Two of Gloucester Athletic Club’s longest-serving members still currently racing have just completed an arduous challenge which they set each other over a pint at the end of 2015.
Dave Gresswell and Ian Summers decided that to mark the year in which they would both celebrate their 50th birthdays, they would aim to complete 50 races; thus the 50-4-50 challenge was born.
However, it wasn’t just a case of entering lots of local events, or races that they had competed in many times before, they wanted to do something different.
As Gresswell says: “We wanted to make the challenge as interesting as we could, which meant entering many races at a range of locations that we have never visited before. For example, I was on a working trip to Poland in May and took the opportunity to race in a 10K Multi-terrain event while I was over there.”
The challenge included some unforgettable moments, as Gresswell continues “For me, the Cardiff Half Marathon was the most memorable. We started off in glorious sunshine but after about 45 minutes, the heavens opened and we had a torrential downpour. There were flash floods and the course was actually under water!”
Summers kept his races closer to home, but still travelled to parts of the country he had never raced in before. “There were some great races that I had never run before, such as some night races under the cover of darkness but, for me, the most memorable was the Purbeck 16-mile multi-terrain race along the Jurassic Coastline in Dorset which was stunning.”
Both runners completed their final races in December, having clocked up nearly 300 racing miles each during the year. It won’t be long before they’ll be racing again, though, as Gresswell will be racing in this Saturday’s County Cross-Country Championships in Old Down, south Gloucestershire.
In his final race before he earns his first senior Great Britain international vest, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex George placed third in the iconic Nos Galan 5K road race in Mountain Ash, Mid Glamorgan on New Year’s Eve, clocking 14:18. The Gloucester athlete is delaying his return to Arkansas University to run in the Edinburgh International Cross-Country classic next Saturday where he is due to race against double-double Olympic Champion Mo Farah.
Alex’s brother, Thomas, placed 18th in the Nos Galan event in 15:27.
A group of Gloucester Athletic Club members ran in the Seven Sins Multi-terrain race in the Forest of Dean over the Christmas holiday.
In his 50th race of 2016, Ian Summers led the group home, placing 19th in 62:09. Nick Bishop placed 36th in 67:09, Lindsey Lyes placed 53rd in 69:50, Clive Poole came home in 60th place in 71:35, Denise Evans placed 66th in 72:27 and Colin Westbury placed 72nd in 74:29.
Last Saturday (17th) saw the final league fixture of the calendar year for Gloucester Athletic Club as they competed in round three of this winter’s Gloucestershire Cross-Country League at the Katherine Lady Berkeley School in Wootton-under-Edge.
Whilst they have not managed to field the number of athletes as in last year’s fixtures the men have continued to make steady progress, introducing several athletes to senior cross-country competition and Saturday’s match saw newcomer John Withers feature in the ‘A’ team on his league debut, and Gary Fraser and Stephen Shields also complete the arduous course on their first league appearance in a Gloucester vest.
In the absence of Steve Millward, the task of leading the team home was again the responsibility of James Walters, who continued this season’s improved form when finishing in 46th place, his highest-ever League placing. Matt Flynn was the second runner home and he too achieved his best-ever League position as he came home in 50th place.
Steve Haines was the next runner to finish, placing a season’s-best 73rd, ahead of James Head in 78th, debutant Withers in a promising 86th place with Dave Gresswell completing the ‘A’ team in 86th place.
Arthur Daley continued to set a fine example to runners half his age when leading the ‘B’ team home in 113th overall and 2nd M65, while team captain Aaron Bennett just held off Fraser as they placed 125th and 126th. Shields placed 140th, Clive Poole came home in 143rd and Chris O’Carroll completed the ‘B’ team in 187th place.
The ladies’ teams have also recruited new runners this winter though the proximity to Christmas had an adverse effect on the numbers turning out.
Youngster Bethan Moor continues to progress and has firmly established herself as one of the Club’s leading cross-country runners this season and her 11th place overall and first U20 on Saturday was her best-ever placing in the senior race.
Team captain Anna Midgley and Katie Davenport, in her first season with the Club, battled throughout the race with the former just holding off her team-mate as they both achieved league-best placings of 27th and 29th to complete the ‘A’ team.
Charlotte Hall has been enjoying her best season in a Gloucester vest and she continued her recent good form as she also placed a league best 35th, as did another newcomer this season, Tina Wickens, in 43rd place. Nicola Waters completed the ‘B’ team, placing 66th, while Kirsty Reid made a tentative return from injury to place 84th ahead of Hannah Bennett, who placed 104th.
There was plenty of Christmas cheer in the junior age groups. In the U17 Ladies race, Niamh Powell and Briony Bishop placed 2nd and 3rd respectively while Bethan Powell secured her first league win with a clear victory in the U15 Girls race.
The U13 Girls race saw Tilly Ashley equal her best-ever League placing with a second place. Katherine Mills placed 11th and Lucy Jeffery 22nd, to secure second place for the team.
Seren Jones suffered a rare defeat in the U11 Girls race when she placed 3rd.
In the U15 Boys race, Owen Fishpool showed he is over the sickness bug that affected his performance at the previous weekend’s county schools championship by placing 13th, ahead of Toby Scott who placed 15th , while in the U11 boys race Ed Glanville placed 18th in his first cross-country race for the Club.
Sunday saw the start of a series of races with a very festive theme in the county.
There was a good turn-out of Gloucester Athletic Club runners at “Rudolph’s Rampage”, a multi-terrain race run over 7kms around the Painswick area with fancy dress the order of the day.
In his 50th race of the calendar year, Dave Gresswell led the group home, placing 13th in 35:45, just ahead of Ian Summers who finished two places and three seconds back.
Lindsey Lyes placed 27th in 39:01, while Sue Higgins placed 31st in 40:13. Denise Evans placed 33rd in 40:27, Nick Bishop placed 35th in 41:02, Paul Loveridge placed 46th in 42:23, Clive Poole placed 47th in 42:25 and Colin Westbury came home in 48th place in 42:40.
At the Christmas Cracker 20km road race at Moreton Morrell in Warwickshire, Jeremy Mower produced one of his best runs over 10 miles for four years when he placed 2nd in 75:44.
At the Christmas Tree 5-mile Multi-terrain run in Ellwood in the Forest of Dean, Gloucester youngsters Natalie Ashley-Towell and Briony Bishop placed 88th and 89th in 57:04.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex George produced another brilliant performance to place 13th in the European U23s Cross-Country Championships in Chia, Sardinia on Sunday (11th). He was the second Briton to cross the line and helped his country take the bronze medal in the team classification.
George was one of two British athletes who had made the journey from their American colleges earlier in the week to join up with their team-mates and showed no signs of jet-lag as he finished strongly to complete the 8K course in 23:19 and to bring the curtain down on his most successful cross-country season to date.
Next race up for the Gloucester athlete will be the iconic Nos Galan 5K Road Race in Mountain Ash on New Year’s Eve before returning to Arkansas for the indoors track season.
The next wave of the City’s athletic talent was in action at the weekend when they headed to Newent for the Gloucestershire County Schools cross-country championships.
Bethan Moor stole the show as she made light of the difficult conditions caused by the heavy overnight rain to win the senior girls race by nearly 400 metres.
Harry Wells took third place in the senior boys race, an excellent run given that he is in his first year in the age group and was only just beaten by older athletes.
The Gloucester club showed its strength in the inter girls race as Niamh Powell took the silver medal, Laura McPeake placed 7th and Natalie Ashley-Towell 10th.
Owen Fishpool had been suffering from a sickness bug in the days leading up to the event and defied the advice of his coach to toe the line of a what turned out to be a very competitive inter boys race. Despite suffering over the second half of the race, he completed the course in 38th place.
Bethan Powell placed 5th in the junior girls race ahead of training partners Tilly Ashley, who placed 15th, Katherine Mills (18th), Scarlett Pegler (28th) and Lucy Jeffery who placed 34th in her first county schools event.
In the junior boys race, Toby Scott placed 21st to complete a very pleasing days for the Club.
Competing in the Cardiff Met Indoors Grand Prix, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Joel Townley opened his season with a new long jump indoor personal best of 6.04 metres when taking 4th place.
The Club’s young athletes completed their Sportshall League fixtures with a match at Cheltenham. Team Manager Claire Manley said “I’m really pleased with the way many of these youngsters took their first steps on the competitive ladder this year. This is a great introduction to competition and we can’t wait for them to start competing outdoors in the spring.”
At the Weston-Super-Mare Christmas Cracker 10K, Chris Davis placed 165th of the 195 runners in 45:43 whilst at the Sneyd Striders 10-mile Christmas Pudding race in Walsall, Dave Spackman placed 163rd overall and 1st in the M70 category in 83:00.
Five Gloucester Athletic Club members were among the 300 runners who took part in last Wednesday’s Severn Bridge Five Mile Night Race which started in Chepstow and took the runners over the old bridge and back.
Steve Millward continued his rich vein of form, coming home a clear winner in 27:32, nearly two minutes ahead of his nearest rival. Ian Summers placed 9th overall and 1st M50 in 33:12, ahead of Aaron Bennett, 28th in 35:31, Lindsey Lyes who placed 37th in a personal best 37:13, and Hannah Bennett who placed 161st in 47:26.
A far higher standard of competition meant that Gloucester Athletic Club could only finish 13th of the 17 teams in round two of the season’s Birmingham Cross-Country League Division Two fixture at Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday (3rd).
After placing 12th in the opening match, team captain Aaron Bennett was hoping for a large turn-out from his team to lift them up the table. However, illness and unavailability meant it was another depleted team that made the trip to contest the fixture.
The freezing conditions of the previous week had left the surface very hard and bumpy in many places which, allied to a very hilly and twisting route, made life difficult for many of the 250 runners.
Steve Millward was affected by the conditions less than most as he produced the stand-out performance of the day to finish in 5th place. Always with the leading pack, he worked hard up the final long climb to build up a gap on the runners immediately behind him and used his sprinting speed to the finish.
James Walters produced another consistent performance as he placed 61st, while Mark Keeling once again proved his value to the team since re-joining at the start of the season when placing 78th. Newcomer Harry Luckhurst had his best run for the team, placing 92nd, Steve Haines placed 107th and the scoring team of six was completed by stalwart Dave Gresswell, in 158th place.
Providing invaluable reserve back-up, Arthur Daley placed 166th, Aaron Bennett 174th and Simon Barnes 228th.
Afterwards, team captain Bennett said “There were some great individual performances by our lads today and they all ran well in difficult conditions but the overall turn-out was disappointing as I was hoping to complete two scoring teams. This is a tough league and we need as many of our best runners competing if we are to make an impact. We need to get more runners out in the remaining two fixtures.”
One of Gloucester Athletic Club’s promising young athletes, Piper Holmes, competed at the first indoors meeting of the season, the Welsh Athletics Junior Grand Prix in Cardiff on Sunday. She placed 2nd in the 200 metres in an indoor personal best time of 29.54 seconds before placing 8th in her speciality, the high jump, with a 1.40m clearance. Afterwards, she said “I was satisfied with the personal best in the 200m but was hoping for a quicker time as training has been going really well this winter, but I really messed up my run-up in the high jump so can have no excuses there.”
Sub-zero temperatures and slippery conditions greeted the runners for last week’s Aztec West 5K road race, but this did not deter Gloucester Athletic Club runners produce some good performances.
Jeremy Mower placed 49th overall and 1st in the M50 category in 17:29 while Simon Fortnam took another step on his comeback, placing 58th and 2nd M45 in 17:53. Arthur Daley placed 93rd overall and 1st in the M65 category in 19:18, just five seconds slower than the time he ran in October’s event, while Clive Poole knocked 30 seconds off his previous best time when placing 129th in 20:42.
Katie Davenport continues to impress in her first season with the Club as she placed 133rd in a personal best 20:49, while another improving lady, Charlotte Hall, lowered her personal best by nearly 30 seconds when placing 162nd in 22:16. Nicola Waters placed 177th overall and 4th W55 in 23:24.
A small group of Gloucester Athletic Club members travelled to Walford, nr Ross-on-Wye, to compete in the second running of the Howling Bull Run, a 10K multi-terrain race that takes in areas of the stunning Wye Valley but includes a terrifying downhill stretch known ominously as “Suicide Descent”.
Kim Millward led the Gloucester quartet home, clocking 51:30 for the course. Nick Bishop adapted to the hills and mud more than many, clocked 56:33 while Clive Poole came home in 58:28 despite taking a tumble after one mile, and Michelle Stark came home in 61:28.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex George took an excellent 15th place in last week’s American colleges’ national cross-country championships in Terre Haute, Indiana to lead his Arizona Razorbacks team to their first top-five placing in 10 years.
