Gloucester Athletic Club members were busy over the Easter weekend, competing in a range of races far and wide.
James Walters crossed the pond to compete in one of the running world’s great events, Monday’s Boston Marathon. Walters has enjoyed an excellent winter’s racing, establishing himself as one of the Club’s most consistent performers on the road and cross-country and a fine run in last month’s Gloucester 20-mile road race, in which he recorded a personal best 2:04:45 suggested that another good run was on the cards in Boston. and that he might even challenge his marathon personal best of 2:52:56.
He started strongly, covering the first 10km in 38:32 and the half way mark in 1:22:17 to start raising hopes that his personal best of 2:52:56 set in last year’s Manchester event might come under threat. The closing stages saw the Gloucester runner hit the dreaded ‘wall’, the point when fatigue and a loss of energy overtakes the body, and his mile split times slowed dramatically to put paid to any chance of a personal best. However, he recovered over the final mile to cross the line in a very respectable 3:06:13.
Matt Powell completed the annual Algarve Challenge, three races on consecutive days over the Easter weekend on the Portuguese coast. Race one was a 5km cross-country race, held on Good Friday in very warm conditions. The following day saw the runners transfer to the beach for a 6km energy-sapping race on the sand, before Sunday’s finale, a half marathon when the conditions reached the mid-20s. Powell completed the final race in 1:37 which, given the heat and the fact that it was his third tough race in three days, was more than satisfactory and earned him 5th place overall in the M40 category.
Much more closer to home, a quartet of Gloucester club members made the short trip up the Tewkesbury to compete in the Bushley One Mile Road Race on Easter Monday where sunny, but chilly conditions greeted the 50 runners.
Max Sheppard led the group home, clocking 5:33. Kirsty Reid and Suzanne Harding were locked in a private tussle to become the first lady finisher. Suzanne attacked from the start whilst Kirsty bided her time, running a more conservative first half, before striking as they hit the steep incline over the final 200 yards to come home first lady in 6:09. Suzanne finished second lady in 6:19 while Hannah Bennett clocked 8:10.
Finally, Aaron Bennett and Colin Westbury competed in the most unusually-named race of the weekend, the Gilwern Grunt 7.5 mile fell race over the industrial south Wales terrain in Blaenavon. The warm weather and firm underfoot conditions made this a particularly challenging race which saw Aaron place 69th in 1:13:08 and Colin place 155th of the 206 finishers.
Gloucester Athletic Club members face a busy weekend, with several heading to the capital to compete in the Virgin London Marathon.
Sunday also sees the first track & field league fixture of the 2017 season when the Club’s youngsters will travelling down to Newport, Gwent, to compete in the National Youth Development League, lower age group match.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior men battled gamely in the National 12-stage Road Relays at Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield on Saturday as they came up against the very best road runners in the country.
Injuries and non-availabilities meant this was a very different team from that which had performed well in the Midlands qualifier a couple of weeks ago, but they still gave a good account of themselves as they came home in 62nd place.
The race was run in glorious weather which was probably warmer than the runners would have wanted and saw Jeremy Mower run the highly-competitive first long leg of 5.38 miles and came home in 60th place in 31:56 to give the City squad a solid start.
Late replacement Lee Smith ran the second leg, a shorter route of 3.16 miles. Still on the comeback trail, having missed much of the winter through injury, he held his own as he came home in 62nd place with a 19:36 clocking. Jack Evans had a storming run on the third leg, making up three places as he came in in 59th position with a 30:55 clocking, some one and a half minutes quicker than his time at the qualifier. Dave Gresswell took up the running on leg four, having only just returned from a warm-weather training trip in Portugal. He clocked 19:26 to come home in 61st place to hand over to Harry Luckhurst who held the position with a 34:49 clocking on the long fifth leg.
Arthur Daley took over on leg six and produced another reliable performance as he maintained the team’s position with a 21:59 clocking. Simon Meadows ran a very respectable 32:47 on the seventh leg to keep the 61st place, which Simon Barnes and Steve Haines both held on to as they completed the eighth and ninth legs in 22:46 and 34:54 respectively. Clive Poole ran 22:31 on leg 10 to come home in 62nd place while team captain James Walters (32:01) and another late replacement, Aaron Bennett, (23:27) completed the line-up to bring the team home.
The Club’s ladies were unable to field a complete team but Kirsty Reid came home in 55th place with a 42:58 leg. Hannah Bennett ran 28:40 for the second leg as she came home in 51st place and Helen Davies improved to 48th place as she clocked 29:31 on the third leg.
Afterwards, team captain James Walters said: “We had a mish-mash of a team today with injuries and non-availabilities, but it was great to complete a team in the men’s national event for the first time in several years. We’ve now competed in two national championships in the past three months and whilst we aren’t kidding ourselves that we can win these events, it’s a statement of the Club’s intent that we want to aim for the best events on the calendar.”
Gloucester’s leading lady sprinter, Sophie Lambert, is showing tremendous form in early season races. She set two new personal bests and senior ladies Club records in the Stourport Open Meeting last week and continued that rich vein of form with two more excellent runs in the Yate Sprint/Hurdles meeting on Sunday.
She clocked a wind-aided 7.78 seconds for the 60 metres before running a legal 12.56 seconds for the 100 metres, less than two-tenths down on her personal best.
Meanwhile, hammer throwers Tim Williams and Jonathan Jones were also in good early-season form at the Alan Bartram Spring Memorial Throws Meeting at Loughborough. Williams placed fourth in the 7.26kg event with a best throw of 59.47 metres, while Jones set an excellent new personal best of 63.97 metres when winning the 6kg event.
A small group of Gloucester club members braved the heat and the hills to compete in the demanding Chedworth Roman Trail 10 Mile multi-terrain event around the Cotswold village and surrounding woodland.
Despite suffering a badly bruised foot early on, Matt Powell led the group home placing 26th in 1:14:43. Nick Bishop was next home, placing 70th in 1:21:13, while Tina Wickens placed 113th in 1:27:44. Lindsey Lyes placed 120th in 1:28:27 and Stephen Shields came home in 156th in 1:31:34.
A little further afield, Tania Hamilton clocked 4:28:37 for the Brighton Marathon.
A group of Gloucester Athletic Club members competed in last week’s Pendock Chicken Run multi-terrain races.
In the 5km race, Owen Fishpool placed 2nd in 19:57, ahead of Gary Fraser who placed 6th overall and first senior man in 21:45. Laura McPeake placed 11th overall and first senior lady in 23:09, with team mates Natalie Ashley-Towell coming home in 13th place in 23:29 and Amanda McPeake 30th in 27:17.
The 10km race saw Andrew McPeake place 16th in 43:08, Colin Westbury 60th in 49:55 and Adrian Fishpool 65th in 51:06.
