Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior cross-country teams produced outstanding results to bring their Midland Women’s and Birmingham & District Men’s Cross-Country Leagues to a highly successful conclusion in the mud and water at the Cattle Country Adventure Park in Berkeley on Saturday.
The men went into their Division Three match with a healthy lead over their nearest rivals Newcastle (Staffs) AC, meaning the real business of the race was hoping that Harry Wells could produce another strong run and keep in touch with Solihull’s Chris McLeod to determine which of the two would win the individual overall League win for the season.
McLeod made his customary strong start and by the half-way mark of the six and a half kilometers course, held a 30 second lead over the Gloucester youngster, with Wells’ team mates, James Denne, Steve Millward and Steve Kenyon all making light of the conditions.
McLeod came home the winner with Wells running a tactically sound race to come home in second place to ensure the pair shared the overall title. Denne produced his best run of the season to come home in third place with Millward and Kenyon coming home in fourth and fifth respectively. Owen Parry placed 15th with James Walters coming home in 20th place to complete the ‘A’ team and give the City squad an unassailable lead at the top of the table, with a season’s best match total of 49 points.
Much of the Club’s success during the season has been built around the reserve strength and again the support runners were out in force. Jeremy Mower ran strongly to place 23rd and lead the ‘B’ team home, ahead of Glen Balmer in a season’s best 28th place. In his first League race for five years, Max Sheppard produced a strong run to place 36th, with Steve Haines in 38th. Jason Tilley also achieved a season’s best placing, finishing in 46th with Peter Haynes completing the ‘B’ team in 63rd place to secure a team competition win for the reserve squad with 234 points.
Steve Robbins was the next City runner home, placing 68th, while Dave Gresswell came home in 104th place of the 211 finishers to complete a dominant display by the team.
Afterwards, team captain Steve Millward said: “The success of the season has been down to a great spirit in the camp, the support of all of the runners and coaches and some tremendously hard work. The results are nothing less than the athletes deserve. We hope we can keep up the momentum and take this into the road relay season and beyond.”
1st Chris McLeod (Newcastle Staffs AC); 2nd Harry Wells (Gloucester AC); 3rd James Denne (Gloucester AC); 4th Steve Millward (Gloucester AC); 5th Steve Kenyon (Gloucester AC).
A teams - 1st Gloucester AC 49pts; 2nd Newcastle (Staffs) AC 93; 3rd Solihull &Smallheath 148.
B teams – 1st Gloucester 234; 2nd Massey Ferguson RC 427; 3rd Newcastle (Staffs) AC 473.
A teams – 1st Gloucester AC 268; 2nd Newcastle (Staffs) AC 387; 3rd Massey Ferguson RC 666.
B teams – 1st Gloucester AC 1400 pts; Newcastle (Staffs) AC 1841; 3rd place Massey Ferguson 1929.
If the men’s overall team result could have been expected, given their dominance throughout the season, the performances of the City’s women’s team in the Midland Women’s League have been nothing short of remarkable.
Making a return to the League after an absence of 10 years, the team went into Saturday’s match lying in fourth place overall with a sizeable gap to close if they were to secure promotion to Division One.
Gemma Collier made her customary strong start to the four-and-a-half mile race, giving her team mates a target to chase. As the race settled down, the scoring quartet of Collier, Hayley Winters, Anna Midgley and Briony Bishop forced their way through to the top 20 of the 200-strong field. Such was their determination, they all pushed through to achieve season’s best places with Hayley leading the team home in 7th place, closely followed by Anna in 8th and Briony in 10th place overall and second junior, with Gemma completing the team in 18th place, giving them victory in the team race with 41 points and sealing the final promotion place.
As in the men’s race, the reserves provided solid back-up with Tina Wickens also securing a season’s best 35th placing, Grace Vido 53rd, Liz Usedon 98th and Trudy Wells 106th to spark off the celebrations.
Team manager Paul de-Camps was jubilant at the finish, saying: “Every one of the team has worked hard throughout the season for this result, and their well-deserved promotion fully vindicates our decision to return to the League. This will really start the ball rolling back at the Club with other runners waiting to come into the squad.”
Gloucester sprinter Ellie Wheeler-Smith recorded a new personal best time of 7.88 seconds winning the silver medal in the U17 Women’s 60 metres at Sunday’s Midlands Indoors Championships at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium.