The chilly and windy conditions were in stark contrast to the previous week’s weather when the Gloucester athlete ran in 70 degree temperatures on his home course in Fayetteville, but he was not deterred as he produced another mature run which saw him gradually move through the field before unleashing his trademark strong finish to cement his status as 2016 South-eastern Conference runner of the year and one of the nation’s top 10K runners.
This Saturday sees the second round of this season’s Birmingham Cross-Country League fixture at Stratford-upon-Avon. Gloucester Athletic Club’s men will be looking to improve on their opening Division Two race at Leamington Spa when they placed 12th team.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s emerging young talent has been in evidence in the various district schools cross-country trials over the past week.
There were no fewer than four podium places at the Cheltenham meeting held at St Edwards School in Charlton Kings where, in sunny but chilly conditions, Bethan Moor and Niamh Powell continued their local domination as they both recorded convincing wins in the Senior and Inter Girls races respectively. This was Bethan’s first win in the Cheltenham District event, having been triumphant in the Gloucester three times previously, while Niamh has been top of the pile in her last four outings in this meeting.
Laura McPeake enjoyed her best run in several months, placing 3rd in the Inter race, while Bethan Powell took second place in the Junior Girls race. There was a welcome return to racing for Toby Scott following an injury-ravaged few months, where after a tentative start in the Junior Boys race, he finished strongly to place 7th. All will qualify for the next round, the County Schools trials which will take place at Newent in a couple of weeks’ time. In a very competitive Senior Boys race, Andrew McPeake produced a strong run to finish in 13th place. With only the top 12 finishers in each race certain to qualify for the County event, he will have to wait and see if anyone drops out.
There were some encouraging performances at the Gloucester District Schools event at Plock Court, particularly the Inter Girls race in which the City club was prominent which saw victory go to Cressida May, with club mates Natalie Ashley-Towell placing 3rd, Avygayle Smith 7th and Jude Dowdeswell 10th. In the Senior Boys race, Will Staddon placed 2nd, Jacob Duan placed 2nd in the Inter Boys race while Katherine Mills took 3rd place in the Junior Girls race.
Elsewhere, Tilly Ashley placed 2nd in the junior Girls race at the Stroud District Schools trials, Scarlett Pegler also placed 2nd in the Junior Girls race in the Forest Schools event where Owen Fishpool took 3rd place in Inter Boys race while further afield, Briony Bishop was again victorious at the Hereford Schools trials as she won the Inter Girls race.
Club spokesman Richard Blackwell said: “There is a tremendous amount of young talent in our Club and anyone who has seen them train will know that these results have been earned through sheer hard work. The next stage is the County Schools trials in December and we are all hoping for continued success.”
Several Gloucester Athletic Club members were competing in night races last week. Charlotte Hall travelled home to Northern Ireland for the iconic Belfast Run In The Dark event where she placed 190th overall and 13th lady out of the 1,250 finishers in a personal best chip time of 47:53.
At the Rogue Runs Night Run from Mallard Pike Lake in the Forest of Dean, Ian Summers placed 17th overall and 2nd M50 in 41:53. Aaron Bennett placed 31st in 43:15 while Lindsey Lyes placed 62nd in 47:18, one place and one second ahead of Colin Westbury with Hannah Bennett completing the Gloucester group in 172nd place of the 280 finishers in 1:04:26.
Anna Midgley was the Gloucester club’s first finisher in Sunday’s Newent 9K road race. The heavy overnight rain and bitterly cold conditions did not make for pleasant racing, but the Gloucester ladies cross-country captain placed 42nd overall and 3rd senior lady in 44:08. Peter Jeffery placed 65th overall in 47:09.
Kirsty Reid placed 18th overall and first lady home in Sunday’s Malvern View 10K race in Colwall in 46:23, her fastest time since moving down to Gloucester from her native Scotland and three minutes quicker than she ran in last year’s race, while Chris Davis placed 86th overall at the 9Bar Chilly 10K race on the Castle Coombe race track in Wiltshire.
Gloucester Athletic Clubs Alex George produced another excellent performance in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the weekend.
Competing in the South Central regional championships over a 10km course run in warm temperatures of just over 20, he placed 5th overall and second Arkansas man home in 30:18.3 as his Arkansas Razorbacks squad took the team title.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior men opened their 2016-17 Birmingham Cross-Country League Division Two season with a depleted team making the journey up to Newbold Comyn, in Leamington Spa.
Heavy overnight rain had made the course heavy going, but the Gloucester squad worked hard to place 12th of the 17 teams and, with several athletes due to return for round two, will be looking to climb up the table.
James Walters has been in the best form of his relatively short racing career in recent weeks and was hoping to carry that form into the first big test of the winter. That he managed, as he placed a career-best 51st to lead the team home.
James Head produced another solid run, placing 70th, while Mark Keeling ran well for 82nd, 10 places ahead of the next City finisher, Lee Smith.
Steve Haines placed a respectable 108th and the team was completed by Harry Luckhurst who, in his first ever League race, placed 164th.
Team captain Aaron Bennett placed 193rd, Clive Poole 224th and Simon Barnes 240th.
Gloucester Athletic Club's Arthur Daley and Jeremy Mower achieved the well-earned distinction of representing their respective countries at the British & Irish Masters Cross Country International at Tollcross Park, Glasgow on Saturday.
Daley ran for England in the M65 race which consisted of three laps each of 1.85km over a very testing course that included three tough climbs. Sensibly staying off the fast early pace, as the runners sought to position themselves, Daley settled in the middle of leading pack of 20 runners. On the second lap, he began working his way through the field, picking off other runners as he made his way up to his finishing position of 8th place overall and fourth England finisher, as the red rose country won in convincing style.
Mower, running in the M50 category, is a regular member for the Welsh ultra-distance team but was making his international debut in a cross country event. He had clearly done his homework well as he latched onto two runners who he knew had similar if not slightly faster times than himself in the quick opening stages. As the four-lap race unfolded, Mower used his ultra-distance strength to move through the field to reach the bell in 19th place. The hills started to sap his energy but he rallied to place 21st overall and third Welsh scorer.
Gloucester's Steve Millward was selected as a reserve for the England M35 team and ran in the Masters Open Race. He held off the pace on the first lap before moving through to third place by the half-way point. Finding himself in a battle for second place, he made his move with a mile to go but was overhauled on the run-in to finish in 3rd place. Afterwards, he said “That’s the second time that I’ve been a reserve for the England team but actually run a faster time than a couple of the scorers. I’m hoping that it will be a case of third time lucky and I will be selected next time round.”
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Sue Higgins travelled to Greece to compete in Sunday’s Athens Marathon and placed 2078th out of the 18,381 finishers in 3:45:37.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s juniors gave another good account of themselves in round two of the Gloucestershire Cross-Country League at Blackbridge.
Conditions underfoot were firm and ideal for fast running but the biting, cold wind put paid to quick times, but the youngsters demonstrated excellent fighting spirit.
The Club’s U17 ladies have been making a name for themselves in the past 12 months, both on the roads and cross-country, and are setting the pace in this League this winter.
Niamh Powell is on the way back to regaining her best form after an indifferent six months, and recovered from a marshalling problem to take a fine second place and the overall lead in the league for the season. Briony Bishop produced another strong run to finish in 4th place, with Jess Sutton coming home in 9th place to give the City squad the team victory on the day. The squad’s depth was evident as Kara Hughes came home in 12th place.
In the U15 Girls race, Bethan Powell secured a podium place for the second League race running as she took another 3rd place while Scarlett Pegler improved four places on her first round performance to place 10th.
The U13 Girls race saw Tilly Ashley improve one place on her performance in the opening round to take an excellent second place and, with Katie Mills taking 10th place and Lucy Jeffery 40th, the team took 4th place, while the U11 Girls race saw another win for Seren Jones as she continues to dominate the local scene in this age group.
The Club could only field a handful of representatives in the boys races, but those who were present all ran strongly.
With Harry Wells missing, Monty Podger and Jacob Duan carried the Gloucester flag in the U17 Mens race and, in their first League races for the Club, placed 11th and 13th respectively.
Toby Scott acquitted himself well in his first League outing since moving up an age group to the U15 Boys category, placing 18th. In the U13 Boys race, Ethan Hood improved two places from the first race to place 18th, and Arnold Margretts placed 15th in the U11 Boys race.
Club spokesman Richard Blackwell said afterwards: “These results show there is some outstanding young talent in our Club. The hard work they all put in at training is paying off in these races.”
The next round of the Gloucestershire League is on Saturday 17th December at the Katherine Lady Berkeley School in Wotton-under-Edge.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s developing strength in depth was evident on Saturday in the second round of the winter’s Gloucestershire Cross-Country League at Blackbridge on Saturday (5th).
Despite missing several runners who featured in the opening fixture due to a clash of race fixtures and injury, the Club still managed to field three complete teams in the ladies’ race and two complete teams in the men’s race and with many of the scoring runners being new to the City squad, the future is starting to look bright again after a few years in the wilderness.
With several runners looking to assume the mantle of leading performer, the men’s race was another tight affair as the Club’s first four runners home all finished within 10 places of each other.
James Walters has been in excellent form this autumn, leading the team home again for the second league race running, in 51st place. He held off the fast finishing Matt Flynn who made up several places on the final lap to place 53rd, his best-ever placing in this League.
Having only finished a morning work shift one hour before the race started, postman James Head was unsure of how his race would go. Once he settled into his running, he made his way through the field to place 58th, just ahead of 61st-placed Mark Keeling who enjoyed his best run since returning to the Gloucester club.
Steve Haines showed he is continuing to regain his form as he placed 81st while newcomer Matthew Dewey made the Club’s ‘A’ team for the first time as he placed 95th to bring the team home in 8th place overall and 6th ‘A’ team.
The first five runners home for the ‘B’ team were all newcomers in their first season of cross-country racing for the Gloucester squad. Gavin Campbell was the first home, placing 97th overall, while Harry Luckhurst (127th), Oliver Murray (136th) and Gary Fraser (140th) grouped well behind him. Alex Coveney placed 163rd and the team was completed by Clive Poole, in 185th.
Club stalwart Chris O’Carroll, now in his 73rd year, placed 224th.
As with the men’s sections, the ladies teams also featured several runners new to the City colours this season and it was one of those newcomers, Katie Davenport in her first cross-country race for the club, who led the team home in 33rd place. Grace Vido ran strongly to finish just two places behind Katie, with another newcomer to the team this season, Seren Allin, finishing another two places down to complete the ‘A’ team.
Anna Midgley ran a typically gutsy race to place 38th and lead the ‘B’ team back, ahead of Charlotte Hall who produced a much-improved performance to place 45th and Tina Wickens in 47th. Suzanne Harding placed 54th to lead the ‘C’ team home with Nicola Waters placing 73rd and Amy Walker in 84th completing the team.
Debbie Lee in 89th and Hannah Bennett who placed 145th provided strong support for the team.
Club spokesman Richard Blackwell said afterwards: “Although we were well beaten by strong squads from Cheltenham, Bath and Cirencester, it’s encouraging to see many newcomers racing in these fixtures. They’re gaining experience all the time and as we raise the intensity of the training, their performances will continue to improve.”
Welsh international ultra-distance runner Jeremy Mower led the Gloucester Athletic Club contingent home in Sunday’s Guy Fawkes 5-mile road race in Tewkesbury.
Normally racing over 50K and 100K events, Mower showed he is equally at home as he placed 10th overall and second M50 of the 365 finishers in 29:41. Dave Gresswell was the next Gloucester man home, placing 25th overall and 4th in the M50 category in 30:59, with Arthur Daley placing 35th overall and 1st M65 in 32:12. Daley ran the opening mile maybe a little too quickly for his own liking but steadied over the remaining four miles as he worked his way through the field. His time moves him up to 3rd in the national rankings for his category.
U20 Andrew McPeake ran steadily to place 46th and 1st Junior Man in 32:48, while Nigel Nash placed 68th in 34:27. Laura McPeake completed a winning double for the family as she won the junior ladies section in 80th place overall, clocking 35:53, while Kerry Newell placed 126th in 38:59.
Dave Spackman placed 137th overall and 1st M70 in 39:38 and Amanda McPeake placed 201st in 44:07.
Entries for next year’s Gloucester 20-mile road race are now open. The race takes place on Sunday 19th March around the quiet and gently undulating lanes of the Waterwells Estate and Haresfield areas and costs £20 for runners affiliated to UKA Clubs and £22 for non-affiliated runners.
