Storm Arwen had subsided sufficiently for three members of Gloucester Athletic Club to tackle the trails of The Malvern Hills on Sunday morning in the inaugural running of The Red Buzzard 20K Trail Race, a 20kms event that included over 550m of climbs on a scenic course around Malvern.
Jordan Evans took an excellent third place with a time of 1:23:35 while Nick Bishop and Clive Poole came home in joint 33rd place in 1:53:36. Evans said afterwards “I was having a solid race and was fighting out second place for the last few miles, but just didn't have enough in the tank and ended up in third.”
The husband and wife pairing of Peter and Emma Jeffery travelled down to Chepstow on Friday evening to compete in the Severn Bridge 5-mile Night race. Emma placed 223rd overall and first W45 in 35:25 for her first age group win, while Peter placed 32nd overall and second M55 in 36:32.
Hayley Winters travelled down to Gosport to compete in last week’s Gosport Half Marathon, run in cool but bright conditions and came way with an excellent new personal best time of 86:02, a full minute quicker than her previous best set seven years ago.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior men travel up to Northampton this Saturday for round two of this season’s Birmingham Cross-Country League Division One. The City squad found themselves in 14th place of the 16 teams in round one and will be hoping for a strong turn-out in this fixture as they aim to haul themselves out of the relegation zone.
Two of Gloucester Athletic Club’s leading Masters age group members, Jeremy Mower and Dave Gresswell, travelled to Swindon on Friday evening to compete in the Night Of 3Kms track meetings, six races each with electronic timing that were graded into predicted times to ensure keen competition among the runners.
Dave went in race number four and found himself up against a mix of male Masters and U20s ladies, all of whom were hoping to dip under or around the 11-minutes mark. Starting conservatively, which was a wise move given the quick pace set by the leaders, Gresswell steadily moved through the field and found himself in the leading group of three runners with four laps remaining. Two laps from home, he made his move but was caught and overtaken in the final 200 metres and placed second in 11:01.06, just outside his target time but his fastest for seven years.
Jeremy was in the next race, number five, which included two Stroud AC athletes one of whom was ex-Gloucester AC member, Simon Fortnam. Like his Club mate in the previous race, Mower started towards the back of the field before starting to move through after the opening lap. Disaster nearly struck as he took his eye off the runners around him to check the electronic timing display and crashed to the ground. In typical Mower fashion, he picked himself up and set about making up the lost ground, and with one lap to go he was back in touch with the leading pack. He continued pushing on and was rewarded with a new Club M55 age best of 10:24.62.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior men gave a good account of themselves as they returned to the top tier of Midlands cross-country racing after an absence of 11 years in the Birmingham & District Cross-Country League Division One race at Crewe on Saturday(13th).
Under the leadership of Steve Millward and Dave Gresswell, plus un-wavering support from the senior coaches, the Club has been re-building its cross-country team in recent seasons and the pandemic which forced all league competitions to be abandoned in 2020, seems to have strengthened the athletes’ appetite for this high-quality competition, once considered to be among the very best in the world.
Fifteen City athletes were among the 600-plus runners from all the divisions who toed the line in the mild, dry and still conditions, though the three-lap undulating course provided plenty of fast downhill sections and challenging climbs.
Ben Robinson continued his excellent form of 2021, finishing in an excellent 10th place overall, beating many good-standard runners on the way. Behind him, Richard de-Camps and Steve Millward were never far apart throughout as Richard prevailed by the narrowest of margins as he overcame a cramped hamstring during the race to come home in 93rd place with Steve just one second behind in 95th. Andrew de-Camps is adapting to the longer-distance events than the 800 metres in which he specialised and came home in 119th place, with Alasdair Stewart the next to finish in his first-ever Birmingham League race, in 168th, and Owen Parry completing the scoring ‘A’ team in 198th place.
Finlay Hawkins is proving to be one of the young discoveries of the season. He led the senior team home in last month’s Gloucestershire League race and gave further cause for optimism on Saturday as he placed 206th in his first race at this level to lead the ‘B’ team home. Jason Tilley produced a solid run to place 225th while another dependable, James Walters, was next home in 245th. Luke Hine was another runner to be making his first Birmingham League appearance and came home in 326th place. Dave Gresswell placed 325th and Lee Smith 365th to complete the ‘B’ team.