Gloucester Athletic Track Management, the charity that runs the Blackbridge track, will be holding their Annual General Meeting at the Royal British Legion Club in Hardwicke on Weds 3rd May, starting at 7pm. All members of the public are welcome to attend.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Sophie Lambert was in sparkling form at the Stourport-on-Severn Open Meeting on Sunday, storming to two new personal bests and Club senior ladies records, to suggest she will enjoy a successful summer season. In warm and sunny conditions, she opened up with a clear win in the 150 metres in 19.1 seconds and then blew the field away in the 80 metres, coming home with another win in 10.2 seconds. She said “I raced at Blackbridge in the winter warmer meeting a few weeks ago and felt good then, so I was hoping for some fast times today. I’m really happy to set a couple of personal bests and Club records!”
Club mate and training partner Ian Willoughby also showed a good turn of speed, clocking 21.1 seconds for the 150 metres and a new Club M60 record of 11.6 seconds in the 80 metres. He finished with a 47.7 seconds clocking in the 300 metres.
Three Gloucester Athletic Club members headed north on Sunday to compete in the Manchester Marathon. M50 Nigel Nash ran a very even-paced which resulted in his passing nearly 400 runners over the second half of the race as he reduced his previous best time for the distance by eight minutes, clocking 3:18:55, which will gain him qualification for next year’s London Marathon under the ‘good for age’ rule. Denise Evans also qualified for next year’s London race under the same ruling as she clocked 3:51:54 while Sharon Nash ran a strong final six miles to come home in 4:10:18.
Four Gloucester Club members headed down to Bristol last week for the latest Aztec West Fast 5K road race, with three of the group winning their age categories. Jeremy Mower continued his excellent run of form to lead the quartet home, but he was pushed all the way by Simon Fortnam who is returning to fitness. Mower went off hard from the gun and built up a sizeable lead over his club mate, before Fortnam started to close the gap over the closing stages with his trademark strong finish. Mower held on to place 46th overall and first M50 in 17:35 while Fortnam placed 49th and first M45 in 17:43, his fastest for four years. Arthur Daley was down on his best time over this course but was still two minutes clear of his nearest challenger in the M65 category as he placed 119th overall and first M65 in 20:36. Nicola Waters placed 154th overall and 4th W55 in 22:53.
At the first Dave McNamee Memorial 10k race at Temple Guiting, Jack Evans placed 6th in 36:50. Christina Horak placed 24th in 43:46 and Stephen Shields placed 35th in 46:07.
Lindsey Lyes continued her preparations for the London Marathon with an encouraging run at the recent Berkeley 20-mile road race. Perfect racing conditions greeted the 350-strong field and the Gloucester runner was delighted with her 110th placing in 2:46:37. Afterwards, she said “I had to pull out of the 2016 London event due to injury, but I’ve trained hard throughout the winter to build up my strength and I felt good during the race.”
Gloucester athletes produced some excellent performances at the final Winter Warmer meeting at Blackbridge.
Jonathan Jones opened up his season with a personal best hammer throw of 51.66 metres to break the 50m barrier and add over two metres to his previous best. Andy McKenzie spent all of the 2016 season trying to break the 30m barrier for the event. Here, he threw 31.02 metres in the first round for a new personal best and club M55 record. He followed that up with another personal best and club record in the discus with a best throw of 21.88 metres. Ellen Thrall threw the 4kg hammer 44.86 metres and Marion Loveridge threw the 3kg implement 39.68 metres, five centimetres further than she threw when winning the bronze medal at the recent British Masters Championships. In the discus event, Chloe Jones threw 31.86 metres in her first competition of the year and youngster Sulaiman Ouiles threw 17.25 metres.
The big breakthrough, however, came in the U15 Boys triple jump where Oliver Keitley recorded 11.20 metres in his first ever competition to rank 7th in the UK for the year. Having only taken up athletics in the autumn, the Club shall be watching his progress and prodigious talent with great interest.
There were two more Club records at the meeting as Malika Ouiles and Piper Holmes cleared 1.50 metres and 1.40 metres respectively to set new marks in the U15 Girls and U17 Women’s pole vault.
Gloucester’s top young cross-country runners brought their season to a close at the English Schools Cross-Country Championships at Norwich.
Bethan Moor has enjoyed a tremendous season, establishing herself as the Club’s top runner over the country. She was hoping to repeat her excellent run at the English club Championships event at Nottingham just a few weeks previously when she placed 50th. In this, her last English Schools race, she found the short, flat course not to her liking and came home in 87th place. Not down-hearted, she said that she enjoyed the race and was pleased to lead the county team home. Bethan’s clubmate Niamh Powell placed 188th in the Inter Girls race to complete her best-ever season.
Gloucester 365 Academy member Arnie Margretts was selected to represent the county at the English Primary Schools Championships at Prestwold Hall,Loughborough.
Despite suffering a last-minute withdrawal due to an injury to one of their athletes, Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior men gave a good account of themselves in last Saturday’s Area 12-stage Road Relay at Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield, and with the ladies producing a series of strong results in their competition, the Club enjoyed another good day at the region’s premier road relay event.
Over 70 runners lined up for the opening leg of 5.18 miles around this famous course in warm and pleasant conditions, with Jeremy Mower given the responsibility of leading the team away. The Welshman has been in impressive form in recent weeks over a range of distances and came home a very commendable 33rd in 31:31, the fastest time by an M50 category runner all day.
Jack Evans took up the running on the second long leg and clocked 32:21 to come home in 37th place, to hand over to team captain for the day, James Walters, who made up two places with a 32:01 clocking. Newcomer Simon Meadows was making his debut in this event and ran a well-judged race to clock 33:01 to come home in 36th place.
Leg five saw the first of the shorter legs of 3.16 miles and another first timer, Harry Luckhurst, ran strongly to make up three places to come home in 33rd place with a 18:29 leg. Simon Fortnam was next up and, in his first appearance in this event for several years due to injury problems, ran a strong 18:30 for the shorter leg to maintain 33rd spot before handing over to another athlete on the comeback trail, Paul Barlow, who ran a solid 19:24 to make up two places and bring the City team to within touching distance of a coveted top 30 spot.
Glen Balmer was the next runner on and, in his first race for 12 months, showed his class as he made up a further two places when clocking an 18:41 for the eighth leg. Steve Millward has enjoyed a good winter, consistently leading the Club home in cross-country events when his work commitments have allowed. Here, he produced the team’s fastest short leg of the day when clocking 16:37 to haul the team up to 27th place. Steve Haines and Dave Gresswell both maintained that placing with respective 19:18 and 19:56 timings on the 10th and 11th legs to hand over to late replacement Clive Poole who interrupted his London Marathon preparations to step forward and run the final leg for the team. His 22:49 clocking brought the top home in 30th place and, with it, a place in next month’s national final at the same venue.
For the reserves, Paul Corderoy ran 41:29 on leg one, Russell Kirby ran 39:45 on leg two, Arthur Daley clocked 37:56 for the fastest M65 time all day on leg three and Simon Barnes clocked 40:08 on the fourth leg.
