The Gloucestershire AAA 2021 Road Race Series Award Evening on Friday 1st April offered an opportunity for a number of club athletes to celebrate their successful seasons. Jeremy Mower won two awards: A silver medal in the Open Men category with 31 points and a Gold in the M50 with a maximum possible score of 50 points. M40 Simon Crilley also collected a silver in his age group with 20 points while M75 Dave Spackman won the gold for his age group with 46 points.
The Gloucester AC men dominated the team awards gaining the Men's Open team Gold with 51 points, a massive 90 points ahead of second placed Dursley RC.
The Men's masters team also won also gold, 137 points ahead of Almost Athletes masters.
On Sunday Neil Hobbs travelled to Manchester to compete in the Manchester Marathon. Following a consistent winter where Neil has featured regularly in the club cross country team he felt he was in good shape ready for the challenging 26.2 miles. Neal ran a consistent pace through the first 30K before tiring slightly over the final kilometres. Despite this he finished in a time of 3:29:18 and secured 117th position in the M55 category, his fastest time over the distance for 10 years. Afterwards Neil Said: “I enjoyed the race and it bought back some happy memories of my student days in the City.”
Meanwhile Alasdair Stewart took time out of his family holiday to represent Gloucester AC in the Disney 10K at Epcot, Florida as part of their “Springtime Surprise weekend”. Out of a field over 9500 athletes Alasdair finished in 2nd place in a time of 37:30. Afterwards Alasdair said “[The] time was a bit slower than I would have hoped but it was a 5am race and the humidity was still intense even at that time in the morning. [It was] still, a really fun experience all round.”
Ben Reeves kick-started his outdoor season with a 60m outdoor race at the Yate Open meeting on Sunday. Ben set a club age group best time of 7.90 seconds finishing 5th among a field of athletes with youth on their side. Ben's early season form augurs well with the summer season fast approaching.
In the "Over and Back Severn Bridge 5-mile race" on Friday evening the Jeffery family all finished in the top 10th of the field. Peter finished 28th in 34:22 - 2 minutes faster than he managed in the November race over the same course - and 2nd in the M55 category. Emma continued her season of prize-winning finishing 37th position overall with a time of 34:52 and taking first prise in the W45 category, another fastest race over the same course by 35 seconds. Their daughter Lucy was not far behind running a very even paced race for 40th place for first junior in a time of 35:16.
Midlands Men’s 12 Stage and Women’s 6 Stage Road Relays Report
After a gap of three years, the Midlands Men’s 12 Stage and Women’s 6 Stage Road Relays made a welcome return to the racing calendar over the weekend. Sunshine and blue skies welcomed the best athletes from across the midlands to Sutton Park in Birmingham. Not to miss out, Gloucester Athletic Club sent up 31 athletes to compete across four teams to fly the flag for the city. Men’s legs consisted of the first four athletes running 5.38 miles with the last eight legs being 3.16 miles. For the women, legs one and three were 5.38 miles with the remaining legs being 3.16 miles.
The strength and depth of the men’s team has become more evident over the past couple of years and Saturday justified how far they have come. Firstly, the men’s A team had their best performance in over 10 years to finish 10th in 4 hours 16 minutes and 1 second. Led off by Road Race Captain James Denne, he set the team off to a strong start, finishing in 8th place in 27.25. On leg 2, James Chantler-Mayne, making his debut for the club ran a storming leg to move the team up to 3rd place with a time of 27.17. Richard De-Camps ran a solid third leg to finish in 6th place in 29.00. After battling Covid last week, Steve Kenyon ran a brilliant leg to finish in 7th place in 29.43.
Pete Haynes has made huge strides over the winter and fully justified his place in the team by finishing in 10th place in 18.06. Marc Barnett ran a good leg to finish 11th in 18.11 with Andrew De-Camps holding position well to finish 11th in a time of 17.04. Harry Wells continued his comeback from injury with a personal course record in moving the team up into the top 10 with a time of 16.28. On leg 9, Finlay Hawkins continued to show his development and form from the cross country season to maintain 10th place in 18.08. The ever reliable Jeremy Mower did a good job to finish in 10th place in 18.22. Eugenio Diz had one of the best runs of his life and looked like he thoroughly enjoyed the event in maintaining 10th on leg 11 in 17.43. With the pressure of Bristol and West B team behind, James Walters knew he has to work hard to maintain a top 10 placing, but he performed admirably in maintaining position to finish in 18.34.
A strong B team finished 44th in 5 hours 19 minutes and 16 seconds with many of the athletes knocking on the door of the A team. Dave Gresswell took on the mantle of leading the team off and finished 55th in 33.41. Luke Hine has developed really well over the last few months and his progress was clear to see by moving the team up six places to finish 49th in 33.21. Club veteran, Lee Smith maintained position to finish 49th in 35.18. Jason Tilley showed his work on hills has made a difference by picking off two place to finish 47th in 32.54.
Gray Davis, running his first road relays showed his marathon training is helping his form by maintaining 47th place in 20.15. On leg 6, after a very busy morning, Peter Jeffery rushed to get to Birmingham and placed well in picking off two athletes to finish 45th in 21.41. Lee Moore made a welcome return to racing for the club in finishing 46th in 22.27. On leg 8, Neil Hobbs, who loves a relay finished 47th in 22.15. Arthur Daley had the afternoon off officiating and volunteering, enabling him to run a good leg in picking of five people to finish 42nd in 23.31. On leg 10, Matt Singer ran well to maintain 42nd position in 21.40. Over the past month, it has been noticed how Will Singer has progressed and the training is paying off by finishing 40th in 20.25. Super vet, Chris O’Carroll had the glory leg and brought the team home in 44th in 31.48.