A quartet of Gloucester Athletic Club members braved the snow and icy conditions to compete in last Sunday’s May Hill Massacre and Mayhem races.
In the shorter nine-miles Massacre trail race, Nick Bishop placed 17th in a personal best time of 1:22:01, Stephen Shields placed 54th in 1:33:20 and Liz Usedon placing 98th in 1:50:10.
Club mate Clive Poole competed in the inaugural May Hill Mayhem 15-miiles trail race which included four ascents of the hill in challenging conditions and placed 29th in 2:37:01.
Poole, Bishop and Shields were using the events as a warm-up run ahead of next month’s Green Man ultra-trail event which takes place over a 45-mile course around Bristol.
Gloucester senior women and men will be in racing action at the Cattle Country Adventure Park in Berkeley this Saturday in their final Midland Women’s and Birmingham & District Cross-country League races of the season.
The men are virtually assured of the Division Three title in their League while the women will be trying to close a gap to earn promotion to Division One in their first appearance in the Women’s League for over a decade.
The racing starts at 1:30pm.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Steve Kenyon secured his second local road race win in eight days when he came home a clear winner of Sunday’s Staverton 10-mile road race in a personal best time of 56:14.
The biting cold wind made the going hard for the 180-strong field and put paid to fast times, but the conditions did not seem to deter Kenyon as he tore around the lanes of Churchdown and Staverton to cross the line 40 seconds clear of his closest challenger to further enhance his growing reputation on the County road race circuit.
Club mate James Walters provided solid support, placing 11th in 60:69, while Jeremy Mower clocked 73:50 in 19th overall and second M50 to secure second place for the team.
Peter Haynes was the next runner home for the City team, placing 24th in a personal best 64:53. Steve Haines finished two places behind in 65:22, while Dave Gresswell placed 34th in 66:45.
Anna Midgley placed 74th in 75:32 while Helen Haines placed 140th in 94:09 to complete the Club’s contingent.
Entries are flooding in for this year’s Gloucester 20-mile Road Race which takes place on Sunday 17th March around the lanes of Haresfield and the Waterwells area of Quedgeley.
The event, which is the only race staged by the Gloucester club, has a long history dating back to the 1970s when it used to be a straight race from the Oxbode in the City Centre out to Cheltenham and then back again for a total of 18 miles.
Since then, road alterations and an increase in traffic have caused the race to move to its present location and in recent years it has become one of the most popular events in the county, attracting hundreds of runners who are preparing for spring marathons.
Club spokesman Richard Blackwell says “This is the only race that the Club organises and it’s one of which we are justly proud, given its history and reputation. A huge amount of work goes into staging the event and all of our groups turn out to help on the day as every penny raised goes back into Gloucester AC and the sport.”
Entry for the event is via the Club’s website, www.gloucesterac.co.uk.
Gloucester Athletic Club members continued their good form in a range of events over the weekend.
Steve Kenyon started 2019 where he finished 2018, with another commanding local road race victory as he broke the tape at Sunday’s Linda Franks 5-mile Road Race around the Reddings area of Cheltenham some 45 seconds clear of his nearest rival in an impressive 27:04, his best time for the distance. Still a relative novice, Kenyon has built up quite a reputation on the local scene.
Although cold, the conditions were good for running and the rest of a sizeable Gloucester entry recorded some encouraging performances.
Max Sheppard was the next City runner home, crossing the line in 7th place in 28:15, a personal best by 90 seconds, while Jeremy Mower just crept into the top 10, placing 10th overall and first M50 in 29:13, his fastest for two years.
Steve Haines was another runner to record a personal best, clocking 29:49 in 18th place, as was Jason Tilley whose 30:15 clocking in 22nd place was an improvement of 18 seconds on his previous best.
Just behind was Tracy Hinxman, who knocked over 40 seconds off her personal best time with 30:20 to place 34th overall and 2nd lady, just ahead of Graham Davis who produced probably his best-ever run when taking over two minutes off his previous best with a 30:28 clocking in 25th place.
Ladies cross-country captain Anna Midgley was the next Club runner home, crossing the line in 44th place in a new personal best 32:09, while newcomer Mark Perkins placed 105th in 37:48 in his first 5-miler. Dave Spackman celebrated his birthday by placing 142nd overall and second M70 in 41:00, while Helen Haines completed the City Club’s contingent placing 170th in 43:24.