Afterwards, team captain James Walters was pleased with his team’s performance, saying “Everyone had good races on the course today because it was warm and sunny, there was a stiff breeze around the course that slowed the times. It was good to see several runners come back to run in the relays for the first time in a few years and it was good to give some of our new runners their first chance at the event. As always, it was so important that we had some back-up runners and I’m grateful to them.”
In the ladies 6-stage event, the Gloucester team put in another performance that was typical of their fighting spirit this winter. Team captain Anna Midgley set the ball rolling on leg one, coming home in 25th place in 37:28. Youngster Bethan Moor produced the best time of the day when she made up no fewer than six places with a splendid 20:23 clocking on the short second leg, while Kim Millward also had a fine run to make up a further four places with a 36:30 timing on the third leg. Harriet Langley made her team debut in the event and clocked 23:14 on leg four to come home in 17th place. Grace Vido maintained that position with a 22:34 clocking and Kirsty Reid clocked 23:41 on the final leg as the team came home in a very promising 21st place.
For the reserves, Nicola Waters ran 41:32 on leg one and Helen Davies ran 28:41 on the second leg.
Gloucester Athletic Club's runners performed over almost the whole range of disciplines this weekend with performances almost from the youngest to oldest.
Two cross country events were held on Saturday with several of the younger aged athletes representing Gloucestershire in the Schools' National Cross Country Championships. Bethan Moor ran her last schools race coming 87th over a flat and short course whilst she prefers hillier and longer one.
Further north in Liverpool Arthur Daley competed in the British masters Cross Country Championship running a steady race over a similar but muddier course enabling him to pull though the field but missing his targetted 3rd place by 25 sec to come 6th in the M65 age group.
In the Forest Of Dean Trail half Marathon Matt Boon made a welcome return to racing under Gloucester colours to finish 36th in 1:26:02. Martin Hobson finished in 267th with 1:38:54. Harriet Langely in her first race for the club completed the hilly race in 1:47:40 in 499th closely followed by Amy Walker, another returning runner in her first half marathon after giving birth in 535th position with 1:48:35. Max Shepherd completed the team of finishers in 1:51:57 for 643rd place.
Gloucestershire premier 20 mile race was organised by Gloucester AC with the strongest club performance for several years. The 31st running of this event, used by many to prepare for a spring marathon, saw James Walters finish 6th in 02:04:45 giving him confidence that his preparation for his next marathon is on track. Jeremy Mower in 02:08:52 for 11th place won the M50 prize, closely followed by James Head who set out to run 6;39 pace and achieved that with 02:09:27 (14th.) Matt Flynn raced at faster than his target marathon pace for 18th in 02:12:12 and completed the winning Gloucester AC team.
Simon Meadows in his longest race to date took 2:36:01 (120th) to finish ahead of Clive Poole and Stephen shields for battled for most of the race with Poole finishing in 2:43:56 (163rd) and Shields in his longest ever race 29 secs and 2 places behind. Paul Corderoy ran in 170th with 2:45:26 with Colin Westbury also preparing for a marathon running on the unfamiliar - to him - tarmac in 2:59:11 for 258th.
Not far behind was Chris Davis (3:02:31 for 277th) with a 5 minute PB which was unusual on a day with slow times caused by the wind. Sharon Harris - both preparing for marathons - raced in 3:11:18 (318th) and Sharon Nash 3:17:58 (340). Pam Storey the oldest Gloucester finisher completed the 3 lap course in 4:1:28 for 431st place.
Gloucester Athletic Club members were busy over the weekend, competing in a range of events around the region.
Simon Fortnam led the Club’s contingent home in Sunday’s Minchinhampton 10K event when placing 3rd in 39:22. Nick Bishop was the next City runner home when placing 34th of the 587 runners in 45:11, the fastest time he has recorded on the course, while Anna Midgley was the Club’s first lady home, placing 47th in 46:03.
In her first 10k since joining the Club, Tina Wickens placed 55th in 46:29, ahead of Clive Poole (58th in 46:41), Amy Walker (59th in 46:52) and Paul Loveridge (78th in 48:24).
In the supporting ‘mini-Minch’ race, Chloe Houston, a member of the Gloucester club’s 365 Academy, was 5th girl finisher and second in the U10 category.
Further down the road, James Head set a new personal best time of 1:18:51 when placing 120th in the Bath Half Marathon while Sue Higgins placed 1,600th in 1:41:27.
Like a fine wine, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Welsh international ultra-distance runner, Jeremy Mower, seems to be improving with age. At the Barry 40-mile track race on Sunday the 51 year-old set a new personal best time of 4 hours, 53 minutes and 19 seconds, a new Welsh national age group record by over six minutes.
Mower was locked in a battle with rival Ken Caulkett all day, with both runners exchanging positions throughout. Finding the early pace too fierce, the Gloucester athlete let his younger rival move ahead and relied on his strength to pull him through over the second half of the race as he moved ahead of Caulkett to come home in third place overall, first in the M50 age group and second in the Welsh Championship.
This was the ninth occasion that Mower has competed in the event and in that time has won a record two gold, four silver and three bronze medals over a range of age groups. Afterwards, he said: “I’m really pleased with the run and the personal best was totally unexpected as I had run a personal best over 50kms just a few weeks ago.”
A small number of Gloucester Athletic Club members were representing the County at the CAU Inter-Counties Cross-Championships at Loughborough on Saturday.
Following her fine run in the National Championships at Nottingham where she placed 50th, Bethan Moor was aiming for another top finish against girls two years her senior in the U20 Ladies race. She was delighted with her 47th placing and will go to her final race of the season, this weekend’s English Schools Cross-Country Championships in Norwich in very good spirits.
Niamh Powell is another who will be heading over to East Anglia this Saturday in excellent form. In the U17 Ladies race, she put in another good afternoon’s work to place 77th overall, while team mate Natalie Ashley-Towell placed 250th.
James Walters has been the Club’s most consistent racer this winter and he brought the curtain down on his cross-country season with a hugely satisfying 251st in the senior men’s race, a great way to finish only his second season of cross-country racing. Club mate Steve Haines has been unable to train since the National due to sickness, but he honoured the County’s call to place 282nd.
As mentioned, some of the Club’s most talented youngsters have been selected to represent the County in the English Schools Cross-country Championships in Norwich this Saturday.
Accompanying Bethan Moor and Niamh Powell will be Bethan Powell (Junior Girls), Cressie May and Natalie Ashley-Towell (Inter Girls) and Harry Wells (Senior Boys).
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Jo and Ian Willoughby were in title-winning form at the British Masters Indoors Championships at Lea Valley, north London. Jo retained her W50 Triple Jump crown with a best jump of 9.44 metres before withdrawing from the competition after only the second round after damaging her ankle when landing awkwardly. Husband Ian won the M60 60m Hurdles by just 1/100th of a second in 10.02 seconds.