The race has proved extremely popular in the past with runners preparing for spring marathons and next year’s race is already beginning to fill.
Entries are on-line only through the Gloucester AC website – www.gloucesterac.co.uk
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex George added another prestigious title to his growing collection and further enhanced his reputation when he won the South-Eastern Conference Universities Cross-Country Championship on his “home” course at Agri Park in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Friday (28th).
George led his Arkansas Razorbacks team home to their seventh consecutive team title as their five scoring runners all placed in the top 10 finishers to hold off a spirited challenge from a strong Mississippi team. On a very successful day for the college, their ladies team also won their event for the fourth straight year.
The Gloucester athlete started strongly and by the 2km point of the 8km race, was with the leading group who were laying down the marker. At the 6km point, the group had opened up a 50 metres lead on the chasing pack as George began to pull away over the closing stages to win by nine seconds in 23:25.
George’s next race should be the NCAA Regional Cross Country Championships next week.
On the other side of the world in Perth, Western Australia, Marion Loveridge was competing in the World Masters Track & Field Championships. She placed 10th in the final of the F50 Hammer with a best throw of 36.08 metres.
Six members from the Gloucester Athletic Club travelled down to Bristol for last Tuesday’s Aztec West Fast 5K road race.
Just two days after setting a personal best in the Stroud Half Marathon, James Head led the team home placing 31st in 17:26. Jeremy Mower placed 40th overall and 1st M50 in 17:44 and Arthur Daley placed 78th overall and 1st M65 in 19:13 – a time which ranks him 5th in the UK for the year.
The next two City finishers were both making their road race debuts for the team. Katie Davenport improved her personal best on the road by one minute when clocking 21:17 in 118th place, while Grace Jeffery placed 135th and 1st U20W in her first road race, clocking 22:09. Nicola Waters was the sixth member home, placing 143rd and 2nd W55 in 22:52, two days after she ran in the Stroud Half.
Over 600 runners of all ages are expected to converge on Blackbridge this Saturday for round two of the Gloucestershire Cross-Country League.
Host Club Gloucester AC will be hoping to repeat their particularly successful day in the first outing at Little Rissington in October when they achieved two age group wins through Harry Wells (U17M) and youngster Seren Jones (U11G) and fielded several teams in both senior ladies and men’s categories. The racing starts at 11:45 am.
On Sunday, the Club’s junior section will be competing in the first Sportshall competition of the season at the Whitecross Leisure Centre in Lydney. All athletes wanting to compete should speak to the team manager Claire Manley at training this week.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Briony Bishop and Natalie Ashley-Towell placed joint first in the Forest of Dean AC Yorkley Gallop, a three and a half mile cross-country event near Lydney, on Sunday (23rd).
The 1400 runners who started this year’s Stroud Half Marathon would have been grateful for the cool, dry and still weather that made for near-perfect running conditions as they took to the streets and lanes for the 34th running of the event.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s James Walters has been in the best form of his relatively short racing career in recent weeks and, following an impressive run in the previous week’s Gloucestershire Cross-Country League, he was hoping that the previous day’s Midland Cross-Country relays would not have too adverse an effect on his Stroud performance.
Walters went off hard from the gun and soon settled into a fast pace, sharing the work with other runners around him. At the half-way stage, he was just outside the top 10 and locked in a battle with Cahill of the Chard Road Running Club who eventually pulled ahead in the closing stages to place 12th with the Gloucester athlete finishing in 13th place in a new personal best time of 1:18:45.
Team mate James Head was slightly disappointed with his run, despite placing 19th in a new personal best 1:20:22. “A sub 1:20 would have been nice” he was to say later.
Russell Langley was third man home, placing 45th in 1:24:46, and with Mark Keeling placing 58th in 1:25:44, the improving City squad took a well-earned second place in the team event behind host club Stroud & District AC.
Steve Haines produced a strong run to place 61st in 1:26:13, Lee Moore was just outside the top 100 as he placed 101st in 1:29:19, while in his first race over this distance, Andrew McPeake placed 189th overall and 1st junior man in 1:35:27.
Ian Darlow, Nick Bishop and Clive Poole kept to their race plan of working together for the first 11 miles before Darlow pushed on to the finish, placing 200th in 1:35:38 as Bishop pulled away from his great friend and rival to place 204th in 1:35:46 with Poole placing 206th in 1:36:47.
Grace Vido was the Club’s first lady finisher, placing 276th in 1:38:21, ahead of Anna Midgley who placed 304th in 1:40:34, while the Club’s other finishers were Russell Kirby who placed 393rd in 1:43:25, Peter Jeffery 545th in 1:49:18, Nicola Waters 569th in 1:50:20, Amanda McPeake 944th in 2:04:14, Terry Onions 1076th in 2:12:18 and Amy Walker 1342nd in 2:50:15.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Dave Gresswell placed 261st in Sunday’s Great South run in Portsmouth in a time of 65:48.
Gloucester AC were the county’s representative at the Midlands Cross-Country Relays at Aldersley Stadium in Wolverhampton on Saturday, producing a strong performance to finish 17th team from an original entry of 115 teams.
Russell Langley started off proceedings over the 4 mile stage, which consisted of two laps of a testing and undulating course, producing a strong run to bring the team home in 32nd place on the notoriously competitive first stage with a time of 24.38 minutes.
Team captain Steve Millward, recently named as a Reserve for the England Masters XC team for the Home International in Glasgow in three weeks’ time, proved his fitness with an excellent run to move the team up 18 places to 14th overall with 21.46, the fifth quickest run of the stage and in the top 15 for the entire race.
James Walters ran leg three for Gloucester and produced a typically strong performance to bring the team back in 16th place with a time of 24.01, the day before an excellent run at the Stroud Half Marathon, while another club man celebrating an international call-up, Jeremy Mower, concluded an encouraging team performance despite being called up as a last-minute replacement, producing a time of 24.02 to finish in 17th place overall. Mower has been selected for the Welsh M50 squad to compete in the Glasgow event.
Gloucester Athletic Club are mourning the passing of their President, Norman Tincello, who has sadly died. Norman was well-known among road runners in the county as the commentator at many of the Gloucester club’s road races during the 1980s and 90s, when he would set up his PA system on the roof of his car and announce the runners as they passed by him.
His enthusiasm for the sport and his desire to find out as much about the runners in the pre-internet days endeared him to many who will have fond memories of his witty commentary.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s resurgence as a cross-country club looks set to continue as they started off their 2016-17 winter campaign in impressive style in the opening Gloucestershire Cross-Country League fixture on Saturday.
The event was held in Little Rissington near Bourton-on-the-Water for the first time over a course that included climbs that could, at best, be described as brutal and the organisers were delighted with the positive comments on the new venue.
The 2015-16 season saw the highest attendance of Gloucester runners in this League for many seasons but even those figures were eclipsed on Saturday as the senior ladies completed four scoring teams each of three runners, while the senior men completed three teams of six to highlight the spirit that has been built over the past twelve months.
The senior ladies race was won by a dominant display of front-running by Emily Smith of CLC Striders who finished nearly two minutes clear of her nearest rival. Further back, the Gloucester pair of Kim Millward and youngster Bethan Moor were working hard to earn the honour of being the first club runner home. In her first Gloucestershire League race in nearly two years, Millward prevailed to come home in 28th place, just two places ahead of Moor who was appearing in her first senior race since moving up from the U17 age group last winter.
New signing Seren Allin completed the ‘A’ team. In her first race for the Club, the Hartpury College student took an excellent 39th to bring the team home in 7th place overall.
Team captain Anna Midgley led the ‘B’ team home, when placing 43rd, just ahead of Grace Vido in 47th and with Suzanne Harding finishing in 52nd place the ‘B’ team took 12th place overall.
Newcomer Tina Wickens, in her first cross-country race for the Club took 55th place to lead the ‘C’ team home, ahead of Lindsey Lyes (61st) and Charlotte Hall in 66th as the team placed 17th, while the ‘D’ team was led home by another Hartpury College student making her Club debut, Grace Jeffrey, who placed 67th. Kirsty Reid placed 80th and Beryl Sampson 87th to bring the team home in 28th place of the 37 complete teams.
Providing reserve support was Liz Clegg, who placed 113th of the 147 finishers.
Judging by the men’s race, there will be some keen competition among the Club’s men to establish themselves as the leading performer over the country this winter.
James Head and James Walters battled throughout the senior race on Saturday with neither gaining a clear advantage until the final run-in. On this occasion, it was James Head who led the ‘A’ team home when he placed 47th overall, just two places ahead of his team mate in 49th place.
Like Walters, Russell Langley was one of the bright new discoveries of last winter as both established themselves in the Club’s senior squad. Langley showed he is regaining his form following an injury by placing 55th, just ahead of team mate Matt Flynn who recorded his best-ever league placing in 56th place.
The next city scorer home was former Severn AC man, Mark Keeling, who moved back to the City ranks at the end of the summer. He showed his racing experience and worked through the pack to finish in 59th place while another ex-Severn athlete Austin Blackburn placed 71st to complete the ‘A’ team in 5th place overall. Both Keeling and Blackburn will prove to be massive additions to the Club’s squads and their experience and no-nonsense attitudes will help influence their less-experienced team mates over the coming season.
The ‘B’ team was led home by Steve Haines in 79th place. He was then followed by three athletes making their debuts for the cross-country team. Matthew Dewey just held off Gavin Campbell as they placed 91st and 92nd respectively and Alex Coveney came home in 96th, just ahead of Matt Powell in 97th. Another newcomer, Oliver Murray, placed 104th to bring the team home in 16th place overall.
One of the Club’s more experienced athletes led the ‘C’ team home. Dave Gresswell, in his 43rd race of 2016, held on to place 125th ahead of Lee Moore who placed 145th in his first Gloucestershire League race, Arthur Daley in 149th, team captain Aaron Bennett in 153rd , newcomer Gary Fraser in 177th and Clive Poole in 182nd as the team finished in 23rd place of the 25 completed teams.
Reserve back up was provided by stalwarts Paul Loveridge, who placed 198th, and Chris O’Carroll in 238th place.
Club vice-Chairman Richard Blackwell said afterwards: “It was great to see so many Gloucester vests out competing today as it gave us a real presence in what is a very competitive fixture. What was particularly pleasing was the fact we had so many runners making their Club debuts. The signs are that we’re moving on from the huge steps we made last year and there is a real buzz around the Club right now.”
The seniors were not the only ones making waves, however, as there were some tremendous successes for the Club’s younger athletes.
Harry Wells kicked his season off in the best possible manner by coming home a clear victor in the U17 Men’s race. The promising youngster, who is the reigning County U17 champion, has continued to develop under the guidance of coach Paul de-Camps and looks set for another successful season. The U15 Boys race saw Owen Fishpool place 5th to underline his improvement since joining the Club’s junior endurance squad, while Ethan Hood crept into the top 20 finishers in his first U13 Boys race since moving up an age group.
The U17 Ladies produced the outstanding team result of the day when winning their category. Niamh Powell took an excellent third place to lead the team home, followed by Briony Bishop in 5th and debutante Jess Sutton in 7th place. Laura McPeake placed 9th and another newcomer, Kara Hughes, placed 12th.
The U15 Girls race saw Bethan Powell and Scarlett Pegler both making their first appearance in this age group since moving up and both adapted well as they placed third and 14th respectively, while Tilly Ashley showed her progression as she place third in the U13 Girls race.
The talented Seren Jones was a comfortable winner of the U11 Girls race and received solid support from team mate Amelia Newell who took third place to complete a hugely successful day for the Club.
Further afield, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex George continued his excellent start to the 2016-17 cross-country season when placing 14th in the Pre-National Invitational event in Terre Haute, Indiana. His brother Thomas placed 53rd in the Bradley Classic meet in Peoria, Illinois while Nathan Smith placed 185th in Sunday’s Mizuno Amsterdam Half Marathon in 1:25:50.
Gloucester Athletic Club members Clive Poole and Michelle Stark travelled up to Derbyshire at the weekend to compete in the Tissington Trail Half Marathon, a flat course on the site of an old railway line.
The dry, sunny yet chilly weather made for perfect running conditions as Clive placed 33rd of the 397 finishers in 1:34:22 while Michelle placed 111th in 1:47:20.
Closer to home, Anna Midgley was 5th lady home in Sunday’s Bisley 10K race in 47:23.