Meanwhile, a top-quality line-up assembled at the Speedway 10K road race in Chepstow where the first three finishers all broke the magic 30-minutes barrier.
Steve Millward was hoping for a fast time, having produced his best run of the winter at the previous week’s Birmingham Cross-Country League fixture, and went out hard from the gun. Passing through the first 5k in a shade over 16:30, he quickened up over the second half of the race to come home in 25th place in 32:41, his fastest for nine years.
Mike Mansfield placed 84th in 36:51, Steve Robbins ran his second fastest-ever time of 39:26 in 114th place while Hayley Winters was just outside the 40-minutes mark with a 40:03 performance in 124th place.
Competing in the Gloucester 50K around Haresfield and Hardwicke on Sunday, Clive Poole placed 17th overall and third in the M50 category in 4:45:07.
Several members of the Club’s track & field team travelled down to the Cardiff Met University track to compete in the latest Welsh Athletics indoor meeting on Sunday.
Joel Townley will have been very satisfied with his afternoon’s work, jumping his best-ever indoors long jump of 6.60 metres before setting a new personal best time of 7.40 seconds for the 60 metres. Training partners Kate Davies and Ollie Keitley were also pleased with their work-outs. Davies jumped 4.88 metres in the ladies’ long jump before clearing 1.56 metres in the high jump, while Keitley produced the second furthest triple jump of his career, 12.92 metres.
Their coach, Jo Willoughby, showed that her sprinting speed is coming along nicely ahead of March’s World Indoors Masters Championships in Poland as she clocked 8.82 seconds and 29.64 seconds for the 60 metres and 200 metres respectively, while husband Ian was clocked at 9.11 seconds for the 60 metres.
Gloucester Athletic Club will be holding their 2019 Annual General Meeting at the Fountain Inn, Westgate street, Gloucester on Monday 11th February, starting at 7:30pm. All members are encouraged to attend.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior cross-country teams enjoyed a field day in the penultimate round of their respective Midland Women’s Cross-Country League and Birmingham & District Cross-Country League races at Churchfields Farm in Droitwich on Saturday.
The men stormed to their third consecutive team win to virtually secure the Division Three title, while the ladies team produced their strongest team performance of the season to claim second place on the day and put themselves in with a fighting chance of winning promotion at the final race of the season next month at the Cattle Country Park in Berkeley.
The men’s team targeted a quick return to the second division following a disappointing campaign last year which saw them relegated to the third tier and, under the leadership of team captain Steve Millward, the endurance group in the Club has responded splendidly.
On Saturday, Solihull’s talented junior Chris McLeod went to the front from the gun and was never headed, coming home with a clear 30 second lead. It was Millward himself who led the City team home as he led the rest of the field, coming home in second place nearly 40 seconds ahead of team mate and third-placed James Denne who was running his first League race for the Club.
Harry Wells had won both the preceding races this season but did not find the twists and turns and blustery conditions of the Droitwich course to his liking, coming home in fourth place. Steve Kenyon is usually more at home on the roads where he is building up quite a reputation as one of the leading road runners on the local scene. Answering Millward’s call to race, he came home in ninth place as the City squad dominated the top 10 placings.
Owen Parry was the next home, crossing the line in 20th place, two places of the team’s sixth scorer, James Walters, to give the ‘A’ team a solid score of 60 points, 22 points ahead of second-placed Newcastle (Staffs) AC.
The reserves have given excellent support to the ‘A’ team this season and on Saturday Jeremy Mower led the ‘B’ home when he placed 33rd, ahead of Glen Balmer in 37th place. Steve Haines came home in 46th place, Jason Tilley 60th with Peter Haynes placing 67th to secure a win for the ‘B’ team with a season’s best score of 330 points, 22 ahead of Newcastle (Staffs).
On a day when the Club could have fielded three teams, the other placers were:
Dave Gresswell 87th, Mike Mansfield 101st, Clive Poole 164th, Arthur Daley 173rd, Amar Patel 197th, Luke Herbert 204th, Aaron Bennett 217th and Chris O’Carroll 269th.
The ladies have made an excellent return to the Midland Women’s League after a 10-year absence, finding themselves in a strong position after three races.
Like Steve Millward has for the men, team manager Paul de-Camps has developed a cohesive and combative unit that is relishing the fresh challenge.
Team captain Anna Midgley carried her form from the previous week’s County championships into the Droitwich race and produced a season’s best 12th place to lead the team home. Hayley Winters was just behind, placing 15th, with Briony Bishop coming home in 18th place.
