Distance Running News, 8-13 August

Dan Owen claimed his third Midland Championship gold medal of the season as he won the 3000m title with a fine performance at the Godiva Classic in Coventry. After z relatively slow start Owen tracked the leaders through the opening kilometre in 2:57 before the race moved up a gear with a 2:51 second thousand metres. As the pace continued to build in the final kilometre the front pack reduced in numbers to just three athletes at the bell as Jonathan Goringe (Birchfield) and Robert Smith (Notts) opened a slight lead over Owen as they headed into the final lap. However, the Midland 1500m and steeplechase champion hit back with a sixty second fin al lap to overhaul his rivals in the final 200m to take the win in 8:31.34 as Goringe (8:32.71) and Smith (8:33.61) had to settle for the minor medals. Fellow Cheltenham athlete Richard de-Camps also put in a pleasing performance as he finished fourth in a personal best of 8:43.73 whilst Mia O’Connell claimed the silver medal in the ladies race with a lonely and isolated 10:27.14 as Worcester’s Jenny Nesbitt claimed the gold medal.

Cheltenham Harriers dominate the Bugatti 10k at Prescott as they provided both the men’s and women’s individual and team winners. Dave Roper quickly established a lead at the head of the field and ran all the way unchallenged for a winning time of 33:52 as he finished 52 seconds clear of teammate Alex Lee. Mark James was overtaken by Doug Wight (Almost Athletes) in the second half of the race but still finished third to take the veteran prize and complete the three man winning team. The points earned from the race also sealed the county road race series title for James who can no longer be caught by Gloucester’s Jeremy Mower. Dave Rantell also picked up vital series points as he finished as third veteran in 38:07 foe eighth place. Shona Crombie-Hicks led the ladies race the whole of the way to record 39:38 for the challenging course as she overtook Steve Hall (39:46) in the closing stages of the race. Fee Maycock finished as second lady in 40:39 before Paul Barnes (41:46) finished as first V50 runner home. Jo Wilkie (42:59) then completed the winning ladies team as fifth lady home before Dave Hemmings (44:56), Debbie Smith (47:41) and Michael Imeson (53:58) completed the Harriers contingent.

The previous evening also saw the club also field men’s and ladies teams at the Rose Inn 4 mile road race as eight Harriers made the trip to the Welsh village of Redwick for the Chepstow Harriers organised event that regularly attracts a quality field to its fast and flat course. Swansea’s Jonathan Hopkins ensured there was a fast early pace that only Phil Wylie tried to go with, as Phil Beastall lay just a few yards behind in third. Beastall overtook hi teammate as he passed the mile mark in 4:45 before reaching the halfway mark in 9:37. Whilst closing slightly on Hopkins on the second of the two laps Beastall has to be content with a fine second place in 19:28 as he finished thirteen seconds adrift of the Welshman. Wylie meanwhile remained unchallenged to take a comfortable third place in 19:45. With Charlie Jones sixth in 20:29 and Dave Aubrey placing eighth in 20:23 the quartet easily ensured there was a Cheltenham team win at the event for the third consecutive month. James Wilkinson also ran well for a time of 23:19 before Alice Taylor finished as fourth lady home in 23:28 in a high class field that saw GB internationals Charlotte Arter and Jenny Nesbitt take the top two places. Naomi Eaton built on her good recent form to finish as fifth lady in 24:21 before Charlotte Deacon ensured the team took third place with a 30:59 clocking.The weekend saw Shona Crombie-Hicks take her second win of the week as she finished third overall in the Cranham Boundary Chase multi-terrain race whilst Paul Barnes finish as second V55 runner in the Standish Woodland Chase 10 race. There were also parkrun wins for Phil Beastall (16:33) at Tewkesbury and for Dave Aubrey (18:05) at Cheltenham where Henry James (19:12) placed fifth and Ben Haywood (19:57) lowered his PB.