This Saturday (15th) sees the opening fixture of this winter’s Gloucestershire Cross-Country League at Little Rissington.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s ladies and men’s teams will be hoping to consolidate and build on their excellent season last year when they achieved their highest placings for many years.
Gloucester Athletic Club shall be holding their annual Awards Evening at the RBL Club in Hardwicke on Friday night, starting at 7pm.
All Club members and families are welcome to attend.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex George followed up his outstanding win in the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Boston, Mass, with a second place in the Chile Pepper Festival Cross-country event in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Saturday (1st).
George clocked 23:33.2 for the 4.97 miles course, just holding off team mate Frankline Tonui by one tenth of a second, to lead his University of Arkansas team to victory in the Inter-Collegiate event.
A small group of Gloucester Athletic Club members travelled down to Bristol last Tuesday (27th) to compete in the first race of the Aztec West Fast 5K 2016-17 series.
James Head showed that he is approaching good form going into the winter season when he clocked a new personal best time of 17:26 to lead the Gloucester team home in 27th place.
Chasing him hard was Jeremy Mower who placed 33rd overall and 1st in the M50 category in 17:45 while Simon Fortnam continued his return to racing fitness as he placed 46th and 2nd M45 in 18:32.
Arthur Daley started off this winter series as he finished the summer series, by leading the M65 category home in 61st place with a 19:19 clocking. Charlotte Hall was next home, placing 96th in 22:44 and Nicola Waters placed 106th in 23:31.
On the same evening as the opening winter series race, awards were presented for the previous summer’s series. Nicola Waters won the W55 category and Jeremy Mower and Arthur Daley won M50 and M60 age groups respectively.
Gloucester Athletic Club have commenced their winter training programmes with the established senior groups meeting at the Blackbridge headquarters each Tuesday and Thursday evening. More details can be obtained by ringing 07817 974630.
The Club’s 365 Academy for 8-13 year olds will be commencing their indoor training next Tuesday (11th) at the Robin Greaves Sports Hall, Waterwells Sports Centre, Quedgeley between 5:45 - 6:45pm. Anyone interested in this group should e-mail email@example.com
Gloucester Athletic Club fielded four teams in Saturday’s Area Road Relays at Sutton Park in Birmingham and all produced encouraging performances to suggest their athletes are due another good winter season.
The first race featured the Under-17 ladies, consisting of three legs each of 3.88 kms, and the talented Gloucester squad had high hopes of finishing in the top 10 finishers.
Briony Bishop gave the team a strong start, placing 10th of the 26 runners in 15:27, her fastest time over this testing course by a considerable margin. Natalie Ashley-Towell took over on leg two and kept the team in contention with a 16:26 leg, before handing over to Laura McPeake on the final leg who produced a 15:51 leg to bring the team home in an excellent 8th place overall.
Two Gloucester AC teams were among the 90 entrants that contested the senior ladies race which consisted of four legs of 4.33 kms.
Youngster Bethan Moor ran the opening leg for the ‘A’ team and produced a strong run to come home in an encouraging 33rd place with a 17:59 clocking. Kim Millward took up the running on leg two and ran a storming 17:48 to move the team up to 25th place, handing over to Suzanne Harding who in her first race since returning from a foot injury gained a further two places with an 18:48 leg. Kirsty Reid clocked 19:25 on leg four to bring the ‘A’ team home in a very credible 27th place overall.
Nicola Waters ran the opening leg for the ‘B’ team. One day ahead of the Cheltenham Half Marathon, she clocked 20:28 to place 63rd before handing over to Charlotte Hall who made up seven places with a 19:55 leg. Hannah Bennett ran a solid 24:56 leg to hand over to Helen Davies who clocked 24:05 to bring the ‘B’ team home in 68th place overall.
A record 115 teams started the senior men’s event that consisted of six legs of 5.85 kms. James Walters led the team off and placed 55th with a 21:50 leg before handing over to youngster Andrew McPeake making his senior team debut in this event. Running a mature race, he clocked 22:59 to come home in 58th place. Jack Evans ran leg three and made up 10 places with a 20:46 clocking, handing over to Nathan Smith on the fourth leg. Smith ran a solid 21:11 to move the team up to 45th, handing over to team captain Steve Millward who ran the fastest time of the day, 19:53. Austin Blackburn clocked 21:56 on the final leg to bring the team home in 40th place.
The Club could only field an incomplete ‘B’ team in the senior men’s race. Steve Haines opened up with a 23:02 clocking in 76th place, Aaron Bennett clocked 25:39 on the second leg and Russell Kirby ran 26:49 on leg three.
Sunny but windy conditions greeted the runners for Sunday’s Cheltenham Half Marathon which was run over a different route this year. James Walters led the Gloucester Athletic Club group home, placing 19th in 1:20:22, just over one minute down on the time he set in last year’s race.
Russell Langley placed 66th in 1:27:02, just ahead of Dave Gresswell who placed 67th overall and 2nd in the M50 category in 1:27:06, the same time as Nathan Smith who had not targeted this race as part of his racing programme and so used it mainly as a training exercise, while Matt Powell, who was celebrating his birthday, faded over the latter stages to place 85th in 1:28:30.
Further back, Nick Bishop placed 282nd in 1:37:20, Ian Darlow placed 337th in 1:38:44, Amy Walker placed 506th in 1:39:55, Chris Davis 581st in 1:43:25, Nicola Waters 739th in 1:48:31, Peter Jeffery 1071st in 1:55:13, Helen Davies 2638th in 2:26:48 and Claire Manley placed 2941st in 2:21:29.
In the Cirencester Park 10km event on Sunday, Jack Evans was Gloucester's first finisher, placing 6th of the 283 runners in 36:24. Next home was Jeremy Mower who placed 11th in 37:36. Paul Loveridge placed 81st in 46:15 and Michelle Stark 164th in 53:31.
At the Bristol Half Marathon, Gavin Campbell clocked 1:28:20 and Neil Hobbs 1:55:51 while at the Forest of Dean Trail Half Marathon, Clive Poole placed 92nd in 1:40:3.
Gloucester Athletic Club struck double gold at the British Master Athletics championships at the weekend when both Steve Millward and Jeremy Mower were victorious in their respective age groups in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Millward dominated the M35 age group race from the gun. He went straight to the front of the field and was never headed as he came home some 80 metres clear of the second placed runner in a new Championship Best Performance time of 10:04.68.
Mower’s performance in the M50 event was equally impressive, winning by 90 seconds in 11:33.22, his fastest time for three years.
More medals were to come Gloucester’s way in the form of Marion Loveridge and Arthur Daley. Loveridge produced her second-furthest throw of the season, 39.38 metres, to take the bronze medal in the W50 hammer event, while Daley stuck to his race plan to also take bronze in the M65 5,000 metres in 19:22.20.
As part of his challenge to complete 50 races in this calendar year, Dave Gresswell’s latest event was Sunday’s Worcester 10km road race.
Warm, sunny conditions greeted the runners for this city centre event and, despite starting to feel the effects of having previously completed 40 races of his challenge, Gresswell placed 62nd overall and 2nd in the M50 age group in 38:43.
The son and father pairing of Owen and Adrian Fishpool competed at Saturday’s Great Highnam Court 5K and 10K events over a course around the landscaped gardens and lakes of Highnam Court, just outside the City.
Youngster Owen comfortably won the 5K event in 19:57, over two minutes ahead of his nearest challenger, while dad Adrian placed 17th in the 10K event in 47:11.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Paul Corderoy placed 15th overall and 3rd M50 in the Tooting Bec 24-hours track race at the weekend.
Despite an interrupted training programme leading up to the event, the Gloucester runner clocked 172.295 kms (107.06 miles).
Gloucester Athletic Club’s U17 Ladies team of Briony Bishop, Natalie Ashley-Towell and Laura McPeake won the ladies team prize at the Rose Inn Relays at Caldicot Gwent on Monday evening (12th) as a warm-up ahead of the Midland Road Relays championships later this month.
In a massed start, Briony gave the team an excellent start, clocking 12:13.1 for the opening 1.91 miles leg. Natalie took over on leg two and ran a very confident 12:27.9 leg before handing over to Laura on the final leg who clocked the team’s fastest time of 11:57.3 to bring the girls home in 17th place overall of the 98 teams and the first all-ladies team.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Nathan Smith was victorious in Sunday’s multi-terrain Apperley Quarter Marathon, clocking 38:15
M50 Ian Summers was the next Club runner to finish, placing 19th in 44:26, while Amy Walker continued her comeback to racing when placing 34th in 48:23. Chris Davis placed 57th in 50:54 and Lyndsey Lyes placed 67th in 51:50. Anna Midgley and Charlotte Hall used the charity event as a training run and placed 159th and 160th in 62:15 and 62:16 respectively.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Arthur Daley represented the England Masters team in the Home International that was incorporated into the Cardiff 10km on Sunday and placed 240th overall of the 4500 finishers and 4th in the M65 age group in 40:01, his fastest time of the year.
The runway of the Gloucestershire Airport in Staverton was the unusual setting of the Meteor Mile, held in torrential rain on Saturday (3rd).
Gloucester Athletic Club had three runners finishing in the top 10 as Jack Evans ran strongly to place 4th in 4:58, ahead of Nathan Smith who placed 6th in 5:07 and Andrew McPeake who placed 8th overall and first U20 in a best mile time of 5:09.
Dave Gresswell placed 15th overall and first M50 in a season’s best 5:27, while Laura McPeake continued her good form as she placed 25th overall and 1st lady in a personal best 5:43 as she held off Ian Summers who placed 26th in 5:44.
Youngster Barnaby Huxtable placed 53rd of the 153 finishers in a personal best 6:32.
Heavy overnight rain meant Sunday’s Woodchester Park 8-miles Multi Terrain race was more challenging than usual but it did not deter the group of Gloucester Athletic Club runners taking part.
James Head coped with the slippery conditions better than many, leading the City runners home placing 8th of the 120 finishers in 55:36 while Russell Langley returned to multi-terrain racing and placed 12th in 57:57.
Clive Poole was the next to finish, placing 46th in 67:34, ahead of Lindsey Lyes who placed 55th in 70:06, Amy Walker (57th in 70:36) and Nicola Waters (80th in 75:33).
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Joel Townley (15) brought his season to a close when placing 7th in the triple jump at the Sainsbury’s School Games at Loughborough on Friday (2nd).
The Gloucester youngster recorded a best jump of 13.22m, a very respectable effort given the injury problems that have affected his season.
Another City youngster was victorious in Sunday’s Ross 5km Fun run. 14 years-old Owen Fishpool crossed the line in 19:54.
Simon Fortnam is another athlete who has had an injury-hit past two years. He made a tentative return to racing at the Stonehouse 5km Park Run on Saturday, placing 3rd in 18:51.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior and U17 ladies well-drilled sprint relay teams were untoubled as they both cruised to victory in their respective categories at the County Relays Championships at Cheltenham’s Prince of Wales Stadium on Friday evening (19th).
Both squads had worked hard in training in the two weeks leading up to the event and were rewarded with the gold medals as the senior team of Sophie Lambert, Dayna Willoughby, LJ Phillips and Catherine Hardy won in 50.0 seconds and the U17s team of Erin MacFarlaine, Sophie Temple, Kirstie Constable and Bethany Gardiner won in 53.0 seconds.
Later in the evening, Temple, Gardiner and Constable joined forces with Alidia Vaile to claim another gold, this time in the U17 Ladies 4 x 400 metres relay to complete a successful meeting for the Gloucester ladies.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Andy McKenzie travelled to Horspath in Oxford on Wednesday evening (17th) for the Oxford City AC open meeting. Competing in the hammer event, he threw the 6kg weight a season's best 29.25m to extend his own M55 club record by 84cm and move to 16th in the national age group rankings. McKenzie threw the 7.26kg hammer 26.60m in the Avon League recently to rank 16th nationally with the senior weight hammer in the M55 age group, and no. 1 in the south west.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Clive Poole achieved his first top-10 finish in over two years of racing when he placed 9th of the 120 finishers in the Race The River 15km Multi-terrain event alongside the banks of the River Avon near Bath on Sunday (21st).
Two members of Gloucester Athletic Club’s growing disability group have firmly established themselves among the UK ranking lists.
Chloe Ford and Josh Freeman feature in the T34 and T33 wheelchair categories for Under-13s respectively and have made significant progress since taking up the sport at the Blackbridge track in Podsmead under the guidance of coaches Bob Purcell and Helen Hoy.
They first raced over 100m at the 2015 County Athletics Championships when wheelchair racing was first introduced into the event and both came away with gold medals.