Although unable to complete a ‘C’ team, the Club had more runners offering support. Clive Poole came home in 473rd place overall, ahead of another first-timer Neil Hobbs in 524th, and Chris O’Carroll who first raced in this League in the 1970s, coming home in 650th place.
With the official divisional and team placings still to be confirmed, Club official Dave Gresswell was realistic, saying “There were some extremely strong teams racing today and we must expect to have finished in the lower half of the table but there were some very encouraging performances by our runners, especially by those who were making their League debuts. To complete two teams and have runners in reserve is a great testament to those who committed themselves for this top-quality competition.”
Further afield, Graham Davis travelled to the Canary Islands to compete in Sunday’s Tenerife marathon or, to give the race its proper title, Internacional Maraton Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The very warm conditions and unbroken sunshine were not to his liking, and he found the dreaded “wall” even worse than usual but, nevertheless, he recovered over the closing stages to place 141st in 4:05:43. He said afterwards “The conditions were very tough but this marathon has been on my bucket list for a long time. I’m pleased to have finished.”
Gloucester Athletic Club runners were dominant in Sunday’s Tewkesbury Guy Fawkes 5 Mile Road Race as the 13-strong contingent took full advantage of the perfect racing conditions to produce a host of new age group bests and win the overall team prize to boot.
James Denne continued his long comeback from injury with an encouraging third place, clocking 26:18 on the flat course that took in country lanes around the town. Just behind him, in fifth place, was Jordan Evans whose 28:16 was his best time for the distance. Next home was Jeremy Mower whose 29:29 in 10th place and first in the M55 age group was a new Club age group best, eclipsing his own best by nine seconds.
Gemma Collier has been in fine form throughout 2021 and looks set to take this into the winter as she recorded another personal best and Club W35 age group best when placing 12th overall and first lady in 29:48, taking nine seconds off the previous best set by Janet Kelly way back in 1990. Just behind Gemma was Jason Tilley whose 29:59 earned him 13th place overall and second in the M50 category, his first prize since joining that age group last week.
Dave Gresswell placed 17th overall and second M55 in 30:17. Mike Mansfield placed 22nd overall and third in the M45 category. Lee Smith placed 27th in 31:08, Simon Meadows 31st in 31:17, Peter Jeffery 57th in 34:03, Emma Jeffery 82nd in 35:53 and Dave Spackman 326th in 55:15.
Meanwhile, Arthur Daley had travelled to Barrowford in Lancashire for Sunday’s British Masters Athletic Federation 5k Road Championship aiming to win a medal in the M70 category. On a four and a half lap course on which the runners were battered by gale-force gusts, he achieved his aim silver medal, but only just.
Settling in to track who he thought was the second-placed M70 runner, it was after 2km that he realised that he was fourth so gradually moved forward to gain second place. He maintained that, pulling away to establish a 40m gap until John Hill from Halesowen passed him with 100m to go. Daley accelerated over the last 50m to finish second in his age category in 21.57.
Clive Poole and Nick Bishop competed in Sunday’s Broadway Trail Marathon. As Bishop was on a comeback following a two-year battle to overcome a knee injury, the two decided to run as a team and came home in joint 44th place in 4:59:44, which were massive course-best times of 24 minutes for Poole and 35 minutes for Bishop.
Ben Robinson was the Club’s sole representative at the Saucony English Cross-Country Relay Championships at Berry Hill Park in Mansfield on Saturday and placed 36th on the opening leg in 16:07.
Club stalwart Chris O’Carroll had an eventful time when running in the Belfast Marathon in October. Now running in the M75 age group, O’Carroll started to suffer with a foot injury just after the half-way mark and realised he was going to struggle to finish the event as the roads had been re-opened to traffic, the rain was torrential and there were very few race marshalls or even mile markers to be seen on the route. After hobbling along for several miles a solitary marshall told him that he had just three miles to go, and O’Carroll duly completed the course. Afterwards, he said “The race organisation could have been better, the weather was awful and I crossed the line thinking “Never again!” However, I felt much better when I was told that I had won the M75 cash prize and that my time of 5:56:38 was a new Club age group best.”
Youngsters Jessica Hill, Ruth Brook and Finlay Hawkins produced the stand-out performances for Gloucester Athletic Club at the opening round of the 2021-22 Gloucestershire Cross-Country League season at Cirencester Park on Saturday (30th).