Distance Running News, 2-6 August

Cheltenham Harriers distance runners again played their part as the club’s alongside the club’s throwers, sprinters and jumpers to help the team to claim the Midland League Division Two title with a victory in the final fixture of the season in Stoke. The previous three matches had seen the Harriers gain maximum points in the men’s 5000m and 3000m races with A and B string victories on each occasion. The task of continuing the 100% record was given to Oli Mott and Richard de-Camps who were both doubling up having competed earlier in the afternoon. The windy conditions meant that nobody wanted to push the pace and a relatively slow start followed with de-Camps, Mott and Harriers teammate John Parker all in the leading pack for the first two kilometres. The pace then picked up in the final 1000m as Paul Andrew (Leamington) took Mott and de-Camps clear with the race only decided in the final 200m as de-Camps sprinted clear for the win in 9:10.5. Mott took second for the B string win in 9:13.5 with Andrew crossing the line 1.8 seconds later and Parker taking fourth place in 9:24.4. Earlier in the afternoon de-Camps had placed third in the 800m A race in 2:01.3 before Jacob Pickering impressively won the B race in 2:00.4. Mott had made a last minute decision to run the 3000m steeplechase to help the team gather vital points. Despite struggling with the water jump his superior running ability saw Mott take a comfortable win in 10:42.9 as Matt Evans claimed third in the B string in 12:10.5. In the 1500m Pickering (4:26.3) and Luke Kearns (4:26.4) placed as fifth and third in their respective A and B string standings whilst guest runner Iain Devlin recorded 4:31.0. For the ladies team Rachel Longtaff finished as runner up in the 1500m with 4:51.7 behind Stoke’s England international Kate Holt. In the same race Hilary Mott was second B runner in 5:09.0 despite having already cruised round the 800m B race fourth in 2:47.0 as a warm up for the 3000m where she was third overall and second A runner in 11:05.4. The 3000m also saw Fee Maycock set a season’s best and club LV45 record of 11:10.4 as she finished fourth overall as second B runner. In the 800m A race Katerina Horrocks ran well for third place in a time of 2:35.7.

Elsewhere there was a win for John Parker at the Hooky 6 miles road race in Hook Norton where he clocked 32:19 in a close race that saw Paul Fernadez (Abingdon) and James Bolton (Woodstock)finish in 32:27 and 32:19 respectively. The Gloucester City Marathon saw Andy Gore finish third overall and first Gloucestershire athlete in 2:51:18 whilst Andy Gardiner acted as three hour pacemaker to clock a spot on 2:59:52 for fourteenth position. In the accompanying half marathon event Marcus England also took third place with a time of 74:32. Meanwhile Liam Roarty finished eighth in the Dublin Open Graded meeting 3000m A race in a time of 9:07.52. Weekend parkruns saw the Harriers fill the top three place at the Cheltenham event where Dan Owen (16:22), Will New (16:47) and Alex Lee (16:53) led the way home before James Wilkinson (18:34), Steve Hall (18:55), Henry James (19:32) and Gareth Edwards (19:40) crossed the line. Liam Roarty (17:28) won the River Valley event in Dublin, Dave Aubrey (17:50) finished second at the Wormwood Scrubs parkrun and Amber Watson (22:03) was the first lady home in Newent.

European Masters Champs, 29 July - 6 August

Jane Horder enjoyed a successful European Masters Championship in Denmark as she returned from Aarhus with two world records, three gold and two silver medals in the over 60’s events. After winning 300m hurdles gold in 50.40 seconds and claiming silver in the 400m in 68.90 seconds, Horder lowered her own 80m hurdles world record to by 0.07 seconds to 12.90 as she won her heat. She then took silver in the final before ending her weak with gold medals in the GB 4×100m and 4×400m teams, the latter setting a new world record

Midland League, 5 August

Cheltenham Harrier finished their Midland League Division 2 season with a victory in the final match of the season in Stoke. This not only sealed promotion but also ensured James Miller’s team won the league title.

There were A string wins from;

  • Sam Griffiths (100m)
  • Linton Gardiner (400m, Shot, Discus)
  • Richard de-Camps (3000m)
  • Oli Mott (3000m steeplechase)
  • Rob Worman (High Jump, Pole Vault)
  • Katy Townsend (Long Jump)
  • Mel Bird (Discus)
  • Alex Griffiths (Hammer)

Distance Running News, 25-29 July

There was a breakthrough personal best performance from Will New, plus race victories for Dan Owen and Alice Taylor as Cheltenham Harriers dominated the 5000m races at the fourth and final Midsummer Open Meeting at the Prince of Wales Stadium. A stellar line up for the A race saw a field of twenty-one sub 16:20 runners toeing the line in what was one of the best fields assembled for a local distance race for quite some time. Whilst windy conditions threatened to spoil the opportunity of fast times, the quality of the field meant that the race did not disappoint. A five man lead group quickly moved clear at the front as GB youth triathlete James Chantler-Mayne took up the early running. Fellow Cheltenham athletes Phil Beastall and Dan Owen, plus Stuart Hawkes (Tipton) and Jack Turner (Stroud) remained in in close contact. After passing the opening kilometre in 3:04 the three Harriers all took turns on the front as they reached 2km in 6:08 as Turner started to struggle to maintain contact. The pattern of the race continued, with the shared effort on the front taking the leading quartet through the 3000m mark in 9:12. It was then Beastall and Owen doing most of the work as the pace picked up in the penultimate kilometre, as a three minute split saw Chantler-Mayne and Hawkes falling adrift. With just two and a half laps remaining Beastall upped the pace again, with Owen hanging on to his move before the smallest of gaps opened with just over 600m remaining. However, the Midland 1500m champion grew in confidence in the home straight and he regained the lead to take the bell in 13:55. Beastall stuck to his rival and then made his own bid for victory by taking the lead with 250m remaining, a position he held until the final 80 metres. At this point Owen sprinted clear to claim the win with a 62 second final lap which stopped the clock at 14:57.9 as Beastall followed in second place in 14:59.4. Hawkes then took third with 15:21.4 before 17 year old Chantler-Mayne put in another impressive performance to finish just two seconds outside his personal best with 15:26.7 for fourth place.