In their latest races, over 100 and 200 metres at last week’s All-Ability Athletics Festival at Blackbridge, both posted times to rank in the nation’s top 20. Chloe now ranks 8th in the 100m and 4th in the 200 metres, while Josh ranks 14th in the 100m and 13th in the 200 metres.
Bob Purcell, leader of the Disability Group, says “The times are just reward for the amount of hard work these youngsters put into their athletics. The Blackbridge track facility has been promoting athletics for people with a disability for two years now and we’re starting to see those benefits.”
Perfect racing conditions greeted the entrants of Sunday’s Standish Woodland Chase, the multi-terrain race run over a 10-miles course that takes in parts of the Cotswold Way and surrounding Cotswold escarpment.
In a rare outing, Jack Evans led the small Gloucester Athletic Club contingent home, placing 7th of the 129 finishers, in 62:35.
Dave Gresswell followed, placing 19th in 68:51, while Clive Poole placed 58th in a course-best 79:16 with Dave Spackman placing 76th in 83:56.
Two of Gloucester Athletic Club’s young throwers were in medal-winning form at regional junior Championships at the weekend.
Chloe Jones added 30 cms to her previous best when launching the discus out to 32.46 metres to win silver medal at the Midland U17s Championships at Nuneaton, while Jonathan Jones went one better to win the gold medal in the U20 men’s hammer event with a best throw of 58.97m in the Welsh Junior Championships at Newport.
Nathan Smith was the first Gloucester Athletic Club and first local runner to complete Sunday’s gruelling Gloucester City Marathon run around the city centre and surrounding villages.
Despite the early-morning start, temperatures soared into the mid-20s and the accompanying gusty wind made for unpleasant conditions for many of the 650-plus finishers, many of whom were running in their first marathon.
Bournemouth’s Steve Way was a clear victor, crossing the finish line in 2:29:45, nearly six minutes ahead of his nearest challenger. Smith’s time of 2:57:15 was around 15 minutes down on what he would have expected, but he still placed a very credible seventh and said immediately afterwards that he would be donating his cash prize as first local finisher to a local charity.
Ultra-distance specialist Jeremy Mower was another to find the conditions difficult and made a conscious decision after 10 miles to ease off the fast pace and just focus on finishing. He placed 12th overall in 3:02:28, two places ahead of James Head who clocked 3:06:40.
Steve Haines was the next City club runner home, placing 36th in 3:21:07, while other Club members to finish were Nicola Waters (275th, 4:16:04), Lindsey Lyes (338th, 4:28:40), Chris Davis (573rd, 5:26:41), Pam Storey (597th, 5:39:32) and Graham Davis (621st, 5:56:32)
Throughout its 60-year history, the Cranham Boundary race has had several guises: it was traditionally a road race run around the lanes of the picturesque Cotswold village and its common, when it established itself as one of the fixtures and a firm favourite of the county racing calendar, to its current format, a four miles multi-terrain race over a tough course that includes several steep climbs.
Whilst not attracting the large numbers of the past, over 40 runners toed the line of the 2016 event on Saturday in very warm and sunny conditions. Douglas Wight of the Almost Athletes club in Cheltenham emerged the victor, clocking 26:03, ahead of the second-placed finisher Nick Wills (27:25) and third-placed Jon Mansfield of Tewkesbury AC (29:01).
The first Gloucester AC runner home was Clive Poole, who placed 22nd in 36:20. Charlotte Hall placed 24th overall and 4th lady in 37:45 and Terry Onions placed 27th in 40:22.
Earlier in the week, four Gloucester AC members travelled down to Bristol to compete in Westbury Harriers’ Blaize Blazer a four mile multi-terrain event. Dave Gresswell led the quartet home, placing 17th in 26:59, ahead of Ian Summers who placed 20th in 27:49. Lindsey Lyes placed 38th in 30:17 and Charlotte Hall 48th in 32:09.
There was massive disappointment for Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior track & field team as they placed fifth of the six teams in the final Midland League Division three fixture of the season at Solihull on Saturday.
Despite the overall result, which meant they could not avoid the inevitable relegation to Division Four next season, there were still a host of excellent individual performances that showed had there been more depth to the City squad, they would have comfortably coped with the demands of this extremely competitive league.
Thrower Tim Williams ended his league season on a high note. The Club’s most consistent performer throughout the season, he again dominated his speciality, the hammer throw, to end the league season unbeaten. He then won the shot putt and the javelin, with a massive new personal best throw of 50.97m, before placing second in the discus.
Alex and Tom George rounded off their summer vacation from their respective American universities by turning out in the 3,000 metres and showed their class by pulling away from the pack over the final 600 metres to claim victories in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ strings.
The Paul de-Camps training group again performed well. Andrew de-Camps and Harry Wells won their 800 metres races, the latter recording his second fastest-ever time over the two-lap event. Hayley Winters and Bethan Moor had to work hard in the heat to earn third places in the 3,000 metres ladies event, with Hayley later doubling up to race in the 1500 metres.
Tom Beckett performed solidly in the long and triple jumps before setting a season’s best in the high jump, and there was a double success for Charlotte Stallard and Vikki Kirby in the ladies hammer throw, Vikki improving her personal best by over five and a half metres to 31.00 metres.
The lady sprinters continue to improve. Sophie Lambert took two second places in the 100 and 200 metres, the latter in a season’s best, and there were encouraging performances from LJ Phillips and Sophie Temple in their first seasons of senior competition. The three teamed up with Dayna Willoughby to secure an excellent win in the 4 x 100m relay.
After the match, team manager Richard Blackwell said “Of course we’re disappointed to be relegated and we must look at how and where we must improve for next year, which will not be easy with such a small base of athletes to choose from. However, we must take the positives from the season, especially how the youngsters who we brought into the team coped with their first taste of senior competition. I’m disappointed that the overall result does not reflect the huge amount of hard work and commitment put in by many athletes and coaches, but that is sport.”
Leamington 359 pts; Coventry 347.5; Bromsgrove & Redditch 336; Telford 335.5; Gloucester 259; Worcester 226.
Final league table:
Worcester 19 pts; Leamington 16; Coventry 15.5; Telford 13.5; Bromsgrove & Redditch 11; Gloucester 9.
Gloucester Athletic Club members have been busy competing in a range of events over the past few weeks.
At Sunday’s Avon Track & Field League fixture at Blackbridge, Dayna Willoughby produced the stand-out performances on the track setting season’s best times as she cruised to victories in the 100 and 200 metres in 12.7 and 25.8 seconds respectively. Team mate Sophie Lambert was equally impressive, equalling her season’s best over 100m (12.8 seconds) before taking victory in the 200m ‘B’ string in 27.0 seconds, her fastest for two years.
However, the senior men’s hammer event was the outstanding competition of the day as Tim Williams’s 60.96m was good enough to beat team mate Jacob Lange’s best throw of 57.79m.
Throughout the match, there were many encouraging performances by the City athletes as they go in search of competition before the season closes.
Meanwhile, Arthur Daley was racing in the 10,000m at the British Masters Championships at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium. With temperatures in the low 20s and a strong head wind on the home straight, Daley stayed off the fast early pace but used the conditions to his advantage as he came home in 41:12.6 to win the bronze medal in the M65 age group.
Despite having suffered a foot injury during the week, Suzanne Harding ran in the Open mile at the same meeting and ran even-paced laps to place second in the W40 in 6:06.0.
Club stalwart Ian Summers had a busy July. Not only did he compete in three road and multi-terrain races, he also completed the 140-miles Coast-to-coast cycle challenge. In his latest race, his 30th of the year in his attempt to complete fifty races in the year he celebrates his 50th birthday, he placed 14th of 135 finishers in the Brean Down 10k Multi-Terrain Challenge in 49:28.
Several Gloucester AC distance runners competed in the last of the summer's Aztec West 5k road race. First Club runner home was once again Jeremy Mower in 35th place and second M50 in 17:30 to win the series title for the age group. James Head completed the three lap course in 41st place with 17:52, a personal best while Matt Flynn also set a personal best of 18:10 in 48th place.
Steve Haines, in his first 5k for five years, used the shorter faster race as part of his preparations for next week’s Gloucester Marathon, placed 75th in 19:12. Arthur Daley ran in 82nd with 19:31 for first M65 prize on the night and the series. Nicola Waters also running the Gloucester Marathon completed her series of wins in the W55 category with steady 22:15 for 120th position.
Four Gloucester AC runners took part in the Blaisdon 10k. Dave Gresswell finished the hilly course in 39:08 to place 8th overall and 1st M50, ahead of Nigel Nash who clocked 43;40 in 24th place, Kirsty Reid 41st overall and second senior lady in 44:46 and Charlotte Hall, who sped up over the last two miles to complete the 10k in 65th place with 49:53
Gloucester Athletic Club bests tumbled at the recent Bourton One Mile Road Race. First to go was the M50 best as Jeremy Mower cruised home in 5:09 for 12th place. Bethan Powell set a won Bronze in the U15 County Championship with 5:37 in 26th place which would place her 3rd in the U23 rankings. Nigel Nash was the next Gloucester runner to finish on the village green with a strong second half mile as he stormed to a 5:52 PB time to take the Gold in the M55 Glos AAA Championship, just ahead of Niamh Powell, who placed 41st overall in 5:53. Also taking Gold and a bettering her own W40 club best by 12 seconds in 5:54 was Suzanne Harding who retained her 3rd place in the County W40 rankings. Two second behind- and one second off equalling his club best - was her coach and M65 Silver medallist Arthur Daley, Both ran a faster first quarter mile before slowing to consolidate and then picking up their pace over the last 400m. Daley is now second on the national ranking list for 2016. Dave Spackman took the M70 Gold medal in 7:35 to rank 5th in the UK.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Catherine Hardy placed 3rd in the 100 metres at the junior representative match at Cardiff, clocking 12.36 seconds into a strong headwind. Hardy was delighted with her run, beating several of the leading junior sprinters in the region and went some way to putting her disappointment from the English Schools Championships, where she was controversially disqualified, behind her.
There were club records aplenty for Gloucester AC members at the first of the Cheltenham Midweek Summer Open meetings on Wednesday 13th July. Four came in the rarely run 150m distance, in the U11 Boys category, Arnold Margretts ran an impressive 23.15 to knock .35 off the old record, while Rory Cawkwell took the U17 Men's record with 17.28. Dayna Willoughby broke the senior female record with 19.27 despite running with her wrist in plaster. In the masters age group, M40 Ian Beard knocked over 3 seconds off the old record with 18.87.
Others who had a run out over the distance were Justin Smith (SM) 17.79 pb, Catherine Hardy (FU20) 18.75 pb, Laura Phillips (SF) 21.13 pb, Ellie Luff (FU15) 21.73 pb, Kirstie Constable (FU17) 21.25 pb, Jada George (FU15) 22.07 pb.
Again, over a rarely run distance, Steve Millward broke the M35 300m record with a time of 40.98. Earlier in the evening, he ran the 400m hurdles in a season's best 62.59. Alidia Vaile timed 46.84 over 300m, while Briony Bishop ran 2,35.75 for 800m, and over the same two-lap distance, Katrina Bennett (FU15) timed 2,42.02, Suzanne Harding (F40) 2,37.51, Kerry Newell (F40) 2,55.86,
Jeremy Mower broke his M50 5000m record set only the previous week with a time of 17,36.05. In the same race Matt Powell (M40) ran 18,21.34.
In the field, Ellie Luff cleared 1.30 in the high jump whilst in the long jump Arnold Margretts leapt 3.46 and Jada George 3.65.
Andy McKenzie had a frustrating evening in the hammer - he threw what would have been a pb in the first round of his M55 6kg hammer, only for the throw to be called a foul as he touched the top of the circle. He managed a best in the fourth round of 28.08. and went on to increase his pb and club record in the M55 600g javelin to 16.48. Marion Loveridge threw a best of 38.35 in the F50 hammer.
Gloucester Athletic Club records tumbled at the Bourton Mile Road Race on Saturday. First to go was the M50 record as Jeremy Mower cruised home in 5:09 for 12th place. Bethan Powell set a won Bronze in the U15 County Championship with 5:37 in 26th place which would place her 3rd in the U23 rankings. (There are none for U15s.) Nigel Nash was the next Gloucester runner to finish on the village green with a strong second half mile as he stormed to a 5:52 PB time to take the Gold in the Glos AAA Championship. One second behind in 05:53 Niamh Powell just pipped Suzanne Harding who also took Gold and a bettered her own W40 club record by 12 seconds in 5:54. She retained her 3rd place in the W40 rankings. Two second behind- and 1 second off equalling his club record - was her coach and M65 Silver medallist Arthur Daley: both ran a faster first quarter mile before slowing to consolidate then improving pace over the last 400m. Daley is now second on the national ranking list. Dave Spackman took the M70 Gold medal in 7:35 to rank 5th in the UK.