The women’s A team had been depleted by injury and unavailability, but the club were still able to put out a complete team and perform well by finishing 17th in a time of 2 hours 40 minutes and 24 seconds. Hayley Winters continued her good form from the Bourton 10K to finish 16th in 33.57. Grace Hinga stepped into the team at the last minute and ran well to finish 24th in 23.15. Tracy Hinxman made her relays debut for the club and showed her class on not her favourite type of course in picking off eight athletes to finish 16th in 33.38. Nicola Waters was another athlete who stepped into the team at the last minute and she stepped up to the mark well and did the club proud by finishing 18th in 25.20. Not to be outdone, Lucy Jeffery picked off one athlete to finish 17th in 22.23 with her mum Emma Jeffery maintaining her good recent form to finish 17th in 21.51.
The women’s B team unfortunately consisted of only one athlete, however Trudy Wells, making her racing return to the club after two years ran admirably in finishing 63rd in 47.19.
Seven Gloucester AC athletes were selected to represent Gloucestershire in the Inter-counties Cross Country Championships on Saturday. First to race over the undulating course was Finlay Hawkins in the U20 8k race. Finley had a strong race to finish 131st among a competitive field in a time of 33:56.
Emma Jeffery, gained her first senior representative honours to cap an impressive cross-country season for the W45 athlete. Emma finished 241st in the senior women’s 8k race in a time of 41:27.
Barney Golledge, in his first season with the club was the youngest athlete representing Gloucester on the day. Barney ran the 3k race for the U13 team and enjoyed coming 146th in 13:17.
Jess Hill U17W ran a well throughout the race and showed how she has overcome her recent injury troubles to move through the field over the closing stages; producing a very fast last 300m to take 82nd place in 23:03.
Ruth Brook despite having lost training due to an ankle problems was second scorer in the U15G 4k running relaxed but strongly for 198th in 18:46
Gloucester AC had two runners in the U20W race with Millie Porter powering through the 2-lap course to place of 28th in 28:20 and Amber Spackman coping well with the firm but clogging mud to finish 110th in 33:19.
James Denne travelled down to Tonbridge, Kent to compete at the British Masters Cross Country Championships. Set in the grounds of Somerhill School, the undulating course offered firmer racing than recent races. James set off fast and in the front group. As the race progressed James found himself in a battle for the silver medal with Ben Cole of Tonbridge throughout the 8k course. Denne’s strength came through in the closing stages as he ran clear of Cole to take second place in the male vet 35 category, taking his first British Masters medal.
On Sunday Oscar Wilson and Theo Miles travelled to Sheffield to compete in the England Athletics U17 & U15 Combined Events Indoor Championships. It was the first time either of them had competed in an indoor pentathlon. Oscar Wilson is in the 2nd year of the U15’s and has started the season well. Theo Myles is in his first year of the U15 age group and has only been competing in combined events for a year. Both had respectable times in the 60m hurdles with Oscar getting 10.22s and Theo 10.37s (a new PB). They then moved straight into the long jump. Oscar produced a first-round jump of 5.16m which he was unable to better in the subsequent rounds. Theo’s second round jump of 4.37m was his best on the day. Next event for the Gloucester duo was the high jump. Theo performed well jumping 1.41m which is only 2cm short on his PB. Oscar’s first height set a new PB of 1.39m and he went on from there to set a huge PB of 1.59m. After a brief break the pair moved on to the shot put. Having moved up an age group this year Theo was throwing the 4kg shot for the first time, a 1kg increase from last year. He was able to post a new PB of 6.56m. Oscar continued his impressive day throwing a new PB of 9.20m. After a break of only 30 minutes the final event of the day was the 800m. Both struggled with pacing their race over the 4 laps however they were able to record competitive times. Theo ran 2m 49s and Oscar 2m 31s. Theo’s overall score was 1471 to rank 13th and Oscar 2118 setting a new club record in the process of ranking 8th on the day. Combined events coach Matt Holloway said afterwards “Both [of the athletes] performed well and should be proud of themselves. There is definitely a lot more to come from them this season!”
Ethan Hood travelled to Manchester to compete in the Manchester Indoor Open Meeting on Sunday. Ethan set a new PB finishing second in the 300m race with a time of 38.62. In his 600m race Ethan demonstrated his tactical awareness to dominate the field and win the race in a time of 1.28.86.
At the British Masters Indoor track and field championships at Lee Valley, Jo Willoughby was the sole club representative in the women’s vet 55 long jump and triple jump. Jo added more medals to her ever impressive medal hall in winning both events with a distance of 10.19 metres in the triple jump and 4.64 metres in the long jump.
In Manchester, three members of the combined events group took part in another Manchester Open. Josh Robinson competed in the pole vault clearing 3.20 metres for a new club record and then stopping as a precaution due to his shoulder hurting. He vaulted very well and would have gone higher. Josh also competed in the 200 metres and ran a new PB of 24.76. Kyle Neal cleared 2.70 metres in the pole vault and is technically getting better, he then ran 27.15 in the 200 metres. Bailey Ward competed in the long jump with 3.15 metres, the 60 metres with a new PB of 10.39 and shot put with a good 6.23 metres which is a PB with a new weight. Oli Mitchell who trains with the middle distance and combined events group competed in his first ever hurdles race starting from blocks for the first time too. He ran a very respectable 10.35. He then competed in the 600 metres running 1.34.55 improving his PB and club record by 2.5 seconds. He finished with the 200 metres running a new PB of 26.36.
Meanwhile, back in Gloucestershire, the final Gloucestershire Cross Country League fixture of the season saw a condensed programme of races, that seemed to be well received by most competitors, and certainly meant a shorter day for the marshals and officials who without these events could not take place. It was also a nice bright, sunny day, with a chilly breeze but once warmed up, not a bad day for racing. Despite a week of rain, the ground was actually fairly dry, and not a lot of mud.
