekend parkruns saw Phil Beastall (16:00) and Kaitlyn Sheppard (19:04) finish first man and first lady home in Tewkesbury where Chloe Sheppard (22:39) was the third lady. Dave Tomlin (17:25) and Gareth Edwards (19:01) also enjoyed first places at Gloucester City and Evesham respectively whilst Georgia Palmer (20:55) was the first lady at the Cheltenham event where Matt Evans (19:26) finished twelfth.