In the outdoors throws competitions, Marion Loveridge won the bronze medal in the W50 Hammer Throw with a best throw of 38.63 metres. Afterwards, she said: “I’m really pleased with that as training has not been going well recently and I was in to minds whether to compete here or not. I’m glad I did!”
There were some encouraging performances from Gloucester sprinters in the latest Winter Warmer series at the Blackbridge track on Saturday, as they all showed they have wintered well.
The friendly atmosphere and warm and sunny conditions made for some excellent racing as the athletes began their transition to summer racing fitness from their heavy winter programmes.
Ellie Wheeler-Smith set two new personal bests for the 100 metres (12.6 seconds) and 200 metres (27.2 seconds), while Kelly Constable and Sophie Lambert ran their fastest season-opening times for several years as they both recorded 12.6 seconds for the 100 metres and 26.3 and 27.0 seconds respectively for the 200 metres.
Ollie Keitley showed potential over the sprints in his first recorded outdoor races, while Tricia Stanfield, Ellie Luff, Piper Holmes and LJ Phillips all showed the benefit of having a full winter’s training behind them.
Away from the sprints, Briony Bishop was a clear winner of the 1500 metres as she opened her track season with a 5:25.2 clocking while another member of Kerry Newell’s training group, U15 Boy Toby Scott, won his first-ever 5,000 metres track race in 18:17.2 ahead of more senior club mates Dave Gresswell (19:21.0) and Steve Shields (20:47.4).
Endurance runner Charlotte Hall dropped down several distances to race in the 400 metres and came away with a 74.0 seconds personal best.
Emily Heron, Phoebe Jones, Ella Mansfield, Benjamin Darlow, Scott Stanfield and Max Holmes are all members of the Club’s junior 365 Academy and gained valuable racing experience in the low-key meeting.
The meeting organisers used the event to stage races for the Club’s growing wheelchair and disability group. Vicky Broom won the 100 metres in 35.0 seconds, a time that ranks her number one in the country in the T34 category for 2017, with Josh Freeman placing second and Daniel Morgan third. Broom then went on to win the 200m in 75.8 seconds.
Afterwards, meeting co-ordinator Bob Purcell said: “The number of athletes here today and their performances shows how useful these meetings are and fully justifies our decision to stage them. The transition from winter to spring and summer is a vital part of all athletes’ training programmes and these meetings are going to be a regular part of our fixture list.”
Gloucester Athletic Club were among the medals at last Saturday’s Gloucestershire County Road Relays which were held on a new course around Haresfield.
The Club’s M50 ‘A’ team of Dave Gresswell, John Withers and Jeremy Mower was never headed as Gresswell established a clear lead on the opening 5km leg, running 19:14. Withers consolidated the lead with a 19:25 clocking before handing over to Mower who ran the fastest time of the day, an excellent 17:57, to claim the title for the team.
The M50 ‘B’ team rang strongly for second place as Steve Shield (20:56). Paul Corderoy (21:12) and Mark Thrall (20:12) ensured a clear one-two for the City club.
Russell Kirby ran as a guest for the CLC Striders team and clocked 22:57 for his leg.
In the senior ladies race, Tina Wickens, making her first road relay appearance for the Club, ran a tactically sound opening leg and finished strongly to clock 21:00. Anna Midgley ran a strong opening mile before slowing on the closing stages but still clocked 21:00 for her leg, while Kirsty Reid ran 22:12 on the final leg to bring the team home in 3rd place.
The U17 Ladies (photo) were clear winners of their category, confirming their status as the leading squad in the area. Briony Bishop followed up her excellent run in the previous week’s National cross-country championships, with a 22:19 opening leg. Natalie Ashley-Towell clocked 22:49 on the second leg before handing over to Cressida May, who was untroubled as she ran the final leg in 23:26 to bring the team home to an emphatic win.
A small group of Gloucester club members travelled down to Bristol for the latest round of the Aztec Fast 5K series.
Jeremy Mower extended his unbeaten run in the M50 category, producing another consistent run of 17:46 to finish 42nd overall and first M50, while further back Charlotte Hall and Nicola Waters had a ding-dong battle as they overtook each other several times. Charlotte finished the stronger to place 150th in 23:07, with Nicola placing 152nd in 23:15.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Lindsey Lyes was the first lady home in last week’s 9km Devil Mud Run in Cheltenham, clocking 69:00 minutes.
This Saturday sees the third of Gloucester Athletic Club’s ‘Winter Warmer’ open meetings at the Blackbridge track. First event starts at 11:00 am. Entries need to registered with Bob Purcell no later than 7pm Friday, to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Gloucester Athletic Club sent their largest squad for several years to the Saucony English National Cross-Country Championships at Wollaton Park in Nottingham on Saturday (25th).
The ‘National’ is the pinnacle of every cross-country runners’ season and, in many cases, their career and most of the country’s leading runners ensure they are geared up and prepared for the oldest cross-country event in the world.
This year, some 8,116 runners from the length and breadth of the country descended on Wollaton Park for the final running of the event at this iconic venue.
Conditions for the first race, the U17 Women’s event, were generally firm underfoot but areas of boggy ground ensured this was a going to be a real test of strength and stamina over the 5km course. Two Gloucester club members were in the field of over 250 starters and soon established themselves in the middle of the huge park. Briony Bishop produced her best-ever run in the Championships as she improved her position of last year by 150 places to finish in a career-best 154th. Clubmate Laura McPeake has raced sparingly this winter but still managed to finish in 193rd place.
Next up for the Club was Toby Scott in the U15 boys race, run over 4.5 kms. Still in his first year in the age group, he acquitted himself well and placed very credible 199th of the 375 finishers.
Bethan Moor has established herself as one of the area’s top junior cross-country runners this winter and she carried her form into the U20 Ladies race where she ran strongly to place 50th.
By the time the U17 Men’s race was underway, conditions had become much heavier underfoot but this did not deter Harry Wells as he produced his best run of the winter to place 55th, an excellent run given he has missed several races due to injury.
The U15 Girls race saw Julia Johnson in her first National and she followed the example of her club mates in the previous races to secure an encouraging 336th placing.
The senior ladies race over 8kms featured two tough climbs and given the now difficult conditions which were made worse by the driving rain, Anna Midgley’s 331st placing was commendable. Lindsey Lyes put a recent injury behind her as she produced a strong run to place 438th, while Hannah Bennett put in another gutsy performance to come home in 741st place.
The senior men’s race provided a fitting finale to a rousing day of top quality competition and the Gloucester men produced their best team performance in this event for many years.
This winter has seen Steve Millward produce his best form over cross-country for several years and he was hoping for a top 250 finish. Though he ran strongly throughout the testing 12 km course that featured several challenging climbs, he finished just down on that target, placing 266th. James Walters has been one of the Club’s most consistent and improved performers this winter and he produced possibly the best run of his career as he placed 514th, an improvement of 200 places on his position last year.