The racing started with the under 11 boys racing over 2km with Gloucester’s Jacob Knowles clocking 9.26, in 28th place. Followed by the under 13 boys over 3.2km with Beau Gwilliam finishing 21st. The under 15 girls and boys combined race was over 4.8km. Anthony Cruise finished a creditable 6th in 19.45, with Alice Stalberg 7th under 15 girl in 22.55.
There was a big field of runners for the combined under 20, senior, and masters ladies, which also included the under 17 men. In fact it was a close race near the front by two Gloucester athletes, in different categories. Charlie Coles just pipped a fast finishing Millie Porter by just 1 second. Millie was awarded a Silver Medal in the race series. Charlie finished 3rd in the under 17 men’s, and Millie finishing 3rd in the under 20 ladies, in a time of 29.03, over the 6.4km course. Only a couple of minutes further back was Emma Jeffery who had a fantastic run to easily win the ladies vet 45 race, and a gold medal in the race series. Keira Barry finished 2nd in the under 17 ladies race in 32.53 and picked up a bronze medal in the race series. Lucy Jeffery was 6th in the under20 ladies, with Amber Spackman picking up 7th in the same category.
Final race of the day was four full laps of the course, a distance of 8.6km. Featuring under 20 men, senior men, and masters men, Gloucester AC had a team of four with covered all bases. First back for the club, in 14th place overall, and second in his age group was under 20 Finlay Hawkins. A strong season for Finlay who won a bronze medal in the race series. Next two back for the club, and on their 4th consecutive weekend of cross country races was James Walters in 25th, and 14th Senior Man, followed in 3rd vet 55, and 46th overall in the race, Dave Gresswell. 11th in the vet 55 category, finishing 65th overall, with a storming sprint finish was Peter Jeffery.
Club Committee Cross Country Representative, Dave Gresswell, said it was generally a great day out, with some good runs, and nice to see some individual race series medals. That said, would be nice to see a few more club members do this league next season, because as a club we do have the potential to win more in the league. In addition, the Glos AAA League, which is led by our own Arthur Daley, worked hard this post Covid season to get the races on. The league certainly provided some testing courses, in Cirencester, short course in Stroud, the classic Cheltenham course, and a sunny but hilly Old Down.
Finally, down in Seaton, Devon, Steve Kenyon and Jason Tilley took part in The Grizzly, a multi-terrain race across the glorious East Devon coastline and countryside. With support from friends, family and fellow club members, both Steve and Jason ran well over a challenging terrain. Steve finished 14th in 2 hours 36 minutes and 14 seconds with Jason 79th in 3 hours 5 minutes and 45 seconds. Jason described the race afterward as 15 miles of very tough cross country, followed by 5 miles of pebbles, knees deep mud, river crossing and cliff climbs. A great event though and very well organised with a fire engine hose down at the end.
After the recent storms and heavy rain, it was a welcome relief on Saturday, and sunshine and blue sky welcomed thousands of athletes to Parliament Hill in London, to take part in the annual English National Cross Country Championships. This prestigious event sees runners from athletic clubs from across the country take part in one of the toughest races of the season.
Not to miss out, Gloucester AC sent up a small, select, group of runners to fly the flag for the city.
First onto the extremely muddy, and hilly course, in the Senior Ladies race was Briony Bishop, who raced well over the 8km course to finish a very respectable 259th out of 1,010 finishers, in 37mins 57secs.
Next up, and also from the Paul de-Camps coached group, was Marc Barnett, who from a slightly smaller field of runners, managed 128th place in a. Time of 39mins 25seconds.
The final race of the day, saw over 2,000 Senior men, line up for 3 laps round the Parliament Hill course, a total of 12km of mud, hills and sweat.
As with all the other races the first 300m is uphill, and the sight of that many men charging up the hill, to try and negotiate the first course pinch point is a sight to behold, and slightly scary if you are part of it!
The Gloucester AC charge was led by Andrew de-Camps who has enjoyed a resurgence this season with some consistent training bearing fruit. Andre finishes in 467th place in a time of 52 mins 16 seconds. In a field of the best runners in the country a top 500 is an impressive achievement.
Next back was James Walters in 878th place in a time of 57 mins 48 seconds. James said he found the course tough, and the thick mud particularly heavy going. But this was Walters third cross country race in as many weeks, and to get round this course in under the hour shows his strength in this discipline.
Missing out on the hour mark, in a time of 1 hr 3 mins and 43 seconds, was Dave Gresswell. Again, this was also three in a row for Gresswell, who also always finds the deep mud hard going. That said there were a few drier sections, which Gresswell said he enjoyed and could make some time and places back. He finished in 1,296th place.
Meanwhile. Neil Hobbs was taking part in his first ‘National’, and although finding it tough, also enjoying it. Hobbs has been a regular member of the club’s cross country team this season, and did not want to miss out on this one. Finishing 1,862nd in a time of 1 hr 14 mins 45 secs.
At the other end of the experience scale is veteran club athlete Chris O’Carroll, taking part in what we believe was around his 53rd English National event!
After a fall halfway, which he blames on the leaders lapping him, and throwing him head first into the mud and bramble bush, he defiantly battled on and was not the last finisher. He finished 2,084th out of 2,087 finishers in a time of 1 hr 47 mins.
