Distance Running News, 6-8 February 2020

09 February 2020

Rachel Underhill was in fine form in Leamington as she helped Cheltenham Harriers finish their Midland Women’s Cross Country League Division One season in an impressive seventh place. Having finished 27th in the previous fixture, Underhill made a strong start on the Newbold Comyn course and was lying in 22nd place at the end of the first of the two hilly laps. Gaining three positions on the second circuit, Underhill crossed the line in a pleasing nineteenth position.

Petra Vymetalova continued her consistent season by running well for 51st place before team manager Jo Wilkie claimed 62nd and Sarah Sheppard completed the four to score team in 66th place.

Despite finishing twelfth team on the day, the result ensured that the Harriers maintained their seventh place in the overall standings of the eighteen strong top division. This also matched their seventh place from last season in their first season in division one. Although outside the scoring team, Kayla Garland provided vital back up and produced one of her best performances to date as she impressed in 73rd place.

The Harriers men were also in action at the same venue as they went into the final fixture of their Birmingham Cross Country League Division One season lying in eighth place. A course consisting of two large 5km loops saw Ben Price leading the Harriers charge in the opening stages with teammate Chris Booth not to far behind after half a lap. As the field headed into the second lap Price was lying in 19th place, with Booth in the late 20s whilst Alex Lee was moving through the field and now just outside the top 30. Looking strong throughout, Price ran a good second lap to finish in a pleasing 22nd whilst Lee went past Booth as they finished in 31st and 36th respectively.

Marc Fallows had led teammate Dave Aubrey throughout, but his younger rival passed him in the last half mile to take 56th with the ever consistent Fallows claiming 60th.

With the team missing several regular scorers Alex LIndfield returned after a two month injury lay off to complete the scoring team in 120th place. In an extremely tight match, with just 51 points separating the fifth and eleventh placed teams, the Harriers had to settle for ninth place on the day. However, this was still enough to maintain eighth place in the final standings of the sixteen team division and another top half of the table finish.

The trio of Dave Francis, Matt Evans and Andy Kyle also took on the challenge of competing amongst the regions’s top cross country runners on the challenging course and were rewarded for their efforts with positions of 163rd, 175th and 197th respectively.

In the under 20 girls race at the South West Schools Championship in Bournemouth Georgia Palmer finished in an impressive eighth place and Emma Hansen placed 34th. Henry James finished 32nd in the under 20 boys race before Luke Pennington crossed the line two seconds and five places later. Midweek action saw Russell Forsbrook finish as third veteran and eleventh overall as he recorded a time of 18:00 at the Burnham-on-Sea 5k.

The weekend’s parkruns saw Oscar Godden (18:57) finish first at the Gloucester North event whilst Dan King (17:31) placed second at the Worcester Pitchcroft parkrun and Dave Tomlin (16:57) finished fourth in Exmouth. Simon Critchley (18:31) was fourth home in Cheltenham where Peter Carmichael (19:59) also weaved his away round Pittville Park lake whilst Gareth Edwards (18:56) had a run out in Cardiff.