Steve Haines is another who has been a mainstay of the Club’s teams in recent seasons and he ran well to place 761st in his first National. Clubmate Mark Keeling last ran in the Championship some 17 years ago and was keen to support the Club’s effort to compete in the event again as he finished in 912th position, as was Paul Barlow who came out of semi-retirement at the tail end of last year when he heard the Club had entered the event, and placed 1034th.
Ian Summers found the course to his liking as he placed 1163rd to complete the scoring six, bringing the team home in 72nd of the 135 finishing teams.
Dave Gresswell placed 1300th, Simon Barnes placed 1455th and the squad was completed by Clive Poole in 1551st place.
Afterwards, team captain Aaron Bennett said “This is what Gloucester AC is all about. The National cross-country championships represent the very best this sport has to offer and we want to be a part of it. By competing here today, we made a statement of what we stand for as a Club and everyone who made the trip to compete said that they had the time of their lives. We can’t wait for next year.”
There was a large number of Gloucester Athletic Club members among the 520 finishers of Sunday’s High Bridge Jewellers Bourton 10K road race.
The flat, fast course is popular among many county runners with many targeting the race as an early season test.
Jeremy Mower’s race preparations had not been helped by a cold, but he managed to finish ahead of his colleagues as he placed 20th overall and first M50 in 36:50, the same time but one place ahead of club-mate Matt Flynn who knocked over a minute off his previous best time in 21st place, while Simon Fortnam placed 26th in 37:14.
Max Sheppard was the next city runner home, clocking a new personal best time of 39:04.0, while Hayley Winters made a return to racing after a break to place 94th overall and 3rd lady in 40:39.
The Club’s second age group prize was won by Arthur Daley who showed that he is getting over a heel injury as he placed 100th overall and first M65 in 40:48.
Other Gloucester AC finishers were:
Gary Fraser (143rd in 42:42), Nigel Nash (152nd in 43:18), Amy Tucker (185th in 44:38), Tina Wickens (204th in 45:08), Harriet Langley (222nd in 46:00 - pb), Sue Higgins (230th in 49:20), Michelle stark (232nd in 46:22), Charlotte Hall (247th in 47:07 – pb), Dave Spackman (252nd in 47:21), Simon Barnes (302nd in 49:19), Sharon Nash (358th in 51:58) and Vicky Earls (478th in 63:06).
Young sprinter Beth Gardiner competed in the U17 women’s 60 metres in the English Indoors Championships in Sheffield on Saturday and placed 7th in her heat in 8.42 seconds.
In the Inter-Area Masters indoors match at the Lea Valley Stadium in north London, Ian Willoughby placed 3rd in the M60 400 metres in 63.70 seconds before anchoring the Midlands team to victory in the 4 x 200 metres.
At the recent Weston-Super-Mare 5-mile road race, Simon Fortnam placed 25th overall in 29:47, his fastest time for three years.
The curtain came down on the 2016-17 Gloucestershire Cross Country League season on Saturday with the final fixture at Pittville Park in Cheltenham.
Gloucester Athletic Club have had an indifferent season with competing numbers down on the previous campaign, though it should be said that the 2016-17 season was their most prolific for many years.
However, there were still many positives to take from this season, with both men’s and ladies squads giving several runners their first taste of competition at this level, though it was three of their established runners who led the men home in Saturday’s race.
James Head has had another consistent season and his 37th placing on Saturday was a season’s best, earning him 10th place overall in the M40 category overall for the season. Steve Haines continued his return to top form by also achieving his highest placing of the season in 52nd. Behind them, Dave Gresswell placed in the top 100 for the first time this season and his 70th place finish was his highest in four seasons.
Two of this season’s newcomers were next to finish as Matthew Dewey and Gary Fraser came home in 81st and 117th respectively while, appropriately it was left to one of the elder statesmen of the Club, Arthur Daley, to complete the scoring six, in 123rd place.
Clive Poole was next home, placing 144th, ahead of Stephen Shields in 145th place, as the team placed 9th on the day.
The senior ladies race saw the season’s top newcomer, Katie Davenport, achieve her highest-ever placing in this League as she crossed the line in 24th place. Just six days after running the Barcelona Half Marathon, Grace Vido finished in 29th, while team captain Anna Midgley placed 31st to complete the ladies ‘A’ team and secure 6th place.
Charlotte Hall continued her fun of improved form, placing 39th, as two more newcomers Tina Wickens (43rd) and Lilian Saktombo (56th) completed the ‘B’ team as they came home in 13th place.
The ‘C’ team was led home by Nicola Waters (66th), and with Emma Jeffery in 111th and Hannah Bennett in 122nd, the team placed 31st.
The U17 Ladies race saw the top two runners in the League, Gloucester’s Niamh Powell and Jade Littlechild of Bath, go head to head with the winner likely to emerge victorious in the overall league standings. As always, Powell gave it her all and produced another gutsy run but had to concede to the Bath athlete who came home the winner. The Gloucester girl finished in second place on the day and in the League placings.
Briony Bishop ran strongly to place third on the day and fourth for the season as the city’s girls took the overall team silver medal.
An injury sustained early on hampered Scarlett Pegler’s progress in the U15 Girls race, but she carried on to finish in 22nd place and 10th in the League while the overall title for the season went to her team-mate Bethan Powell who, safe in the knowledge that she had secured the League win, was away on a skiing trip.
In the U13 Girls race, Tilly Ashley ran another well-judged race to place 4th on the day and take the overall silver medal. Katherine Mills was just outside the top 10, finishing in 11th place while Lucy Jeffery placed 23rd, as both girls finished the League season in 9th and 25th respectively. In her first League race, Amber Spackman placed 36th in this, her first League race.
Seren Jones continued her dominance of the U11 Girls age group, coming home a clear victor on the day as well as the overall League title. Two more youngsters made their league debuts, as Chloe Houston and Chloe Shephard placed 21st and 46th.
The other age group to see Gloucester representation was the U15 Boys race where Toby Scott continued his return to racing fitness following injury to place 7th on the day and 13th overall, and Owen Fishpool placed 14th on the day and 10th in the League standings.
Several of Gloucester Athletic Club’s track & field athletes took a break from their winter training to compete in the Birmingham Games Open Meeting at the Barclaycard Arena on Sunday (19th).
Long jumper Joel Townley looks to be heading for a good season as the promising youngster produced his second furthest-ever jump to win the U17 men’s event with 6.47m, the fifth best in the country this year.
There were plenty of Gloucester club vests to be seen in the 60 metres. Sophie Lambert produced a trademark blistering start and was never headed as she won the senior ladies event in 8.17 seconds and there was another win for Ellie Wheeler-Smith in the U15 Girls race in 8.42 seconds. In her first for six months following injury, Kelly Constable dropped down a distance to run in the senior ladies event where she placed 6th in 8.24 seconds, while younger sister Kirstie clocked 8.62 seconds when placing 4th in the fourth heat of the U17 Ladies event. In race five of the U17 Ladies race, Sophie Temple placed 3rd in 8.56 seconds, with club-mate Erin MacFarlaine placing 5th in 8.75 seconds. Newcomer Oliver Keitley adapted well to his first competition, placing 6th in the U15 Boys race in 8.15 seconds.