Sunday saw the annual Highbridge Jewellers’ Bourton-on-the-Water 10k. The race has a reputation for being a fast course and the addition of its status as a qualification race for the English master’s international selection attracted a strong field. Conditions on the morning were pleasant and clear. The wind over the first half of the course made it difficult to secure the fastest times however the city athletes were not deterred. The race was won by Gloucester AC’s James Denne who, having already secured his selection for the England team could really enjoy his recent form and set out to make the race difficult for his peers right from the gun. James led the whole course to take the win in a time of 31:14, just 2 seconds short of his pb and an impressive 17 seconds clear of his nearest rival. James said afterwards that he really enjoyed the atmosphere and although it was windy and tough going over the first part the support at the end of the course inspired him to drive himself on and take the win.
Next home for Gloucester was Steve Kenyon in 8th place with a time of 33:11, Kenyon ran a smart race adopting a position in the second group on the road through the windy first half before pressing the pace in the latter stages to place 8th and secure his fastest finish over the distance. Steve Millward followed closely on Kenyon’s heels in a time of 33:29, Millward said afterwards that he hadn’t felt at his usual best so was happy to take 15th position and more importantly 2nd in his age group with England selection in mind.
Eugenio Diz was the next club athlete in an impressive 36:32 running his first 10k in club colours having first cycled the 25 miles to Bourton-on-the-water!
Next home was the ever-reliable Jeremy Mower in a new age group club record of 37:07 and 2nd place in the M55 category. Jason Tilley ran a solid race spurred on by the footsteps of his Partner Tracy Hinxman who worked hard to catch him with 2k to go. Tilley’s strength showed in the closing km as he pulled away to finishing 32:43 with Hinxman finishing 1st in the L45 category and finishing 4th woman overall in 37:53. Haley winters had an encouraging run in her first race of the year to finish 9th woman and 4th in the L40 category in a time of 38.48. Simon Meadows managed an impressive 40:00 finish showing the benefit of some consistent training through the winter months. Simon was closely followed by a rejuvenated Matt Powell finishing in 40:12. Evergreen Arthur Daley showed many a younger athlete his heels as he finished in 44:15 to win the M70 category. Chris Davis ran hard to finish in 45:05. Anna Midgeley struggled on the day but battled on to finish in 46:44 and Emma Stalberg in only her 3rd race in club colours managed an impressive 56:33. Gloucester AC success throughout the race was shown as club athletes won the overall and men’s and women’s team prizes as well as two age category wins pointing towards an exciting spring for the city club.
Gloucester AC Senior Men’s Cross Country team travelled to Leamington on Saturday knowing that another strong performance was needed, to secure a division one place in next seasons Birmingham League. After a season long fight with Leamington AC to stay out of the relegation zone, the Gloucester men also knew that despite a 50 point cushion, it was still all to play for, with Leamington having home advantage on a new look Newbold Comyn course.
Despite Storm Eunice the day before, and dreadful weather on the morning of the race, the event still went ahead, the very inclement weather just adding something a little extra, to an already testing course. Deep mud, very slippery steep descent, tough uphill climb, several ditch jumps, all to be navigated 3 times, on a 10km long course. It was a day for long spikes, and a positive attitude!
In his final fixture as Club XC Captain, Steve Millward managed to pull together an A & B team, with the qualities needed to take on the task. This despite some quality athletes, that for various reasons (injury etc) not available for selection. And after managing to secure (just!) the club tent is storm force winds, the team stripped down to racing kit, and made for the start line, just as a chink in the clouds allowed sunbeams to light the opening leg of the course for all the runners. The assembled spiked clad warriors, hoped that maybe mother nature would at least be a little kinder to them for the next 50 mins. They were wrong of course!
So after a few words from the race referee, and fist bumps with fellow competitors on the start line, they were off.
After the opening leg, that led to the start of the first full leg, which is always a fight for initial position, things settled down a little, with Richard de-Camps, as expected leading the charge for the Gloucester A team. Richard had been one of the leading scorers at all of the previous fixtures, and as always, put in a strong gutsy performance to finish 20th overall in a time of 37mins 26secs
Just over a minute behind in 38mins 37secs, was club captain, Steve Millward. Steve who had been suffering with a cold during the week, was determined to put in a strong personal performance, and said afterwards that despite the tough conditions, he loved the course. With a 39th position placing, against some very good athletes, he clearly did love it.
Next back, just outside the top 50, in 55th position, was the ever improving Junior Male, Marc Barnett in a time of 39mins 10secs. In his first full season of XC with Gloucester, and in the Paul de-Camps coached group, Marc has made significant progress over the winter months, and been a key part in the clubs cross country campaign.
Next back, and not to be outdone by his brother, and coach dad, was Andrew de-Camps in 39mins 54secs in 72nd place, and 4th scorer for the A team. As ever, great to see Andrew running so well again in recent times, after several years with injuries.
Speaking of injuries, Harry Wells, who has also been plagued of late with problems, made a very welcome, and timely return to the team on Saturday. Having failed to get out of London village to the city lights of Gloucester on Friday, due to the storm, Harry made a great effort to get a train direct to Leamington, and his mum sweet talked the coach driver to pick him up at the station on our way to the course. Good ‘Team Wells’ work! And although not at his best, Harry still put in a cracking effort to finish 5th scorer for the team in 86th place (40mins 39secs), even though the last lap must have been a struggle as lack of training started to catch up with him.
Final A-team scorer, and nipping into the top 100, in 97th place, was James Walters. Again, James has run all four fixtures and been either leading B team, or knocking on the A team door at every fixture. What’s more, Mr Reliable, seems to be getting ever more reliable, as he seems to be getting stronger and faster every fixture. This could be down to his amazing baking skills, as demonstrated with track night savouries, and post race cake on the coach.
And so to the B-team, with first back in 112th another Junior man, Finlay Hawkins, from the Arthur Daley coached group. Arthur travelled up to Leamington to support, and see is young charge, put in an other great performance, finishing in 41mins 56secs, which was less than 45 seconds behind James Walters, and an A-team scoring position. Like Marc, Finlay is definitely key to the future of Gloucester AC cross country team success. Finlay said afterwards that he also enjoyed the course, and after some adjustments to his pre-race routine felt strong.