Jessica was the Club’s leading middle-distance performer on the track during the summer and looks to be taking her excellent form into the winter as she placed sixth overall and second U17 in the women’s race, clocking 29:18 on the demanding 6.5kms course that included steep climbs and a very muddy section following heavy overnight rain. Tilly Ashley battled well to place 23rd while Lucy Jeffery scored for the senior ‘A’ team for the first time, running strongly to place 40th overall and secure sixth place in the team competition.
Briony Bishop led the ‘B’ team home, placing 41st overall. She received solid support from Anna Pollard and Emma Jeffery who placed 44th and 49th respectively as the team placed 12th. Amber Spackman led the ‘C’ team home, in 85th place, followed by Anna Midgley (87th) and Charlotte Hall (115th).
Ruth Brook is another athlete who has shown tremendous improvement in 2021 and she produced the best result of her career on the country when placing second in the U15G race, clocking 21:54 for the 3.1kms course. Alice Stalberg ran strongly for 12th place and the team was completed by Aliya Hankins who came home in 25th place as the team placed third overall.
Finlay Hawkins is another athlete to have shown steady improvement during the year both on the track and the road and, in his first senior cross-country race, he led the Club’s ‘A’ team in the senior men’s race with an excellent 40th place, clocking 42:32 for the 9.5kms course.
Having concentrated on his marathon training in recent months James Walters is now turning his attention to cross-country, and he showed his strength and endurance to come home in 60th place, followed by Owen Parry in 70th. Dave Gresswell just missed out on a top 100 placing, coming home in 102nd place, Peter Jeffery placed 131st and Lloyd Andrews 140th to secure 10th place for the team.
John Miklausic placed 141st and Clive Poole 145th to complete the Club’s senior men’s squad. Arthur Daley placed 2nd in the M70 category.
In the U17M race, Jacob Barry placed 8th and Aron Asher 10th and in the U15 Boys race, Oliver Mitchell placed 12th. Beau Gwilliam placed 25th in the U13 Boys race and Jacob Andrews placed 42nd in the U11 Boys event.
After the fixture, Club cross-country spokesman Dave Gresswell said: “This was the first League competition since March 2020 and it was great to be back at Cirencester Park for the first time in many years. It was good to see some big fields in all the age group races, with plenty of Gloucester AC representation, and we were indebted to the officials as always.”
Gloucester Athletic Club sent two teams to compete in one of the most enjoyable team events in the racing calendar, the Midlands Cross-Country Relays, at Aldersley Sports Village in Wolverhampton on Saturday.
Leading the Gloucester ‘A’ team on the first leg of four 3kms was Andrew de-Camps in a welcome return to cross-country racing six years out through injury. On the notoriously competitive opening leg, de-Camps worked hard on the twisting, undulating course to hang onto a group and brought the team home in 17th place with a time of 20.55 before handing over to Steve Millward, another runner who was returning after a long lay-off. Millward moved through the field well to come home in 12th place with a 20:46 leg, the third-fastest time by a veteran on the day.
It was on the third leg where the action hotted up, as in-form Ben Robinson scythed through the field to haul the team into medal contention with an outstanding 18:31, the second-fastest time recorded on the day, as he came home in fourth place to hand over to Richard de-Camps who is also producing his best performances in recent years. De-Camps ran a typically gutsy and controlled race to maintain fourth place for the team with a 20:07 clocking, the fifth quickest time on the final leg.
Leading off for the ‘B’ team was newcomer Will Singer, who ran a sensible race to finish in 33rd place with a time of 23.58. Alasdair Stewart ran strongly to move the team up to 22nd with a time of 21.45 to hand over to Matt Singer, making his cross-country debut for the Club, with a fine run in 25.53. James Walters showed the strength gained from his recent marathon training to clock 22.32 and bring the team home in 28th place.
Team spokesman Steve Millward said afterwards "We are delighted with 8 this team performance, which is the highest the Club has finished in a regional senior competition in many years. It shows the immense talent and promise that we are developing and bodes well for the forthcoming Birmingham League season, where we will be looking for a positive campaign in Division 1"
There was a strong Gloucester AC representation at Sunday’s Stroud Half Marathon where over 650 runners completed the event in wet and windy conditions.
Steve Kenyon led the contingent home, placing fourth in 1:14:43. Eugenio Diz was making his debut at the distance and came home in 13th in an encouraging 1:19:14. In his first race for two years, Nathan Smith placed 17th in 1:21:12, two seconds ahead of clubmate Peter Haynes in 18th place. Jason Tilley placed 30th in 1:24:03, Dave Gresswell clocked 1:26:16 in 39th place, Anna Midgley 1:38:11 for 134th place, Neil Hobbs knocked over one minute off his previous best when clocking 1:43:20 in 182nd place, Clive Poole and Nick Bishop placed 192nd and 193rd in 1:43:48 and 1:43:52.