Much of the group’s winter training has been geared to the longer sprints thus far and this was evident with some very encouraging showings in the 200 metres. Ellie Wheeler-Smith took another victory in her U15 Girls race, recording a personal best 27.96 seconds and there was another win for the squad as Erin MacFarlaine finished strongly in heat seven of the U17 Ladies race in 28.79 seconds, her best run since coming back from injury. Kelly Constable placed 3rd in the senior ladies race in 26.79 seconds, while the U17 Ladies events saw second places for Sophie Temple, 27.36 seconds in race 4 and Kirstie Constable who ran 28.60 in race 6, just ahead of Piper Holmes who placed third in 28.97seconds. Oliver Keitley placed second in the u15 Boys race in 26.16 seconds.
Finally, Piper Holmes enjoyed a much-improved high jump competition as she cleared a season’s best 1.52m.
Afterwards, coach Richard Blackwell said “It was good for the group to blow the cobwebs away and race today. Winter training can be a long slog with little specific speedwork so it made a nice change to get their racing heads on and see how they’re progressing. They should all be happy with their performances.”
Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior men achieved their best points score of the season when they took 10th place in the final Birmingham Cross-Country League race of the season at Coundon Hall Park, Coventry on Saturday (11th).
The biting cold wind, occasional snow and heavy, muddy course that included wooded sections combined to make this a very testing 9km race.
In the absence of Steve Millward and Jack Evans, both of whom have been in excellent form in recent weeks, James Walters took on the responsibility of leading the team and produced his best-ever League run to place 39th of the 250 finishers.
Nathan Smith marked his welcome to return to competitive running with a strong 49th place, while the ever-consistent James Head placed 72nd just ahead of Harry Luckhurst who completed his League season with a 78th placing.
Steve Haines produced another strong run to finish in a season’s best 93rd, with Mark Keeling returning from illness to complete the scoring six in 103rd place as the team scored 434 points.
Further down the field, Dave Gresswell placed 154th, Arthur Daley 195th and Simon Barnes 217th to complete the Gloucester squad.
The League season saw the City club place 13th in the division overall.
1st University of Warwick AC 76 pts; 2nd Leamington AC 110; 3rd Trentham RC 172; 10th Gloucester AC 434.
Overall League placings:
1st University of Warwick 429 pts; 2nd Leamington AC 463; 3rd Trentham RC 689; 13th Gloucester AC 1976.
Hundreds of runners will head over to Pittville Park in Cheltenham this Saturday for the final Gloucestershire Cross-Country League fixture of the 2016-17 season, with a number of the Gloucester club’s runners in with a chance of winning overall league medals in their respective age groups.
Bethan Moor has been in outstanding form since the turn of the year and currently lies in second place in the U20 Ladies standings. Niamh Powell and Briony Bishop are both well-placed in the U17 Ladies individual category, with the Club on course for medals in the team competition. Bethan Powell will be aiming to overcome the disappointment of missing out on selection for the National Schools Championships by taking the U15 Girls county crown, as will Tilly Ashley in the U13 Girls category. The first race starts at 12:00 noon.
Steve Millward produced his fastest 5km time on the road for several years when he placed 7th overall in the recent Aztec West Fast Five in Bristol. Millward has focused on the track and cross-country in recent seasons, so this race was very much a case of seeing how his training has been progressing. The strong winds and heavy rain did not make for fast times but Millward stopped the clock in 15:47, his quickest in over five years.
Jeremy Mower continued his good form of late when he placed 57th overall and first M50 in 17:38, just eight seconds down on his fastest time of the winter with James Head just behind, placing 59th in 17:42. Next home was Matt Flynn, whose 18:04 in 73rd place was a six second improvement on his previous best time set last summer. Simon Fortnam has struggled with injuries over the past two years, but he is finally starting to string some reasonable performances together. His 18:13 clocking in 76th place was not his quickest time of the year but, given the conditions, he will have been satisfied as he continues on the road to full fitness and regular racing.
Arthur Daley was hampered by a heel injury, hence his slowest time for three years, but his 20:18 in 138th place strengthened his grip on the M65 title in the winter series. Charlotte Hall placed 196th overall and 3rd senior lady in 22:51 and Nicola Waters completed the Gloucester group, placing 200th in 23:05.
In considerably sunnier climes, Grace Vido broke her personal best time for the Half Marathon when clocking 98:16 in Sunday’s Barcelona event.
The need for more volunteers to help ease the pressure and workload of the willing few, was the overriding theme at the recent Gloucester Athletic Club AGM. A well-attended meeting heard the reports from Andy McKenzie (Chair) and Paul de-Camps (Secretary) praising the excellent efforts and performances during 2016, but also warning that the Club is no different from any other voluntary organisation in that it relies heavily on more people stepping up to help in a range of activities and roles across the board. Treasurer Andy Beckett reported another successful year with the Club enjoying a healthy bank balance.
The following Officers and committee members were elected to serve for the next 12 months:
Chair – Andy McKenzie; Secretary – Paul de-Camps; Treasurer – Andy Beckett; Membership Secretary – Alison George; Coaching Co-ordinator – Garry Hunter; Cross-Country & Road Running Rep – Dave Gresswell; Track & Field Rep – Steve Millward; Officials Co-ordinator and Properties Manager – Ian Willoughby; Volunteers Co-ordinator – Helen Hoy; Social Secretary – Hannah Bennett; Publicity/PR Officer – Richard Blackwell; Additional committee members – Jeanette Lange Jo Willoughby and Norman Wilson.
Also at the meeting, Lorraine Shaw was elected the President of Gloucester AC. The former Great Britain record-holder and 2002 Commonwealth Games champion for the hammer takes up the prestigious position following the death last year of Norman Tincello.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Bethan Moor produced another strong run in the torrential rain and heavy mud to place 7th in the Senior Girls race at the South West Schools Cross-country Championships down in Truro last Saturday (4th).
Since progressing as a talented youngster from Kerry Newell’s junior endurance group to work with Paul de-Camps’ senior group at Blackbridge, Bethan has gone from strength to strength and this latest performance was just reward for the many months of hard work she has put into her training and racing. She marked her last appearance at the South-West Schools event with her highest-ever placing and her 7th place should guarantee her selection for the county squad for the English National Schools Championships in Norwich next month.
Club mates Niamh and Bethan Powell experienced differing fortunes in their respective races at Truro. In the Inter Girls race, Niamh overcame an early fall to place 27th overall and first Gloucestershire runner home to qualify for the Nationals. Younger sister Bethan was suffering from a groin strain picked up earlier in the day, but nevertheless ran strongly against the weather conditions in the Junior Girls race to finish just out of the top six county placings so will not feature in the squad for the Nationals. Her main objective now for the remainder of the season shall be to win her age group in the County Cross-Country League.