Next two back were Jason Tilley and Luke Hine, in 140th & 141st. A cracking run by both, with Tilley just pipping Hine to the line by 9 seconds. Again, both Jason and Luke has been key to the clubs league campaign this season, providing valuable back up to the A-team, and helping push our competitors placings further down the table.
4th B-team scorer was Lee Smith, who was back after missing the previous fixture, but it transpired in sparkling form. Lee enjoyed a race long battle with a Cheltenham Harriers athlete, which certainly helped push him around to a great time of 46mins 44secs and a 168th finish position.
Less than a minute behind Smith, but never quite able to close the gap, mainly because he struggled to stay upright on the terrifying slippery downhill section, was club committee cross country representative, V55, stalwart, Dave Gresswell. Finishing in 174th position, Gresswell enjoyed the tough course, but conditions were not those in which he naturally thrives, so he was slightly disappointed that he could not at least stay with the pace of Smith in front.
Completing the B-team scoring was Neil Hobbs. Neil only started XC racing this season, so it has been a journey of discovery for him, taking him to muddy fields, hills, ditches and wasteland, that he had never before experienced. Always enthusiastic, and wanting to try his best for the club, it is only fitting that Neil with his trademark last 400m sprint, made the B-team scoring in this final fixture, finishing 207th in a time of 53mins 56secs.
And last, but by no means least, the final club finisher, not far behind Hobbs, in 209th position was Martin Brook in a time of 54mins 17secs. Within the last few days, Martin had heard the rallying cry from captain Millward, of all hands to the pump, and made the effort to turn out for the club, and put his heart and sole into racing in the tough conditions. That’s said, I understand, he actually really enjoyed it.
So, after such a hard season, and four tough fixtures, did the club survive in Division One. Hell Yeah! Of course they did! With an increased points margin over the relegation zone.
They also finished 6th overall in the B-team competition.
After several promotions, and then relegation straight back to division 2 in recent years, the delight on Capt. Millwards face, and our club Chairman (and chief tent carrier), Aaron Bennett was clear to see.
Fantastic result, which means that next season, Gloucester AC will be the only Gloucestershire club to be competing in the top tier of this prestigious league.
There will be work now to build on this success, and push towards a mid-table finish in the seasons to come, but for now, we celebrate a fantastic result.
Well done to all those that raced in one or all of the fixtures, the coaches, helpers, and supporters.
Last weekend saw Gloucester Athletic Club athletes spread across the country competing in various competitions on the track, road and cross country.
James Denne and Gemma Collier travelled to South West London to compete in the Valentine’s 10K which also incorporated England Masters qualification). The course contained a lot of undulations especially in the second half. James led the field of 550 away in windy conditions and soon formed a gap with the help of eventual winner Tom Austin from Poole AC. James managed to maintain second place through to the finish and also first vet 35 athlete in 31.18. Gemma ran a strong race to finish first female vet 35 and fourth overall in 37.14.
Two young athletes, Ella Edwards and Oscar Wilson competed at the England Athletics U20/U17/U15 Indoor Championships at the EIS in Sheffield on Saturday. For Ella, it was first National Indoor Championships and she started the day by coming third in the 60m heats with a time of 7.89, which was enough to take her into the semi finals. In the semi finals she handled herself well by coming fourth with a time of 7.84. This puts her overall 12th out of 34 other athletes who competed on the day.
Oscar Wilson who trains in combined events has had some good performances indoors with PB’s in every event so far this season. In Sheffield he ran only his second ever 60m race and finished 6th in his heat with a new personal best of 8.01. Although he didn’t qualify for the semi-finals, Oscar was really pleased with his time and looking forward to returning to Sheffield in March for the Combined Events Indoor Championships. Oscar’s coach, Matt Holloway was quoted saying “It’s going to be a good season for Oscar and I’m excited to see how he continues to progress”.
Amari Cambridge headed to London to compete in the Sutcliffe Indoor 60s. This was her first ever indoor event for the club and she went on to take the under 13 club record (set back in 2000) with a time of 8.59s in her first race and finishing first. She had another race on the day and went into a mixture age group due to the times she ran and it was a huge challenge for her. She took it head on and came through with a time of 8.66 and coming third in the final race of the day.
Meanwhile, Gloucester AC endurance athletes lived up to their name on Sunday racing the second Gloucestershire CC League in diving rain and gusting gale force wind in Pitville Park Cheltenham.
With the young athletes squad growing almost every week many athletes ran their first or second cross country race with U11 girls first timers Phoebe Golleridge coming 11th in 11:19 and Eve Millward 30th in 13:58 for the 2.2k course. New runners are welcome to join.
Barney Golleridge ran a well paced race to move through the U13 Boys field to finish in 7th in 11:14 followed by first timer Logan Griffths with 23rd in 15:09. Ruth Brook, just recovered from Covid ran a good first lap but tired over the last 2k with 9th in 25:20. Lydia Wang finished very strongly in 15th place with 26:36. Anthony Cruise - in his second race- showed good pacing and again moved though the field in the U15 Boys 4.8k race to finish in 20:33 for 10th place.
The next race held a range of Gloucester AC runners with U17, Senior women and older men competing over 6.4k alongside each other. Charlie Coles was the first Gloucester finisher in 15th place with 29:29 for 7th U17M, Millie Porter was 3rd U20W in 30:16 (28th) Millie Newell ran fluently alongside Seren Jones despite the cold temperature to finish 28th in 31:24 for 3rd U17W just ahead of team mate Seren in 31:29. Rowan Sheard (U17M) in his first cross country race ran strongly for 36th place in 37:24.