Hayley Winters produced her best-ever run over the classic marathon distance when clocking 2:59:36 for 145th place at the ABP Newport Marathon on Sunday, reducing her previous best time by over 90 seconds and dipping under the three-hours mark. Mike Mansfield placed 169th in 3:02:22 and Simon Meadows clocked 3:08:36 in 226th place.
This Saturday (30th) sees the first race of the 2021-22 Gloucestershire Cross-Country League season at Cirencester Park. The competition was suspended last year due to the pandemic, so many runners are eagerly looking forward to the resumption.
Three teams from Gloucester Athletic Club featured in the English National Road Relays Finals at Sutton Park in Birmingham on Saturday, further emphasising the Club’s aims of providing the highest standard team competitions for its members.
Bright sunshine and cool temperatures made for perfect racing conditions as the U15 Girls team started the ball rolling for the City club. Alice Stalberg led the team off on the first of three legs each of 3.88kms and came home in a very credible 44th place of the 70 starters with a 16:03 leg. Ruth Brook then took up the running on the second leg and produced one of her best-ever runs as she clocked 15:10 to haul the team up to 30th place. Aliya Hankins, running way beyond her normal track distance, fought hard all the way to bring the team home in 43rd place overall.
The U17 Mens race saw Ben Darlow running lead-off in a very competitive event. He ran strongly to place 50th in 13:33 to hand over to Aron Asher who clocked 14:13 when making up two places. Charlie Coles also ran 14:13 to give the City team a 47th overall placing.
The Senior Men’s race was run over six legs each of 5.85 kms and saw Ben Robinson produce probably the finest performance of the day by a City athlete as he placed 21st of the 80 starters on the opening leg with a 17:35 clocking. Jordan Evans had only been able to run in local ParkRuns in recent months as he returned to the sport, but he took over on the second leg and battled gamely to come home in in 63rd place with 20:47. The ever-reliable Jeremy Mower took up the running on leg three and clocked 21:11, while youngster Finlay Hawkins continued his integration to the senior ranks with a 21:28 clocking on leg four. On leg five, Owen Parry continued his return from injury with 21:25 with another stalwart Dave Gresswell bringing the team home in a commendable 73rd place overall with a 22:25 leg.
Club spokesman Richard Blackwell said afterwards: “The sport is still recovering from the effect of the pandemic and it was a huge statement by the Club to show its members that we want to get back to competing again in these big events and to go from strength to strength over the coming winter months.”
Elsewhere, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Simon Crilley placed 802nd in Sunday’s Therme Manchester Marathon in 3:06:14, his first attempt at the distance.
Charlie Price has been in outstanding form in late-season frame-racing competitions, establishing herself as the country’s top-ranked exponent of the sport in every distance from 100 to 800 metres. At the recent CP Sport National Championships at Coventry, she won the gold medals in the 200 and 400 metres before smashing her previous best in the 800 metres by five seconds to win her third national title of the weekend.
Whilst many of Gloucester Athletic Club runners will have been bemoaning the fact that they have been unable to race for the best part of 12 months, imagine the frustrations felt by middle-distance runner Andrew de-Camps who, because of a series of injuries, has not raced for over three years.
Despite suffering set-back after set-back which at times led him to consider giving up the sport, the former Midlands Senior 800 metres Champion has slowly regained his fitness and confidence over the past year, and he finally dipped his toes back in the water when he raced in the Runthrough 10k event at Newbury Racecourse last week. Not only did de-Camps finish in a commendable sixth place, but he also beat his previous best time set over four years ago, with a 35:43 clocking.
His coach and Dad, Paul de-Camps, said “I was really pleased for Andrew after all he has been through over the past few years. It was good for him to get this first race out of the way so that we can all look forward.”
Also racing at Newbury was Hayley Winters who placed 27th overall and third lady in 40:12, her fastest time for two years.
Club members have been recording some impressive times over the 5k distance in early-season road races. Ben Robinson followed up his fine run in the Chepstow 10k, with a fine second place in the Hereford 5k, clocking 14:47. Second-claim member Richard de-Camps placed 9th in 15:08.