There was a healthy Gloucester Athletic Club presence in the Gloucester 10K road race on Sunday (10th) as well over 600 runners made their way through the City’s streets.
Early morning rain and a blustery wind helped to lower the temperatures, making pleasant racing conditions though many were affected by the twisting course that lowered the times throughout.
Unusually for a mixed gender race, the event was won by a lady as Cardiff’s Camilla Barnes cruised to an eleven seconds victory in 37:20, but further down the field there were some intriguing personal battles among the Gloucester club’s athletes as they sought to settle some friendly rivalries.
Dave Gresswell and Matt Powell have been great Club mates but fierce competitive rivals in recent years with neither being able to consistently claim the upper hand. This time out, it was Gresswell who took the honours as he was the first Club runner to cross the line in 10th place overall and second in the M50 category with a 40:05 clocking. Powell was just behind, in 12th place in 40:12 and although disappointed to lose out to Gresswell he will have been partly satisfied with a 1st place in the M40 category.
Since becoming a father in the spring, Steve Haines has raced sparingly. He showed glimpses of his past form by placing 15th and 2nd M40 in 40:39, with Matt Newman placing 17th in 40:50 and Arthur Daley placing 20th and 1st M60 in 42:00.
Clive Poole and Nick Bishop have enjoyed many private battles over the past 12 months, with honours being shared. This time it was Poole who prevailed as he crossed the line in 48th place in 44:28, 20 seconds ahead of Bishop in 54th place.
Chris Davis was the next Club runner home, just creeping into the top 100 as he clocked 47:37, while Lindsey Lyes placed 103rd in 48:01, Charlotte Hall 122nd in 48:46 and the group was completed by two members who have only just returned to running after giving birth. Amy Walker placed 127th in 49:02 and Helen Davies 455th in 63:54 which will give them both a spur for the future.
Several of Gloucester Athletic Club’s leading young athletes were representing their county at the English Schools National Track & Field Championships at Gateshead at the weekend.
Hammer throwers Jonathan Jones and Ellen Thrall have been in excellent form this season, featuring in the country’s top 10 ranking lists. They were, therefore, hopeful of making their respective finals in this, the pinnacle of their schools’ athletics careers.
Both comfortably qualified from Friday’s qualifying rounds to take their places in Saturday’s finals where Jonathan threw out of his skin to improve his personal best by two and a half metres to place 6th in the senior boys’ event with 61.07 metres. Inspired by her training colleague, Ellen also performed well, placing 9th in the senior girls final with 43.99 metres.
A recent injury had restricted Joel Townley’s training in recent weeks following a promising start to the season, but he still performed well in the Intermediate Boys triple jump where he placed 9th in the final with a best jump of 13.23 metres.
Despite training well all year, sprinter Catherine Hardy has not quite scaled the heights of last season when she was ranked in the country’s top 20 junior sprinters. In this, her last English Schools event before moving to Cardiff University in the autumn, she was hopeful of making the senior girls’ 100 metres final where she would be up against her main local rival and event favourite, Sophie Yorke of Cheltenham. Catherine clocked 12.25 seconds in her heat as both qualified for Saturday’s final with the two being drawn in adjacent lanes. The final saw the Cheltenham athlete buckle under the pressure at the start as she was adjudged to have moved ahead of the gun and, therefore, disqualified from the event. Unfortunately, Catherine reacted to her rival’s movement and was also removed from the final. Richard Blackwell, one of Catherine’s coaches at the Gloucester club, said “I am hugely disappointed for Catherine as this is a very harsh disqualification, given that she naturally reacted to another athlete moving from their blocks. I am surprised the team management didn’t lodge an appeal, but we have to accept the final decision.”
Whilst the Club’s youngsters were performing with credit at the English Schools event, two of the Club’s athletes at the opposite end of their careers were engaged in an intriguing battle as Richard Blackwell and Ian Willoughby turned the clocks back over 30 years as they raced in the Avon League fixture at Yate on Sunday (10th). The Masters 100 metres attracted athletes of all ages over 35 and saw the Gloucester pair matched among others against an athlete nearly 20 years their junior. However, the three produced possibly the most competitive and closest race of the afternoon as Philip Lucker (M35) from the host club just held on to win in 13.2 seconds, ahead of Blackwell who was given the same time, and Willoughby who placed 3rd in 13.3 seconds. Both Blackwell’s and Willoughby’s times were new Club age group bests.
However, it wasn’t just the old ones giving the master classes, as Sophie Lambert clocked a season’s best 12.5 seconds to win the senior ladies 100 metres and training partner Rory Cawkwell won the U17 men’s race in 11.4 seconds. Dayna Willoughby won the senior ladies 400 metres in 60.5 seconds, while Laura Phillips placed 3rd in the ‘B’ race in 64.7 seconds.
Despite several improved individual performances, Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior track & field could only manage 6th place in round three of the Midland Athletics League match at Worcester last Saturday (2nd).
The result leaves them in 6th place overall and with one match remaining, relegation from Division Three of the league is very much on the cards.
The unseasonal cold and windy conditions made life difficult for the track athletes but there were several performances to cheer.
Sprinters Sophie Lambert, Sophie Temple and Laura Phillips produced their best runs of the season; Lambert’s trademark blistering start in the 100 metres saw her up with the leaders at halfway and she maintained her form to take second place in a season’s best 12.8 seconds. Both Temple and Phillips are in their first season in the senior team and continued their development with their first-ever senior wins in the 200m and 400m ‘B’ races respectively. The three joined forces with Beth Gardiner to take a well-earned second place in the 4 x 100m relay.
Jeremy Mower was a welcome late addition to the squad and marked his first League race of the season with a victory in the 2,000m steeplechase ‘B’ race.
Further podium places on the track were gained by Rory Cawkwell and Justin Smith, who both took third places in their respective ‘A’ and ‘B’ 100 metres races, Andrew de-Camps continued his return to fitness with a second place in the 800 metres, Mike Mansfield took third place in the 5,000 metres and Steve Millward took third place in both the 400m Hurdles and the steeplechase. For the women, Dayna Willoughby battled through the driving rain to take third place in the 400m ‘A’ race, as did Helen Pritchard in the 100m Hurdles, while there were second places for Laura McPeake in the 1500 metres and Hayley Winters in the 3,000 metres.
The field events also produced podium places. The hammer throwers continued their remarkable domination of this event as Tim Williams took his third straight league win of the season, while Andy McKenzie won the ‘B’ string. For the ladies, Charlotte Stallard and Ellen Thrall also took maximum points. Tom Beckett took third place in both the men’s long and triple jumps and there was a third place for Alex Purcell in the women’s long jump while Helen Pritchard and Sophie Temple both placed second in the high jump ‘A’ and ‘B strings.
Afterwards, team manager Richard Blackwell said “We were missing several athletes for one reason or another and whilst the replacements did their very best, we just weren’t good enough on the day. We need to finish in the top two in the final match to give ourselves a chance of staying up. We’re capable of that, but only if we can get all of our top athletes out.”
The wet and windy conditions might have put paid to fast times at last week’s Aztec West 5km race at Bristol, but didn’t prevent age-category wins for the group of Gloucester Athletic Club runners that made the trip.
Jeremy Mower led the Club home in 41st place and first M50 in 17:41 to increase his lead in that age group in the race series while Arthur Daley added to his tally of M60 wins, placing 90th in 19:25 with what he later described as probably the most evenly-paced race he has run in 50 years of competing. Sandwiched in between was Hayley Winters who placed 82nd overall and 5th senior lady in 19:18. Bethan Moor was running her first event 5km road race and placed 93rd overall and 1st U17 lady in 19:32, despite fading over the final kilometre. Finally, Nicola Waters placed 163rd and 1st W55 in 22:08.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Rose-Anne Galligan’s hopes of qualifying for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro came to a shattering halt when she suffered a torn hamstring during an 800 metres race at the IAAF Challenge in Madrid and was stretchered off the track.
Galligan, who is the Irish national record holder over 800 metres, had been tantalisingly close to achieving the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:01.50 on several occasions during May and June. She had planned to race in the Irish Championships in Dublin at the weekend and then go in search of the qualifying standard, but these plans were dashed in disappointing fashion.
Gloucester Athletic Club entered three teams for this year’s Cotswold Way Relay, a 10-stage event that stretches the length of the Cotswolds.
The event, which started in Chipping Campden early on Saturday morning, was split into 10 stages with a mass start at each stage at the expected arrival time of the leading runner from the previous stage.
The course follows the route of the 103-miles long Cotswold Way, with over 90% off-road as the runners take in the many spectacular hills, fields, tracks and woodland, finishing at Bath Abbey.
Additionally, this year the runners had to contend with heavy rain, thunder storms and lightning strikes during the latter stages.
In the senior men’s category, the Club’s Gloster Gladiator team took an excellent fourth place, clocking an overall time of 12:55:28 to finish just 15 seconds ahead of the fifth-placed Team Bath AC. Seventeen teams completed the course.
The Club’s two mixed teams, the Gloster Meteors and Gloster Javelins, placed 6th and 13th of the 52 teams clocking 14;24:36 and 15:55:43 respectively.
At the British Athletics Championships at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, Catherine Hardy placed 7th in her first round heat in 12.22 seconds.
At the BMC event at Tipton, Andrew de-Camps ran a season’s best 1:56.8 seconds when placing 3rd in the ‘B’ race of the men’s 800 metres losing in a dip finish to his brother Richard who was given the same time in second place.
Harry Wells dropped down from his normal 1500 metres and was rewarded with a new personal best over 800 metres in race ‘C’, clocking 2:02.0 in fifth place. In the men’s ‘E’ race, Andrew McPeake placed fifth in 2:15.3.
In the ladies 800 metres, U17 Alidia Vaile ran a season’s best time of 2:33.5, while in the ladies 3000 metres, Hayley Winters clocked 10:57.2 and there was a personal best for Laura McPeake, who ran 11:55.7.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s top young athletes were in action at the South-West Schools Championships in Exeter on Saturday (18th) as they bid to qualify or stake a claim for a place in the county team for the English Schools Championships which will take place at Gateshead next month.
For many of the City youngsters, this was the highest quality meeting they had ever attended so you would expect them to suffer with nerves. However, they all coped well with the pressure and were far from being over-awed at the experience.
Ellen Thrall and Bethan Moor flew the flag in the senior girls’ events. Ellen continued her excellent form to win an exciting hammer competition by less than 60 cms with a throw of 43.91 metres, while Bethan found her nemesis Zoe Wassell too strong in the 3,000 metres as the Stroud runner won by almost a minute. Despite being isolated from the rest of the field, Bethan dug in deep and took an excellent silver medal in 11:10.01.
In the intermediate girls’ events, Beth Gardiner and Sophie Temple found themselves up against some of the best sprinters they had ever faced, but both came away with credit. Beth qualified for the 100 metres final where she placed 7th in 13.07 seconds, while Sophie set a new electronically-timed personal best of 27.39 seconds when placing 4th in her 200 metres heat. Jade Gough ran her second-fastest 1500 metres of the season when placing 5th in her final, while in the field events Vikki Kirby set a new personal best of 36.17 metres when placing 7th in the hammer final and Chloe Jones finished just outside the medal when placing 4th in the discus with 31.55 metres.
In the intermediate boys 1500 metres final, Harry Wells was just outside the medals as he placed 4th in 4:15.67 while Rory Cawkwell set a new personal best time of 23.32 seconds when placing 4th in his 200 metres heat.
In the Mason Inter-Counties Schools Championships in Birmingham, Briony Bishop placed 8th in the intermediate girls 3,000 metres in 11:43.0.
Club spokesman Richard Blackwell said: “It’s great to see our young athletes rubbing shoulders with the best young talent in the south-west and Midlands. The qualifying stages for the English Schools are intensely competitive, so we all hope they all enjoyed and learnt from the experience.”
Two of the Club’s elder statesmen were at Exeter on the following day (19th) to compete in the South-West Masters Championships. Ian Willoughby ran his best times since joining the Masters’ ranks as he won the M60 100 metres in 13.69 seconds and the 200 metres in 27.82 seconds. Both performances were new Club M60 age group records and rank him in the nation’s top 10. Club-mate Richard Blackwell, in his first Masters championship event, placed 4th in the M55 100 metres final in 13.78 seconds, a new Club age group electronically-timed best.