Welsh international ultra-distance runner, Jeremy Mower, was in record-breaking form at the Gloucester 50K road race around the Quedgeley, Elmore and Longney area of the City on Sunday (5th), as he set a new personal best and Gloucester club record.
Mower’s time of 3:34:56 was a new personal best and new Club record by over four and a half minutes, beating his previous mark set in 2008 as he placed fifth overall and first in the M50 category.
Over the years, Mower has learnt that pace judgement in ultra races is paramount and so it proved in this race as he realised the pace being set by the leading pair of runners was too fast to sustain. As he expected, these two dropped out leaving Mower to push on and finish strongly for a highly credible 5th place.
In her first 50K race, Nicola Waters judged the pace well to place 25th overall and 7th lady in 4:52:10, a new Club W50 age group record, while Paul Corderoy placed 26th overall in 5:17:18.
The Mayhill Massacre event has become a favourite event among many local runners in recent years, with dozens taking on the nine miles of mud and hills up, down and around the famous county landmark.
Owen Fishpool was the first Gloucester club runner to finish, placing 49th in 1:25:32, just ahead of club mate Nick Bishop, whose 1:25:35 clocking in 50th place was a personal best time for the event by six minutes, while Anna Midgley hauled herself out of her sick bed to place 86th overall and 5th lady in 1:31:39.
Away from the mud and rain, two Gloucester Athletic Club members at the opposite end of their careers were in action in the indoor Grand Prix meeting at the Cardiff Met University on Sunday.
Ian Willoughby set two new M60 age group records, clocking 8.65 seconds in the 60 metres and 66.92 seconds in the 400 metres, taking second place in both races. U20 Rory Cawkwell placed 4th in his heat of the 60 metres in 7.34 seconds.
Gloucester Athletic Club members enjoyed a good outing at Sunday’s Staverton 10-mile road race, organised by CLC Striders, where cool conditions with light drizzle and a weak breeze made for good running.
In recent seasons, the aim of many of the Club’s runners has been to beat the 60-minutes barrier for this once classic distance and four of their number achieved that distinction on Sunday.
A quartet of Gloucester runners, Jack Evans, James Walters, James Head and Jeremy Mower, went off hard from the gun and at the half way stage were among little groups all trying to make up ground on the one ahead.
Evans acquitted himself well in his first-ever 10-mile race and although he was overtaken in the final 50 yards came home in a very credible 10th place, clocking 58:14, one place ahead of team-mate James Walters who will have pleased with his personal best 58:23 clocking as it will boost his confidence for future half marathons.
James Head was the next runner home, placing 14th overall and 2nd M40 in 59:25, a personal best time by over four minutes, while the fourth City runner to finish inside one hour was Jeremy Mower whose 59:57 was good enough for 16th place overall, the first in the M50 category and a time that ranks him 2nd on the UK age group listings for the year.
Newcomer Simon Meadows had a promising run, clocking 62:55 in 24th place in his debut 10-miler, just ahead of Steve Haines whose 63:04 in 27th place was also a new personal best. Injuries have caused Max Sheppard to race sparingly over the past two years but he produced a new best time of 65:34 in 39th place, while Dave Gresswell placed 43rd in 67:23.
Mark Thrall has been fitting pole vault training around his running schedule this winter, but he still managed to clock 70:18 in 64th place, while little separated newcomer Stephen Shields (67th) and Clive Poole (68th) in personal best times of 71:13 and 71:34.
In her first race over the distance, Katie Davenport gave further cause for optimism as she placed 72nd overall and 3rd senior lady in 72:24.
Other Gloucester finishers were: Chris Davis (82nd, 74:13 pb), Lindsey Lyes (89th, 76:10 pb), Harriet Langley (97th, 77:04 pb), Dave Spackman (112th and 1st M70, 80:32), Graham Davis (135th, 87:17 pb).
Gloucester Athletic Club’s top junior female cross-country runners were in action at Cardiff on Sunday (22nd) in the British Athletics Cross Challenge and produced another series of fine performances.
Bethan Moor has established herself as the Club’s leading cross-country runner this winter, finishing ahead of her team-mates in the county championships and league races. She extended her excellent run of form in the U20 women’s race when she placed 20th overall and 1st in the South-West Schools challenge, leading the Gloucestershire team to victory.
The Club’s leading Under-17 runner this year, Niamh Powell, produced a typically gutsy run to place 29th overall in her age group and 2nd in the Schools event. Briony Bishop, showing few signs of fatigue after having raced in the Hereford & Worcester schools trials the previous day where she placed 10th, placed 40th overall while Cressie May, on the comeback trail after a long injury lay-off, placed 44th. Natalie Ashley-Towell placed 54th.
In the U15 Girls race, Bethan Powell ran strongly to place 41st, while in the U13 Girls event two youngsters who are just starting their competitive careers will have learnt plenty. Emma Tillott placed 23rd and Sophie Izon 28th in their first outing at this level.
Gloucester Athletic Club will be staging four open athletics meetings at the Blackbridge track during February and March.
There will be selective track events for the meetings on 11th February and 11th March, and the meetings on 25th Feb and 25th March will feature field events.
Full details are available from the promotions co-ordinator, Bob Purcell, via e-mail email@example.com.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Steve Millward produced his best run in recent seasons when he took third place in Saturday’s Birmingham Cross-Country League race at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Staffordshire. Millward’s run helped the team amass their best points total of the season, assuring them a mid-table finish with one race remaining.
Conditions underfoot were difficult as recent rain and snowfalls combined with heavy mud and, with a testing climb, this was a cross-country course for the purists.
Millward was among the leading pack throughout and it was only over the latter stages that Paul Ward of the host club, Telford AC, pulled away to claim victory. Millward stuck to his guns and came home in third place, just 30 seconds behind the winner.
Jack Evans was a welcome late addition to the squad. Just before heading back to resume his studies at Cambridge University, he ran a strong race to finish in 42nd place.
James Walters has been one of the team’s most improved athletes this winter, consistently achieving higher placings than last season, and he continued that run with a fine 62nd place. Steve Haines was the next City runner home, just missing out on a top 100 place with a 106th finish.
Harry Luckhurst is in the running for the top newcomer accolade this winter, regularly securing a place in the scoring ‘A’ team in his first season for the Club. He repeated the feat again on Saturday as he placed 117th, while the scoring six was completed by Dave Gresswell who finished in 145th position, securing 11th place overall for the team.
Arthur Daley produced a strong run to place 172nd, ahead of Aaron Bennett (183rd), Clive Poole (197th) and Simon Barnes (204th).
Afterwards, Steve Millward said: “I’m really pleased with that run. For the first time in a couple of years I have been able to string together several months of training with no injury or illness problems and I felt really good throughout the race.”
Team captain Aaron Bennett said: “The performances of Steve and Jack really made the difference today as it pushed us up the table. We’ll be looking for more of the same in the final round and hope we can get a couple more runners finishing in the top 50. It’s a big challenge, but they’re capable.”