At the Prestwold 5k event near Loughborough, Jason Tilley placed 18th in the ‘C’ race in 17:88. Second-claim member Tracy Hinxman continued her fine form, placing 14th overall and first lady in the same race with 17:51. Richard de-Camps placed 9th in the Elite race, clocking 15:28.
This weekend (16th) sees part one of the 2021 Gloucestershire County Track & Field Championships at the Blackbridge track in Podsmead. This will be the first Championship event that many of the Gloucester club members will have competed in for nearly two years and it will be interesting to see how they fare.
The Gloucester club’s 2021 track & field fixture list has been released and sees the Club competing in three Leagues, the Midland Track & Field League, the Avon League and the National Youth Development League. All leagues are in a regional truncated form this year as the organisers attempt to reduce the amount of travelling as the sport recovers from the lock-down. Club Chairman Richard Blackwell says “It’s great that we can offer our athletes a comprehensive fixture list this year after the uncertainty of the past 12 months. We’re all looking forward to see what the summer brings.”
Gloucester Athletic Club members have been returning to action following the widespread suspension of competitions last year due to the COVID pandemic and even though there is some way to go before the sport returns to normal, the athletes are clearly relishing the opportunity to dust off their shoes and test themselves after such a long lay-off.
The Gloucester club set the season off by hosting a series of intra-Club events for its members at the Blackbridge track in April as a curtain-raiser with all of the competitors commenting that it was good to get back into the swing of things.
The first open competition of the season was the Birchfield Young Athletes Open Meeting held at Nuneaton which saw members of Matt Holloway’s multi-events squad making their season’s debut.
For many years, the pole vault has been a weak event for the Club but there were signs at Nuneaton that this could be changing as three athletes set new personal best heights. Joshua Robinson improved to 2.70 metres, Kyle Neal 2.55m while Emily Herron set a new Club U17W record with a clearance of 2.10 metres.
Declan Murray set a new personal best in the long jump of 5.46 metres and there was a new best mark in the 300 metres for Emma Tillott of 45.16 seconds.
There were pleasing runs for Gloucester club members in last week’s Shepperdine Half and full marathons at Berkeley. Steve Kenyon clocked a new half marathon best time of 72:50 in sixth place while Jeremy Mower placed 38th in the full distance event, clocking 3:00.46.
On Sunday (2nd), three Club members travelled to Chepstow to compete in the Speedway 10k, a race designed to get the fastest runners in the south-west together in five graded waves. Upon arrival at the venue, the athletes were greeted with a glorious sunny day with a slight south westerly wind and a pancake-flat course, all of which were ideal for fast times.
Gemma Collier started off in the fifth wave up against some of her local competitors from the newly-formed Western Tempo and various other clubs. Gemma ran an evenly paced race to work her way through the field to place sixth lady in 36:49, a personal best by over two minutes, ahead of several athletes who she had never beaten in the past.
Meanwhile in the second wave, Ben Robinson and James Denne started off together and ran in a pack of eight athletes for the first 4K before Ben pulled away from James and ran with the remnants of the pack, gradually picking off athletes from the first wave. Ben ran a very fast time to place 23rd overall in 30:43, just 15 seconds off the club 10K road best, which now must be in his sights. James clocked 31:12 in 31st place for a new personal best and Club V35M best.
At the Mallory Park Spring 10K, Jason Tilley clocked 38:14 for 14th place. Second-claim member Tracy Hinxman clocked a personal best 37:00, the best by a Club member in this age-group.
Next up for the Club’s track & field athletes are the Gloucestershire County Championships which take place at Blackbridge on the 16th and 23rd May.
Additional results from Birchfield Open Meeting at Nuneaton:
Snr Men Declan Murray 100m 12.04;
U17M Kyle Neal 100m 13.78; Jav 30.84m;
Joshua Robinson HJ 1.45m;
U17W Emily Herron 100m 14.83; Jav 20.33m;
Emma Tillott LJ 4.30m; 80m Hurdles 14.59;
U15G Ula Mohammed 200m 29.65; HJ 1.30m;
U13B Theo Myles 100m 14.14; HJ 1.35m;
Piers Clutterbuck 100m 15.31; HJ 1.30m;
U13G Bailey Ward 100m 17.51; LJ 2.71m; 800m 3:37.02;
U11G Bethan Holloway 75m 12.69; LJ 2.84m; 600m 2:19.0; Howler 20.24m.