Earlier in the week, the South West's top-ranked M55 hammer thrower, Andy McKenzie, competed in the Bath AC Open Meeting on Wednesday (15th). Looking to increase his season's best of 28.41 metres and break the 30m barrier, the cold and wet conditions made the throwing circle slippery and he could only manage a best throw of 27.96m. He made amends by setting new club age group records in the shot putt with 6.60m and javelin with 15.04m.
Gloucester Athletic Club members took part in the Cheltenham Challenge multi-terrain races on Sunday (19th).
The recent heavy rain had made the hilly course very slippery under foot throughout and along with stiles, gates and other obstacles, the “Challenge” was aptly named.
The Half Marathon challenge saw a trio of Gloucester club-mates join the 350 competitors, and Nick Bishop renew his rivalry with Clive Poole. This time, the former gained the upper hand, crossing the line in 51st place in 2:00:06, with Poole finishing in 59th place in 2:01:49. Less than five minutes later, Russell Kirby crossed the line as he clocked 2:06:35 in 90th place.
The 10km saw a mix of the young and not so young members of the Club, with several experiencing their first races over this distance.
Youngsters Toby Scott and Owen Fishpool coped with the conditions perhaps better than their older colleagues, placing 7th and 10th respectively. Andrew McPeake came home in 17th place, Kim Millward 21st and Laura McPeake 30th as Gloucester runners featured strongly in the top 30.
Fresh from her promising run in the South-West Schools 1500metres the previous day, Jade Gough came home in 43rd place, Peter Jeffery 50th, Adrian Fishpool 86th and Amy Walker in 281st of the 569 runners.
More further afield, Arthur Daley and Debbie Lee took part in last weekend’s Lanzarote Wine Run. The 12.9k point to point multi-terrain race through the vineyards of La Geria was mainly on tracks covered in "picon" a black volcanic gravel giving uneven and unsure footing at times. Neither Daley nor Lee were able to survey the course in advance, so started conservatively. After the first kilometre Daley gained confidence and passed runners over the next 4k. He held that position until the final room when the 4th and 5th women who had been tracking him for 7k overtook him in their own battle. Daley finished 25th and first in the 60+ age group.
Debbie Lee was 10th lady and 7th in the 31 to 45 age group, finishing 74th out of the 350 runners. Having not raced in 30 degrees or over such a long distance for some time Lee paced herself over the undulating course running the first 8k in very even times then producing a sub 7 minute miles over the last downhill 2k.
At the final Hereford Couriers 5km Race of the current series, Arthur Daley placed 31st overall and first M65 in 19:38. Suzanne Harding placed 54th overall and 2nd W40 in 21:16 and Dave Spackman 78th overall and 1st M70 in 23:06 to win that category in the series.
Gloucester Athletic Club members were in fine form at the weekend, with the Seniors and Under-20s competing in the Midlands Championships at Nuneaton and the youngsters competing in the County Schools Championships at Cheltenham.
At Nuneaton, the field eventers produced the majority of the medals. Kate Davies was a double gold medallist, comfortably winning both the senior ladies high jump and javelin, while Jonathan Jones was equally impressive, winning the U20men’s hammer event by five and a half metres. Jones was not the only member of Lorraine Shaw’s training group to come away from these Championships with medals as Charlotte Stallard and Tim Williams both won struck bronze in the senior ladies and men’s hammer events.
Catherine Hardy was the sole medallist on the track, taking the bronze medal in the U20 Ladies 100 metres, but Kelly Constable produced excellent runs in the senior ladies 100, 200 and 400 metres, knocking over a second off her personal best in the longer event as she placed 5th, ahead of training partner Dayna Willoughby who placed 6th.
Andrew de-Camps qualified from his heat of the senior men’s 800 metres but his lack of racing following a year out through injury told as he trailed in 7th in the final.
The Club’s youngsters turned in some excellent performances at the Gloucestershire County Schools Championships at Cheltenham on Saturday (11th) with several earning the right to represent the County at the South West Schools Championships in Exeter this coming weekend.
For Ellen Thrall, winning the senior girls hammer was a formality. Having already thrown the English Schools qualifying standard, the pressure was off her to achieve that mark here and she won at will. The windy conditions put paid to a sub-5 minutes clocking for Bethan Moor in the 1500 metres, but she ran a solid race to take the silver medal. She has already achieved the qualifying mark for the 3,000 metres, the event in which she will compete at the Nationals.
Bethany Gardiner and Sophie Temple have both had excellent seasons thus far and they continued their keen, but friendly, rivalry in the Inter Girls sprints. The 100 metres saw Bethany break the 13 second barrier for the first time, placing second in the final in 12.8 seconds, while Sophie placed fourth in a personal best 13.0 seconds. In the 200 metres, the two produced another close finish as Bethany broke the tape to win in 27.2 seconds, with Sophie taking the silver medal in 27.3 seconds, both personal bests. Jade Gough was a comfortable winner of the 1500 metres, finishing five seconds clear of the runner up, while Jude Dowdeswell set a new personal best when taking the bronze medal in the 800 metres and Kirstie Constable took bronze in the 300 metres. In the field events, Vikki Kirby set a new personal best 36.09 metres when winning the hammer, Imogen Paterson also set a personal best 9.16m when placing third in the triple jump, and there was another medal for Beth Gardiner when she won silver in the shot putt. Club mates Tamsin Doran and Fathia Fategbe placed 4th and 6th respectively.
Harry Wells won the gold medal in the Inter Boys 1500 metres, Rory Cawkwell won the silver medal in the 200 metres and there was a bronze medal for Joel Townley in the 100 metres.
In the junior girls 100 metres, Ellie Wheeler-Smith just missed out on a medal after setting an excellent new personal best of 13.1 seconds in the heats, and Liz Lewis ran a season’s best to place seventh. Piper Holmes was just down on her best in the high jump, placing sixth in the final.
Finally, Harvey England set a new personal best time of 12.4 seconds in his 100 metres heat before going on to place 6th in the final.
Five Gloucester Athletic Club members competed in the “Humph’s Hilly Half Marathon around Bourton-on-the-Water on Saturday evening (11th).
The warm and balmy conditions and 13 miles of rolling Cotswold countryside made for a challenging race which incorporated the Gloucestershire Half Marathon Championship.
Nathan Smith led the small Gloucester contingent home in fourth place. He found the going particularly tough after becoming detached from the leading trio, but dug in and recovered well to finish in 1:21:27.
Jeremy Mower, on the other hand, was among a group of runners and considering this was only one week after his Dartmoor ultra-event, he produced a good run to place 7th overall and 1st M50 in 1:22:41.
Dave Gresswell was the next City man home, working hard over the final two miles to keep just ahead of the first lady finisher, to place 22nd overall in 1:31:00. Simon Barnes placed 57th in 1:45:57 and Michelle Stark placed 107th in 2:04:17.
In her latest attempt at achieving the 800 metres qualifying standard of 2:01.50 to make the Ireland team for the Rio Olympics, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Rose-Anne Galligan again fell agonisingly short when she clocked 2:03.52 in the Gouden Spike meeting in Leiden, Netherlands on Saturday.
Gloucester Athletic Club new signing Paul Corderoy won the Foxton 24-hour Track Race in Preston on Sunday, covering 181.621 kms – a new course record.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Rose-Anne Galligan finished 5th in the women’s 800 metres in the Josefa Odlozila Memorial meeting in Prague on Monday evening (6th). Galligan’s time 2:03.24 was her second fastest of the season and extended her remarkable run of consistent clockings this year.
Gloucester Athletic Club members travelled down to compete in the latest Aztec West 5k Road Race series in Bristol last Tuesday. In his first run over the distance, Andrew McPeake placed 68th in 19:11, Arthur Daley placed 77th overall and 1st in the M60 age group with 19:31, Laura McPeake placed 110th in 21:44 in her first ever 5km race and Nicola Waters placed 112th and 1st W55 in 21:52.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s senior track & field team produced a much improved performance in round two of this season’s Midland Track & Field League fixture at Blackbridge on Saturday (4th).
With the final result still to be confirmed, the team expects to finish second of the six teams – a big improvement on their showing in the first match when they could only finish sixth.
As in match one, several youngsters were given their first taste of senior competitive league athletics and all emerged with great credit as Alidia Vaile (800m), Laura McPeake (1500m) and Kirstie Constable (long jump) marked their senior debuts with top three places in their respective events.
The team also welcomed back two established stars in Kate Davies and Andrew de-Camps and both showed their immense worth to the team. Kate’s commitments at Oxford University have restricted her competitive opportunities but she showed her class here by winning the ‘A’ string long jump and javelin, placing second in the high jump and third in the 100m hurdles. Former Midland 800 metres Champion Andrew missed the entire 2014 season with injury but he showed he is very much on the road back to full recovery with a dominant run to win the 800 metres. He will go into this weekend’s Midlands Senior Championships full of optimism.
Elsewhere on the track, personal bests were set by Laura Phillips, Sophie Temple and James Etheridge (400 metres), Andrew McPeake (800 metres), Rachel Vines and Harry Wells (1500 metres), Mike Mansfield and Nathan Smith (men’s 3000 metres) and Hayley Winters and Bethan Moor, who followed their pre-race plan to the letter and reduced their 3,000 metres best times by sizeable margins.
In the field events, the hammer throwers were once again a class apart as they won both ‘A’ and ‘B’ string events in the men’s and ladies competitions, but the performance of Tim Williams was exceptional as he improved his own divisional record, set in the previous match, by over three metres to 61.85 metres.
Tom Beckett continued his consistent season in the long and triple jumps, while Joel Townley set a new personal best 1.80 metres in the high jump.
Tem manager Richard Blackwell said “There was a great team spirit today and this was reflected in the individual and match results. I just hope we can build on this performance in round three next month to secure our place in this division and even push for promotion.”
There was success for Gloucester Athletic Club members at the Midland Masters Track & Field Championships at Nuneaton on Sunday (5th).
Ian Willoughby won the M60 100m Hurdles in a new personal best and Club age-group record of 16.3 seconds and 30 minutes later placed 3rd in the 100 metres in 14.2 seconds. A foot injury prevented Ian’s wife Jo from regaining her F50 long and triple jump titles, but she was still able to take the silver medal in the shot putt with a new Club age best putt of 8.83m.
Organisational problems caused the 5,000 metres to start well behind schedule, meaning that Arthur Daley’s preparations and warm-up were disrupted. However, he still managed to take the silver medal in the M65 category in 20:13.5.
Dave Gresswell was Gloucester Athletic Club’s finisher in Sunday’s Fairford 10k, placing 21st overall and first M50 in 38:47.
Matt Powell struggled in the warm conditions, fading in the latter stages to place 30thoverall in 39:48 while Nigel Nash placed 72nd in 43:07 and Lyndsey Lyes placed 131st in 47:39.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Jeremy Mower had a busy week’s racing over a range of distances. On Tuesday he ran his fastest 5km for 10 years, 17:28, at the Aztec West 5km to extend his lead in the M50 age group in the four race series and on Saturday (4th) he ran the Dartmoor Discovery 32.5 mile road race which is the UK's longest single loop ultra-race and always attracts a quality field of 250 runners. Mower finished in a time of 4:05:52 to place 5th male overall and first M50. After the Dartmoor event, he said “I was pleased with my run and achieved my minimum aims of a top seven finish and age category win, but the warm weather and a large downhill section of newly laid gravel road meant I narrowly missed out on beating the V50 course record for which there was a cash prize".
Hot, sunny weather greeted the Gloucester Athletic Club team for the National Youth Development League Upper Age Group match at Swansea on Sunday (29th).
Exams and holidays robbed the team of several members but the small group that made the trip will have been heartened by their performances, with several setting new personal bests.
Among the numerous excellent results, Ellen Thrall’s winning performance in the WU20 Hammer event was particularly noteworthy as she improved her personal best by exactly one metre to 46.10 metres, a distance which ranks her 7th in the UK for the year. She backed this up with another win in the discus and a second place in the shot putt.
Thrall’s performance did not overshadow other excellent results in the field events by the Gloucester team. Joel Townley took a well-earned double victory in the MU17 long and triple jumps, the former in a new personal best leap of 6.18 metres, while there were further victories for Jonathan Jones (MU20 hammer), Vikki Kirby (WU17 hammer) and Chloe Jones (WU17 discus).
Events victories were also hard to come by in the track events but there was an excellent double win in the WU17 3,000m as Briony Bishop and Natalie Ashley-Towell had to compete against soaring temperatures as well as competitive fields.