Kim Millward (W40) returned after a two year absence to lead the senior womens and veterans team home in 32:43 for 42 place. The most improved athlete of the season, Emma Jeffery finished strongly in 32:48 for 44th place and just in front of U17 Keira Barry; the two had been passing each other throughout the race. Lucy Jeffery, U20 W and Amber Spackman completed the U20W winning team in 45th and 46th places in 34:32 and 34:47.
Next to finish was the oldest Gloucester competitor in the meeting and coach for many of the athletes Arthur Daley for 2nd M70 in 81st place with 38:08 nearly being caught by Charlotte Hall in 38:16 for 82nd. Emma Stalberg in her first race and using this as race preparation for the Cardiff Half Marathon finished, pleased with her pace in 97th with 41:40.
With most of the senior and veteran men planning on preparing for next week’s Birmingham Cross Country League promotion battle Gloucester did not finish a team in its local league. James Walters was first back over the 3 lap course in 28th with 40:50. Finlay Hawkins was second home in 43rd (42:14) and cross country rep and prolific racer Dave Gresswell 75th (45:47). Coach Martin Brook finished 112th in 53:20 and Chris Davies racing cross country for the first time finished in 116th (54:19).
Last weekend saw several Gloucester Athletic Club members competitions in London, Sale and Staverton.
On Saturday, Ella Grace Edwards raced in London at Lee Valley as part of the London Indoor Games. She competed in the 60 metres in the u17 age group and opened up her first race of the day with 7.84 and finishing 4th out of 7 which improves her personal best from 7.87. This time also took the under 17 60m club record from Catherine Hardy of 7.85. This also qualified her for a second race 60m race of the day where she stormed to another personal best and beating her newly set record. She finished 5th her race with a time of 7.79.
On Sunday, three members of the combined events group and one member of the middle distance group went to Manchester to compete in the Sale Indoor Meet. Josh Robinson competed in the 60 metres hurdles with a time of 9.19, marginally down on his recent personal best. He then achieved a personal best of 5.70m in the long jump and 7.72 in the 60 metres. Kyle Neal competed in his first indoor hurdles race and achieved a personal best of 10.57, he jumped 4.94m in the long jump and ran a personal best of 1.34 in the 600 metres. Oscar Wilson ran his first indoor 60 metres hurdles and got a personal best and an under 15 club record of 10.17, he then achieved personal bests in both the shot put with 8.27 metres and 600 metres with 1.41. Oli Mitchell ran the 600 metres with a personal best and under 17 club record of 1.37.
Meanwhile over at Staverton, it was another cold but bright morning for this years CLC Striders Staverton 10 mile race. A two loop course starting and finishing at the airport Aviator Pub. An undulating route road race, with a small section each loop on a farm track, which this year due to the cold night, was nicely firm underfoot.
Despite the cold conditions, the pace at the front of the race was hot enough, but Steve Kenyon, still managed to turn in a 3rd place finish in 54.39, only a week after his 2nd place at the Linda Franks 5 mile. Next home, and again still feeling the effects of racing a 10k the previous Sunday was Dave Gresswell. Finishing first vet 50 in 1.03.05, and also in a time that gives him another club vet 55 record.
Simon Meadows ran a solid race, and continues to improve his form in finishing 38th in 1.06.34. Anna Midgley, struggling with hamstring problems, still managed to turn in a personal best in 1.11.21 and 2ndvet 35, on very limited training. That said she knows there is more to come, and just needs to get back to some regular training again.
Clive Poole ran a personal best by over 6 minutes in finishing 68th in 1.12.26. Clive, has certainly been training and racing hard over the last 12 months, and is now putting in some very respectable times from 10k to the marathon. Nick Bishop had a strong run as well in finishing 70th in 1.12.49, although he did admit that road races were not his favourite, and would have preferred it being twice as long and off road. Katie Davenport back in a Gloucester AC vest which was great to see, finished 5th senior lady in 1.15.23.
Last weekend saw Gloucester Athletic Club athletes spread across the country competing in various competitions on the track and on road with lots of personal bests and club records set.
Sunday saw 11 members of the club compete at the Linda Franks 5 Mile Road Race. Set on a fast two-loop circuit on largely quiet residential roads and hosted by Almost Athletes, the race commemorates the memory of a popular (and one of the original) members of the club who passed away suddenly many years ago. The highlight of the event was seeing three new club records set, the women winning the team prize and lots of personal bests. In the ladies competition, Gemma Collier won in a new club vet 35 record and personal best time of 29.12. Tracy Hinxman continued her comeback from injury with a sub 30 minute clocking to finish second in 29.54 and broke the club vet 45 record. Emma Jeffery completed the team with a personal best to finish second vet 45 in 33.56.
In the men’s competition, James Denne was first across the line in a new personal best time of 24.59 and a club vet 35 record. Steve Kenyon tracked James for the first couple of miles which helped him break his personal best, finishing second in 26.30 with Eugenio Diz also beating his personal best to finish 10th in 28.34. Jason Tilley won the vet 50 category finishing 15th in 29.29, Simon Meadows finished 27th in 31.03 and Gray Davis was 41st in 32.37. Peter Jeffery broke his personal best to finish 51st in 33.56 with Chris Davis 71st in 35.11.
Jeremy Mower competed at the Flitchway 12 hour race which he was using to try and achieve a qualification standard for Spartathlon or the Gloucester Elite 24 Hour Track Race. To achieve this standard, runners had to complete 120 kilometres within the 12 hours. Jeremy placed 6th out of the 19 athletes and was 7 minutes within the standard.
