Distance Running News, 7-10 March 2019

10 March 2019

Phil Wylie produced a strong performance at the British Cross Country Championships and World Championship Trials in Loughborough. The Prestwold Hall course saw the country’s top athletes vying for six places in the GB team as they represented their counties in the inter-counties event. Representing his native North East Counties team, veteran Wylie proved he is still competitive on the national scene with an impressive 30th position in a race won by Southend’s Adam Hickey. Doug Wight made a welcome return to race action after an injury lay off to lead the Gloucestershire team home in 195th whilst Andrew Kaighin completed the county’s scoring six man team in 287th position.

After campaigns for gender equality, the IAAF decided that the ladies race at this month’s World Cross Country Championship would see athletes running the same 10km distance as the men for the first time. British Athletics therefore followed suit with their trial race meaning that most of the ladies in the field were running the longer than their usual 6-8km cross countries for the first time. The extra distance clearly suited Naomi Eaton though as she picked up places throughout the race to move closer to her pre-race target of claiming a top 100 finish in the event for the first time. Finishing in 94th place Eaton was the second Gloucestershire athlete home after Bristol’s Kate Maltby finished in 51st position on a course that measured at 10.6km as Worcester’s Jenny Nesbitt took the British title.

In the under 20 men’s race George Hawthorne and Oli Powell both donned the county vest as they finished in 129th and 162nd respectively.

On the roads Jacob Pickering made the trip to Manchester to take part in the high quality Trafford 10k. Poor weather conditions added to the challenge, but the Birmingham University student still managed to trim his previous best time by three seconds as he was rewarded with a new PB of 32:55 in 61st place. Strong winds made things tough for Marcus England in the televised Vitality Big Half in London where he finished in 72:38 for 88th place after Mo Farah had taken the win in 61:15. Windy conditions were also evident at the Burnham-on-Sea 5k where Russell Forsbrook was half a minute down on his February time on the same course as he took fifth place in 18:11. Caroline Cotterell was in action at the British Masters Indoor Championship at Lee Valley where she ran well to take silver in the LV45 3000m in a personal best of 11:21.74 as well as finishing fourth over 1500m with a time of 5:22.27.

Weekend parkruns also saw Harriers athletes enjoy success with first place finishes for James Bingham (17:22) in Cheltenham, Mark James (18:00) at the Gloucester City event and Chris Booth (18:41) at the Tring parkrun. Charlie Jones was out in front at the Worcester Pitchcroft parkrun when the lead cyclist crashed. After stopping to check on the cyclist, Jones rejoined the event down the field and worked his way back to the head of the field as he crossed the line first in 17:06. Rachel See (19:29) posted her fastest ever parkrun time as she finished as first lady and third overall at the Cairns parkrun in Australia, whilst in Scotland Andy Gore (19:58) finished third on the challenging course at the Ayr event.