1st Warwick Uni 115pts; 2nd Telford AC 122; 3rd Trentham RC 129; 11th Gloucester 475.
League placings after three rounds:
1st= Warwick Uni 353pts; 1st= Leamington AC 353; 3rd Trentham RC 517; 13th Gloucester 1542.
Jeremy Mower led the Gloucester Athletic Club contingent home in Sunday’s Linda Franks 5-mile Road Race around the lanes of The Reddings and Up Hatherley, placing 6th overall and 1st M50 in 28:38, a personal best over the distance, beating many younger athletes.
James Head was the second Club runner home, two places behind Mower in 29:07, just three seconds down on his two-year old best set on the same course.
Newcomer Simon Meadows, in his first race for the Club gave an indication of his potential when placing 19th in 30:13, ahead of Matt Powell who placed 26th in 31:14. Chris Davis was just outside his personal best time when placing 49th in 33:27 and Dave Spackman placed 102nd overall and first M70 in 37:36.
Afterwards, Mower said: “Training has been going well recently so I felt a fast run was on the cards. I’m delighted with the time as it takes me top of the UK 5-mile M50 rankings for the season.”
The winter indoors season opened at the weekend with several Gloucester Athletic Club youngsters producing some encouraging performances.
In the Midland Counties Open Meeting at the Alexander Stadium, U17 sprinter Beth Gardiner showed that her winter training is going well as she first equalled and then improved her 60 metres personal bests, setting a new best mark of 8.17 seconds.
At the same meeting, Piper Holmes set new indoor bests of 1.45 metres for the high jump and 4.13 metres in the long jump.
At the Cardiff indoor meeting, that incorporated the South-West age group championships, Rory Cawkwell struck gold when winning the U17 60 metres in a personal best 7.31 seconds.
Joel Townley set three new personal bests over 60 metres (7.76 seconds), triple jump (12.53 metres) before obliterating his absolute best in the long jump with a best jump of 6.49 metres, over 20 cms further than he had ever jumped indoors or out.
There were also several Masters races featuring Gloucester athletes. In a rare outing on the track, Jo Willoughby took a break from her normal long and triple jumping to compete in the 200 metres, placing 2nd in 29.70 seconds. Husband Ian was a clear winter of his heat of the M60 200 metres in 28.98 seconds. Suzanne Harding bravely led for 760 metres of the W40 800 metres before being closed down over the final stages, placing 2nd in 2:47.00.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s junior ladies were the star turn at last Saturday’s Gloucestershire Cross-country Championships, winning four of the six titles up for grabs plus one individual and two team silver medals as the Club enjoyed one of their most successful championships for years.
This year’s Championships were held for the first time on a hilly and challenging course around the Old Down Country Park, Tockington in the south of the county which, thanks to the very heavy overnight rain, tested all of the runners’ strength and balance.
Seren Jones started the ball rolling in the first race of the day, the U11G event. A member of the Gloucester club’s 365 Academy, she has been a dominant force in local league races this winter and ran the only way she knows – from the front – coming home a clear winner to win her first county title. Team-mate Milly Newell came home in fifth place.
Sisters Niamh and Bethan Powell controlled the combined U17W and U15G race with another display of courageous front-running. Coping with the slippery conditions better than their rivals Bethan won the U15G race by just five seconds while Niamh took the U17W title by over 75 seconds. Natalie Ashley-Towell and Briony Bishop placed 7th and 8th in the U17s race to earn the silver medal for the Gloucester club in the team competition.
Bethan Moor produced another excellent performance as she placed 5th overall and 1st U20 in the senior race, leaving many good-quality seasoned racers in her wake to earn the Club its fourth title of the afternoon.
Although the individuals stole the limelight, there were some excellent supporting runs across the board.
The senior ladies continue to find their way at this level, with several of their number still being inexperienced in cross-country racing. Katie Davenport is in her first season with the Club and is improving with every race. In this, her first Championship race, she ran well to take 14th place while Kirsty Reid placed 23rd to earn fourth place overall for the team. Hannah Bennett worked hard to place 40th overall.
There were more medals in the U13 Girls race as Tilly Ashley finished runner-up, just ahead of team-mate Sophie Izon in third place. Katherine Mills placed 8th to earn the squad the silver medal in the team standings.
The senior men’s race was dominated by a very strong Cheltenham & County Harriers contingent who filled eight of the top 10 finishers and took the first three team placings.
However, The Gloucester club were still able to win another age group category as Jeremy Mower produced his best run of the winter to lead the City squad home in 17th place overall and first in the M50 category.
James Walters was the next home, placing 20th, while Steve Haines also had his best run of the winter to come home in 21st place. James Head placed 29th, Matt Powell 35th and Aaron Bennett 42nd to earn the team fourth place. Mower, Haines and Head combined to take second place in the masters team category.
Clive Poole and Simon Barnes provided the reserve back-up, placing 53rd and 60th respectively.
In an otherwise disappointing turn-out by the Gloucester men, youngster Edward Glanville enjoyed another good run when placing 8th in the U11 Boys race to further underline his potential in this discipline.
A trio of Gloucester youngster travelled down to Cardiff on Sunday to compete in the Welsh Athletics Indoor Open Meeting that incorporated the South-West England Junior Age Groups Championships and all came away with new indoor personal best performances.
Sulaiman Ouiles had a successful afternoon, setting two a new club indoor record in the U13 Boys 60 metres, shaving 3/100ths of a second off the previous mark with a 9.64 seconds clocking in his heat, before setting another record in the U13 Boys 60m Hurdles of 11.38 seconds for third place in the final of the SW championship.
Sulaiman’s sister, Malika, also set two new personal bests, clocking 9.35 seconds when placing third in her heat of the U15 Girls 60 metres and 5.41 metres in the shot putt.
Scarlett Pegler set a new indoor personal best when placing 8th in her heat of the U15 Girls 800 metres, clocking 2:44.21.
Several members of Gloucester Athletic Club’s 365 Academy have been selected to represent the County in the regional inter-county Sportshall Athletics Competition later this month.
Holly Attwool, Ella Edwards, Tamera Leach, Serafeim Apostolakis, Alfie Manley, Arnie Margretts and Sulaiman Ouiles are all part of the popular group that caters for youngsters between the ages of 8-13 at the Club.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s 2017 Annual General Meeting shall take place at the Royal British Legion Club, Green Lane, Hardwicke, Gloucester GL2 4QA on Monday 6th February.
The meeting starts at 7:30 pm and all members over the age of 16 are invited to attend.
Entries are coming in at a rate of knots for Gloucester Athletic Club’s major race of the calendar year.
The Gloucester 20-mile road race, which is run around the lanes of Haresfield and has become a firm favourite over the years with runners who are preparing for spring marathons, shall be staged on Sunday 19th March.
Entries are on-line at www.gloucesterac.co.uk