The team welcomed back Gemma Collier for her first race of the season and she had a terrific battle with Charlotte McGlone throughout as they fought for the 4th scoring place in the team. Gemma prevailed to come home in 26th place with Charlotte crossing the line in 28th place. Gemma’s position earned the team their best-ever league placing of second.
Tina Wickens was the next runner home, finishing in 36th, Emily Coyne placed 50th, Grace Vido came home in 58th, Liz Usedon 114th and Trudy Wells 145th.
After the meeting, both Steve Millward and Paul de-Camps were full of praise for their squads, saying “The endurance groups have really got behind the League teams this season and the support they’re giving is reflected in the teams’ positions. The final round is on 9th February and it will be a fantastic achievement for the Club if both teams can win promotion.”
Gloucester Athletic Club runners fared well in the first races of 2019, the Gloucestershire County Cross-Championships at Rendcomb College near Cirencester on Saturday, winning medals across a range of age groups.
In perfect racing conditions and on a course that offered everything from hills, slopes and a small river to cross, this was a day for the cross-country purists and spectators were treated to a day of committed and high-quality racing.
The development of the senior ladies’ team has been one of the Club’s big success stories this winter and they produced another strong performance on Saturday. Bristol & West’s Zoe Wassall was a class apart, finishing 90 seconds ahead of her closest rival. The City squad welcomed back Bethan Moor from Plymouth University where she is studying medicine and she had an excellent run, placing 10th overall and 2nd U20 Lady. Anna Midgely had one of her best races of the winter, coming home in 12th place and 2nd in the W35 category, with another teenager Briony Bishop placing 13th overall and 3rd U20.
Next home was Tina Wickens, who produced a strong run to place 18th overall and 2nd W50, just ahead of Charlotte McGlone in 19th place and Sophie Hope in 23rd place as the ‘B’ team placed 6th overall.
The ‘C’ team was led home by Grace Vido in 29th, with Amy Walker placing 33rd and Liz Usedon 43rd. In her first race of the season, Laura McPeake placed 44th.
To add to the individual medals, the U20s team of Moor, Bishop and McPeake won the U20s team title, the senior team of Moor, Midgley and Bishop took the bronze medal while the Masters team of Midgley, Wickens and Vido won the bronze in their category.
The Club’s senior men also came away with credit. Despite being in only his second season of competitive athletics, Owen Parry appears comfortable at this level as he came home in a very respectable 16th place. Jeremy Mower and James Walters battled ferociously over the final 100 metres, with Mower just prevailing to place 24th overall and 1st M50, just one second ahead of his team mate.
Steve Haines was the next home, placing 32nd, while Mark Keeling was unfortunate to pull a hamstring some 800 metres from the finish as he came home in 34th place overall. It will have been a small consolation to learn he was second in the M50 age group. The men’s ‘A’ team was completed by Dave Gresswell in 62nd place.
John Nash was making his first appearance in these Championships and should be pleased with his 70th place finish, while Clive Poole in 87th and Aaron Bennett in 97th completed the squad.
The U17s age group races saw further medals for the City Club as Bethan Powell won the bronze medal and Toby Scott the silver in their respective races.
The U15 Girls have been enjoying a successful winter and stormed to the team gold as Jessica Hill placed 2nd, Tilly Ashley 5th and Katherine Mills 6th while Emma Tillott was not far behind, placing 8th.
In the U13s races, Jess Stringer placed 15th and Chloe Shephard 17th in the girls’ event, while Ollie Mitchell placed 14th in the boys’ event.
The last medals of the Club’s haul came in the U11 Girls category where Ruth Brook placed 3rd, Lydia Wang 7th and Adelina Ducker 17th as the youngsters took a well-earned silver medal.
Competing in the iconic Nos Galan New Year’s Eve road race in Mountain Ash, Andrew de-Camps placed 117th in 19:45 and Hayley Winters placed 134th overall and 4th W35 in 20:06.
In Sunday’s Open Indoor Meeting at the Cardiff Met University track, Gloucester youngster Sulaiman Ouiles set personal bests and new Club age group indoor records of 10.45 seconds for the 60 metres Hurdles and 2.60 metres for the pole vault as well as a personal best 9.23 seconds for the 60 metres.
In the U17 Women’s 60 metres, Ellie Wheeler-Smith clocked 8.03 seconds.