Meanwhile two club members, Josh Collenette and Dave Gresswell competed at the Speedway 10K in Chepstow. The event is known for its fast course and at this weekend’s event there was no wind, but it was chilly. Josh last did a 10k two years ago but at this race he improved his time by over 3 minutes to finish in 166th place in 35.43. Josh was a bit isolated during the race, but ran very strongly which looks very promising with more to come. Dave recorded his fastest time since 2015, and a new club vet 55 record to finish in 200th place in 37.23.
Four athletes travelled down to Cardiff to compete at the Cardiff Met GP 2 New Year Non-Thomas Open. In the 60 metres for women, Ella Julin equalled her personal best finishing eighth in the second heat in a time of 8.27. Kirstie and Kelly Constable competed in the third heat with Kirstie finishing second with a time of 8.39 and Kelly fourth in 8.57. In the men’s 60 meters, Ben Reeves ran a new personal best of 7.81and club vet 40 record to finish fifth in his heat. Meanwhile Tina Wickens travelled to Lee Valley in London to compete at the London Indoor Games. Competing over 400 metres, Tina finished third in her heat with a time of 1.10.29.
Gloucester Athletic Club enjoyed a successful day out at the Gloucestershire Cross-Country Championships at the Cotswold Farm Park on Saturday, winning individual and team medals across a wide range of age groups.
The course was already soft and wet underfoot and the heavy rain on the morning of the event made conditions particularly challenging for all competitors, but Ben Robinson made light of these as he raced to a convincing win in the senior men’s race. The reigning Bristol-bound British, European and World Cani-Cross champion was rarely challenged as he stormed to victory by nearly 30 seconds to claim his first senior county cross-country title and lead his team to the bronze medal in the team competition.
Finlay Hawkins has made a big breakthrough this winter and in this, his first senior championship, he ran strongly to place 20th overall and second in the MU20 category. James Walters was next home, just holding off Jeremy Mower by four seconds as the two placed 35th and 36th respectively.
Mower was further rewarded when he also took first place in the M55 age group. Dave Gresswell was another runner to claim two medals as he also took the bronze medal in the M55 age group, placing 54th overall. Clive Poole completed the team, placing 72nd overall. Behind the scoring six, Peter Jeffery placed 74th and Neil Hobbs 76th.
The ladies race also brought success for the city club. Millie Porter led the senior team to the silver medal as she held off team-mate Tilly Ashley as the two placed 22nd and 23rd overall, and 4th and 5th in the LU20 category. Millie Newell placed 25th overall and fourth in the LU17 age group. Seren Jones placed 33rd just ahead of Emma Jeffery who completed the senior team when placing 34th and first LV45. Amber Spackman completed the victorious U20 team, placing 51st overall. Charlotte Hall placed 68th overall.
In the MU17 race, Charles Worsfold placed 5th and Charlie Coles 6th.
Further medals came Gloucester’s way in the U15 Girls race where Ruth Brook took an excellent individual silver medal. Lydia Wang placed 17th and Aliya Hankins 20th overall.
The U13 Boys race saw Barney Golledge storm to victory for his first County title, with Beau Gwilliam and Oliver Hart coming home in 16th and 18th places to complete an encouraging start to the new year for the Club.
Next Saturday sees the Club’s senior men in action in round three of this season’s Birmingham Cross-Country League at Warley Woods. The team currently lies in 14th place of the 16 teams but with the Leamington team just five points ahead of them, captain Steve Millward will be hoping for a strong performance from his team in their effort to haul themselves out of the relegation zone.
Two Gloucester Athletic Club members ended 2021 with representative call-ups.
Gemma Collier has been selected to represent the England Masters W35 team at the Bristol 10km road race later this year. Her selection comes on the back of a series of excellent performances over the distance, culminating in a personal best time of 36:17 at the Telford 10K in December which ranked her 21st in the country for the year.
Race Runner Charlie Price has been invited onto the England Athletics Talent Programme for 2022, specifically for athletes with the potential to achieve national honours over the next six year. It follows her stellar 2021 season when she firmly cemented her reputation as the best exponent of the sport in the UK over 100, 200, 400 and 800 metres, setting new personal best times in each discipline, except for the 400 metres, along the way. Her 800 metres best of 3:08;41 is the best time ever set in Frame-running by either gender in the UK.
Gloucester Athletic Club members were in impressive form in the final track meetings of 2022.
In the Cardiff Christmas Indoor Classic, Ella Julin and Ella-Grace Edwards went in the 60m event and both came away with new personal best times. Julin lowered her previous best by 0.02 when clocking 8.27 seconds in her heat while Edwards opened up her account with a massive personal best when winning her heat in 7.87 seconds, just 0.02 seconds shy of the Club U17 record. She was the youngest in the final, competing against U20 and senior women, and placed a very commendable 6th in 7.92 seconds. Their coach, Justin Smith, said “I’m very pleased with their performances today as it is difficult to train specifically for the event in the cold and wet conditions. They’re working hard in training, and it showed today.”
Ethan Hood came into this meeting on the back of a hugely successful 2021 outdoor season and went in two unfamiliar events for him, the 300m and 600 metres. He will have been pleased with two personal best performances of 38.74 and 1:27.73 respectively. Millie Newell also went in both events and came away with a new personal best 1:48.03 in the 600 metres and a 46.01 clocking in the 300 metres. Tina Wickens clocked 1:55.73 in her 600 metres heat.
In the field events, Beth Gardiner made her indoor debut in the shot putt and recorded a best putt of 9.06m.
In the Manchester Indoor Meeting, Josh Robinson shaved 0.02 seconds off the Club U20 record when winning his 60m Hurdles heat in 9.02 seconds to back up his personal best 7.79 seconds clocking for 60 metres set earlier in the month.