Not feeling as that he either wanted or needed a race, Oli Mott had offered to pace a group of at 75 second laps on a 15:37 schedule that Will New, Richard de-Camps and John Parker were all keen to follow. Doing an excellent job, the metronomic Mott took a big second pack through 1600m in 5:00 with New tucked in right behind him. Passing 3200m in 9:59, New remained on Mott’s shoulder with just de-Camps and Parker now in contact. With three laps to go Mott and New had caught Turner whilst de-Camps and Parker were now slightly adrift as the pace picked up slightly. As Mott stepped aside in the final straight New completed a 70 second last lap to take fifth place in 15:30.1 as he lowered his track personal best by 28 seconds and surpassed his fastest road time for the distance by 18 seconds. Not far behind de-Camps ran well for a 15:35.2 PB in seventh place whilst Parker was just 0.11 seconds outside Anthony Bailey’s club veteran record with 15:39.6 for eighth place. Charlie Jones (15:54.0) and Richard Dare (15:56.0) then completed the top ten before Harriers filled twelfth to seventeenth place in a great show of depth through Eliot Taylor (16:14.8), Marcus England with a 16:18.2 PB, Ben Colabella (16:23.0), Marc Fallows (16:32.2), Alex Lee (16:34.1) and Mark James (16:39.0).

Such was the quality of the A race that several runners with recent sub seventeen minute times were seeded in the B race which saw Dave Roper acting as pacemaker, taking the field round in 80 second laps for a 16:40 schedule. Whilst the front group gradually dwindled to leave Worcester’s Dan Geisler to take the win in 16:37.4, there was a fine 16:47.1 PB for Andy Gardiner in third place and Mike Gray posted 16:58.2 for fourth position. Toby Wort then stopped the clock at 17:14.2, Alex Doherty recorded 17:18.2 on his Harriers debut and Andy Gore crossed the line in 17:24.0. Also enjoying his first appearance in the club vest was Joe Willgoss who finished strongly for 17:29.6 whilst James Bingham posted 17:37.7. The fastest ladies at the meeting were also seeded in the B race and again there was a high quality field which saw Cheltenham runners take a one-two with Alice Taylor claiming the ladies win in 17:46.9. Teammate Naomi Eaton then impressed with 18:17.1 to finish fourteen seconds clear of third placed Gemma Hargraves (Almost Athletes). In the same race Gareth Edwards recorded 18:02.4 and Martin Soakell excelled to lower his PB to 18:15.8 after wheelchair athlete Gareth Picken had led the field home in 16:04.2. In the C race Dave Francis enjoy a win and a PB of 18:35.3 in his first race for the club whilst Sarah Sheppard was the sixth fastest lady across the two races with a pleasing 19:23.6. Ben Haywood was the fourth Harriers debutant of the evening and he recorded 20:02.2 before V70 athlete Martin Ford completed the 29 strong Harriers contingent in 20:51.4.

The previous evening saw race wins for both Mark James and Shona Crombie-Hicks at the Blaisdon 10k road race. James moved clear of the lead group shortly after half way to collect a comfortable fifteen second victory over Peter Woodward (Forest of Dean). Alex Lindfield (36:45) and Dave Rantell (37:37) finished third and seventh respectively before Crombie-Hicks finished as first lady in 39:40 with teammate Fee Maycock taking second in 40:55. Paul Barnes (42:46) finished as second V55 runner and Dave Hemmings crossed the line in 46:18. Also on the roads Jo Wilkie finished as third lady at the Shakespeare Summer 10k in Stratford in a time of 43:35. Back on the track Rachel Longstaff equalled her 1500m PB of 4:44.8 at the BMC regional meeting in Oxford. Weekend parkruns saw Will New (17:14) and Alex Lee (17:34) finish first and second in the Cheltenham event where Matt Evans (19:15), Henry James (19:46), Dave Francis (20:10), Ben Haywood (20:37) and Dave Hemmings (21:09) also had a run out. Luke Kearns (16:29) meanwhile claimed a win at the Belfast Victoria event and Toby Wort (17:18) took second at the Kingsway parkrun in Gloucester.

Youth Development League, 23 July

The Harriers under 17/20 team took part in a promotion match at the weekend and finished in 3rd place, thus retaining their position in the Midland Premier South West Division of the Youth Development League The match was won by a very strong Swansea team, with West Wales taking 2nd place. The Harriers men and women produced many fine performances during the day, with the outcome not secured until the final stages of the match.