Dave Gresswell, Jeremy Mower and Arthur Daley all ran in the 3,000 metres at the December Swindon Open Meeting. Daley ran his best time of the year, clocking 12:16.74 for 3rd place in his heat and finish the UK U70 rankings for the year in 5th place.
Mower found himself in another highly competitive heat and after a frantic burn-up over the final 200 metres, ended up in 7th place in 10:26.47, his second-fastest time of the year. Gresswell was particularly happy with his 10:52.04 clocking in his heat as not only was it his first time under 11 minutes for the season but it was also his fastest time for seven years.
In the Gloucestershire Short-Course Cross-Country event held at Stratford Park in Stroud, Finlay Hawkins placed 3rd in the senior race. Charlie Coles placed 11th overall and 2nd U17M, while Dave Gresswell placed 16th overall and 2nd M55 just ahead of Millie Porter who finished in 17th place overall and 1st U20W. Emma Jeffery placed 24th overall and 1st LV45, Norman Ward placed 38th and 1st M50 and Amber Spackman 40th and 2nd U20W.
In the younger age groups, Anthony Cruise placed 3rd in the U15 Boys race, Ruth Brook placed 9th overall and 2nd U15 Girl, Beau Gwilliam and Oliver Hart placed 20th and 21st respectively in the U13 Boys race and Harrison Ward placed 18th overall in the U11s race.
Ron Freeman, a long-time stalwart and servant of Gloucester AC and athletics in general, has sadly passed away in Cheltenham General Hospital at the age of 85. Ron had been ill for many months, but the official cause of his death was bronchial pneumonia.
His funeral will take place at Gloucester Crematorium on Thursday 23rd December, at 3:00pm.
Ron joined Gloucester AC way back in the 1960s when the Club used the Fleece Inn at the top of Wotton Pitch as its base, and would willingly and whole-heartedly throw himself into the many administrative tasks that came his way; he was a much-valued committee member of the Club in the 1960s and 70s as the Club became a major force in local and regional athletics.
Ron was present at the early Inter-Club exchanges with our friends in Gloucester’s twin City of Gouda in the Netherlands, though he had his hands full as he tried to control the shenanigans that went on…
He was a highly-regarded athletics official – on the track and in the field, as well as a Starter – and although UK Athletics revoked his licence some 10 years ago (they considered him too old at 75) he continued to serve Welsh Athletics and help out at the Gloucestershire County Championships and Gloucester AC meetings.
Whilst some may have considered Ron to have been occasionally over-zealous in his application of the rules, it was always because he wanted to be fair to all athletes.
In recent years I was made aware of some little-known facts about Ron’s contribution to Gloucester AC and the sport:
Many of you will remember the days when our track was in the Blackbridge field; the throwing circles are still there! There was also a sandpit which was used for the long jump. Ron somehow managed to obtain a substantial length of a rubber conveyor belt and, with some fellow club-mates, he dug out a strip from the field and laid down the first synthetic run-up for the Club!
Back in the 1960s, the 800 metres for women was restricted to seniors as it was considered too strenuous for younger runners. Gloucester AC worked with one or two other local clubs and tabled a proposal that younger ages be allowed to race the distance. Ron presented the proposal to the British Amateur Athletics Board’s AGM in London. In typical BAAB fashion, they didn’t fully support the motion but agreed to Gloucester AC including the event in some of their open meetings for a trial period. The trial was a great success and the BAAB finally agreed to adding the 800 metres to the U17s timetable.
Only last week, I was reminded of the times when Ron would attend County Cross-Country Meetings. He would officiate the races and would then sit in his car and hand-write the results of each race which would then be distributed to the Clubs so that they had the results on the same evening as the races were held. (Try telling that story to the hi-tech specialists nowadays – they won’t believe you!)
RIP, Ron. You were one of a kind and your memory shall live long in the lives of those who had the good fortune to know you.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior men produced a fighting performance in round two of the Birmingham Cross-Country League fixture at Northampton, placing 13th of the 16 teams on the day.
The dry and sunny but breezy weather conditions and the firm ground led to top-quality racing and the City squad acquitted themselves well against the very best teams in the Midlands.
The team welcomed back James Denne following an injury lay-off and he showed his class as he took an excellent 22nd place finish to lead the team home. Richard de-Camps turned in another typically gutsy performance as he came home in 57th place, with team captain Steve Millward coming home next in 68th spot. Jordan Evans was making his Division One debut and put in a strong run as he finished fourth scorer in 105th place, just ahead of Alasdair Stewart whose 112th place was a personal best finish in the League. Marc Barnett is still in the U20 age group and in this, his first Birmingham League race, he came home in a highly encouraging 121st place to complete the scoring ‘A’ team.
As in the first round, the team’s reserve strength was evident. James Walters produced another solid run to place 134th, just ahead of another team regular Jeremy Mower who came home in 136th place. Luke Hine is another athlete in his first season of competitive racing and showed he is settling into the squad nicely as he improved 25 places on his first-round result coming home in 154th. Dave Gresswell was next to finish, coming home in 171st place. Clive Poole and Arthur Daley completed the ‘B’ in 194th and 198th places respectively, the latter a remarkable performance given that Daley is now in the M70 age group.
Luke Herbert came home in 201st and Neil Hobbs 207th to complete the Gloucester contingent.
Team captain Steve Millward was full of praise for the commitment shown by the squad, saying “Although we were missing one or two runners, everyone put in a good shift today, improving on their placings in the opening round. We’re certainly putting up a fight in the League.”
Three Gloucester club members recorded fast times at Sunday’s high-quality Telford 10K road race. James Denne continued his good form when he clocked 31:43, Gemma Collier knocked over 30 seconds off her previous best time when clocking an excellent 36:17 and Jason Tilley recorded his second-fastest time ever when stopping the clock at 37:27.
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.