Catherine Hardy took a double win in the 100 and 200 metres and there was solid support in the sprints from Sophie Temple and Beth Gardiner in the WU17 events and Rory Cawkwell in the MU17 100m.
Team manager Garry Hunter said: “Although we could only field a small team here, those athletes who made the trip will have been pleased with their performances as they showed there is some real talent in the Club’s ranks.”
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Dave Gresswell was among the runners at Sunday’s Dymock Half Marathon which, this year, was run on a new course through the lanes of the rural countryside on the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire border.
The Gloucester runner went off with the leaders but, as early as the second mile, realised that a recent heavy racing programme would take its toll so he settled back with the chasing pack and finished in 8th placed in 1:31.
Meanwhile, Russell Langley and Matt Newman were racing in the Edinburgh marathon where, again, conditions were very warm and sunny. Langley only took up serious racing last year and was the Club’s top newcomer over the winter cross-country season, with this race being his main target for the spring. He was on course for a sub-three hours clocking for the first 20 miles, setting new best times for the half marathon and 20 miles, before suffering hamstring problems over the final six miles. Even so, he still finished in 177th in a new personal best time of 3:03:21. Because of the favourable conditions, Newman decided at the last minute to abandon his original race plan and also go for a sub three-hour time. Unfortunately, as he started to suffer from sunburn and a fast early pace, he faded over the closing stages to cross the line in 286th place in 3:11:18, still an improvement of 46 minutes on his previous best.
At the Vitality London 10k road race on Bank Holiday Monday, Charlotte Hall clocked a new personal best time of 48:44 in 2574th place.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Rose-Anne Galligan placed 10th in the 800 metres at the IFAM meeting in Oordegem-Lede, Belgium on Saturday (28th) in 2:03.45 to conclude a very busy and consistent month’s racing which has seen her strengthen her claim for a place in the Ireland team for the Rio Olympics in the summer.
Galligan raced on four weekends during May in locations as widespread as California and Belgium, taking in Loughborough and Manchester on the way, and all of her times were within two seconds of each other.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Clive Poole travelled down to Bristol to compete in Sunday’s Broadlands 10-mile Multi-terrain race, an event full of challenging hills and plenty of mud following heavy recent rain in the area. The Gloucester runner placed 20th overall in 91:31.
Andy McKenzie competed in the Worcester AC Open Meeting last Thursday (19th) and threw the 6kg hammer 28.41 metres for a new Club M55 age group record and good enough to rank 12th M55 in the UK for the season.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s junior athletes have been producing encouraging performances in early-season competitions.
The U15 Boys age group is an area that the Club is working hard to develop in the face of stiff opposition from football and rugby but signs of an up-turn was evident by the performances of four lads at the recent County Championships at the Blackbridge track.
Harvey England, who took gold medals in both the 100 and 200 metres at the County Championships, Toby Scott, who knocked five seconds off his personal best when placing 4th in the 1500 metres final, and Owen Fishpool, who also set a new personal best when finishing 4th in the 3000 metres, are making significant progress on the track and Ben Campion is leading the way in the field events as he took gold in the shot putt, silver in the javelin and bronze in the discus events.
Club vice Chairman Richard Blackwell says “Locally, athletics for males struggles to compete with some team sports but we have already introduced U17 Men to our senior team this season and there are some promising lads starting to come through the age groups. With the Rio Olympics just a couple of months away, we hope to see more over the summer.”
The Club’s U15 Girls are gradually settling into the sport. Piper Holmes was just down on her best when placing joint first in the high jump at the County Championships, while there were also personal bests for Bethan Powell (1500m), Ellie Luff (100 & 200m) and Malika Ouiles (200m, long jump and discus).
There were many encouraging performances in the Under-13s age groups, with many of the youngsters taking part in their first Championships after coming through the Club’s 365 Academy programme.
Whilst there are perhaps too many to note individually, on the track Tilly Ashley was a clear winner of the 1500 metres while Grace Manley, Phoebe Jones, Holly Attwooll and Christyn Campion performed well in the multi events for the girls and Samuel Barnett, Max Holmes and Sulaiman Ouiles for the boys.
Gloucester Athletic Club records have been tumbling in the early part of the new season.
Pride of place goes to Alex George who has been in outstanding form in the US, setting a new senior men’s and overall Club record in the 5,000 metres of 13:49.46 at the Stanford Invitational Meeting in April, eclipsing the mark of Gerald Neely set 29 years ago. He ranks seventh in the UK for the year overall and tops the U23 rankings.
George also ran 3:44.64 for 1,500 metres at the Brian Clay Invitational meeting for a new senior men’s record, though this is 0.5 seconds inferior to his U20 and overall record set last season.
Nicola Waters and Andy McKenzie have been prolific record-breakers in the masters age groups. Waters set a new F55 marathon best of 3:34:18 at the London Marathon before setting bests at 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m and 800m at the recent County Championships, while McKenzie has set new M55 bests for 2,000m steeplechase, shot putt, discus and hammer.
Jo Willoughby set a new F50 long jump record of 4.70m in the Midland League match at Coventry at the beginning of May, while husband Ian set a new M60 mark for the 400 metres at the same match.
Arthur Daley was also busy setting new marks in the M65 200m and 400m at the County Championships where Chris O’Carroll set a new M70 best in the 200 metres, and youngster Seren Jones improved the nine-year old record in the Under-11 Girls 600 metres.
Finally, Dave Spackman set a new M70 4 Mile Road best of 31:33 in the Arlingham event in April.
Gloucester Athletic Club enjoyed a successful weekend at this year’s County track & Field Championships held in warm and sunny conditions at the Blackbridge Jubilee track in Podsmead (14/15th).
Day one saw several medals come the City club’s way. The hammer throwers remain supreme as titles went to Charlotte Stallard and Ellen Thrall in the Senior and Under-20s ladies competitions while Tim Williams and Jonathan Jones were victorious in the Senior and Under-20s men categories. Vikki Kirby improved her personal best by one and a half metres to 33.95m to take silver in the U17 Ladies category while there were masters titles for Andy McKenzie, whose throw of 25.64m was a Club M55 best, and Chris O’Carroll in the M70 category. Elsewhere in the field events on day one, Joel Townley was a clear winner of the U17 Men’s triple jump with 12.73m.
On the track, Jade Gough was a clear winner of the U17 Ladies 3,000 metres, clocking an impressive 11:10.9 in her first serious attempt at the distance, ahead of Briony Bishop who took the silver medal in 11:47.8 with Suzanne Harding taking the F40 gold in 12:06.3. Owen Fishpool placed 4th in the U15 Boys race in 11:05.2.
Cheltenham & County dominated the men’s 5,000 metres, but there were gold medals for Dave Gresswell (M50) and Arthur Daley (M65) and a bronze for Mike Mansfield in the M40 age group.
Day two saw more successes for Gloucester as the female sprinters in particular continued their promising start to the new season.
Catherine Hardy and Laura Phillips were untroubled as they won the U20 Ladies and senior ladies 100 metres respectively and Kelly Constable was equally impressive as she took gold in both the senior ladies 200 and 400 metres.
In the U17 Ladies sprints, Sophie Temple and Beth Gardiner battled over the 100 and 200 metres with Temple getting the nod to take silver medal ahead of her training partner in the shorter event and Gardiner gaining revenge to take the silver in the longer event. Cheltenham’s Abi Williams emerged the victor in both. Temple returned to the track later in the day to contest the 300 metres, placing 2nd in a new personal best time of 44.1 seconds as Kirstie Constable took the bronze medal.
In the men’s events, newcomer Ian Beard claimed an M40 100m/200m golden double in his first championships and there was a bronze medal for Joel Townley in the U17 100m metres.
The middle distance races produced more medals for the City club. Andrew McPeake won the gold medal in the U20 men’s 800 metres in a new personal best time 2:14.3 while his sister Laura took gold in the U17 Ladies 1500 metres and there was another gold for Charlotte Hall in the senior ladies event. Bethan Moor won the silver medal in the U20 Ladies 1500 event and there were masters age group titles for Suzanne Harding (W40), Matt Powell (M40), and Jeremy Mower (M50).
In the field events, Chloe Jones set a season’s best as she took gold in the U17 Ladies discus with 31.76m, while her Club mate Katie McPeake took the bronze medal before going on to take the silver medal in the javelin. Joel Townley showed his versatility by taking silver medal in the U17 Men’s javelin to add to his long and triple jump double titles, while newcomer Luke Coghill took bronze medals in the javelin and discus as well as a silver medal in the shot putt.
Kirstie Constable took the bronze medal in the U17 Ladies long jump and there were further age group titles for Chris O’Carroll in the M70 long jump and shot putt.
While many of their Club mates were competing in the county track & field championships, a small number of Gloucester Athletic Club members raced in Sunday’s Tewkesbury Half Marathon.
Matt Flynn knocked four minutes off his previous best time to place 22nd in 1:25:40, while there was also a personal best by Lee Moore, who placed 57th in 1:33:49. In his first race since making his marathon debut four weeks previously, Clive Poole placed 109th in 1:39:45 and Sharon Harris placed 348th in 1:58:21.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s men won the team prize at last week’s Berkeley 10K road race. Jeremy Mower led the team home, placing 4th overall and 1st M50 in 36:44, just missing out on his 36:00 target.
Jason Tilley was the next runner home, placing 12th in 38:13, while Max Sheppard just held off Matt Powell to place 22nd in 39:39 with Powell placing 23rd in 39:41 to complete the scoring team.
Other Gloucester finishers were:
Ian Summers (32nd, 40:23), Andrew McPeake (37th, 41:05), Martin Hobson (73rd, 43:51), Paul Loveridge (78th, 44:10), Amy Walker (102nd, 46:11), Dave Spackman (188th, 52:26) and Kirsty Reid (205th, 554:25).
Gloucester Athletic Club fielded very much a new-look team for their opening Midland Track & Field League match of the 2016 season at the University of Warwick track at Coventry on Sunday (8th).
Injuries and non-availabilities meant that no fewer than six members of the U17s team and another four seniors were drafted into the team for the match which sees the Club competing this season in Division Three, following their relegation last year.
Team manager Richard Blackwell said afterwards: “Don’t let anyone try and kid you that just because we are competing in a lower division, the competition will be less tough or intense. Far from it! There were some very good teams competing today and they will all be battling it out right to the very last event in the final match in August.”
Although the team placed sixth on the day, there were many positives to take from the individual performances. The team’s lady sprinters were dominant as “old hands” Catherine Hardy and Kelly Constable set examples for young debutants Bethany Gardner and Sophie Temple, both still only 15, to follow while Dayna Willoughby made a welcome return to racing following a year out through injury. Additionally, Harry Wells and James Etheridge both fared well in the face of stiff competition, setting personal bests in their respective events.
In the field events, two more U17s couldn’t have made more promising senior debuts as Vikki Kirby and Joel Townley both set personal bests in the ladies hammer and men’s long and triple jumps to further highlight the talent that lies within the Club’s junior ranks.
It wasn’t just the youngsters who were making their league bow, as seniors Kirsty Reid, Laura Phillips, Ian Beard and Austin Blackburn appeared in city colours for the first time.
Event wins went to Catherine Hardy (100/200m), Beth Gardiner (100m), Kelly Constable (200m), Helen Pritchard (long jump), Joel Townley (long jump), hammer throwers Tim Williams and Jonathan Jones and there was an excellent win for the ladies sprint relay squad of Hardy, Gardiner, Sophie Temple and Laura Phillips.
Blackwell added: “Aside from the wins, we were short on real quality but there was a tremendous fighting spirit in the team today that gives great hope for the future. We have got to get as many of our best athletes out for the next two matches to give ourselves a chance of staying in this League as things will be very tight come the season end.”
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Dave Gresswell has set himself a challenge of competing in 50 years during 2016, the year in which he celebrates his 50th birthday, and for his 20th event, he travelled to Bydgoszcz, Poland to compete in the local 10 km race (8th).
Run over a hilly course on trails through the largest forest within a city boundary in Europe, Gresswell started strongly and was in the large leading group for the first half of the race but temperatures in the high 20s took their toll as he faded to place 18th overall and first in the M50 age group.
Jeremy Mower was first Gloucester AC finisher at last week’s Stroud 7.2 mile Beer Race over a hilly course with a couple of steep ascents and descents over Minchinhampton Common. Mower placed 5th out of the 62 finishers in 43:46, some 50 seconds quicker when he last ran the race in 2008.
Mower who is unbeaten this year in the M50 age group in all of the ten road races entered said afterwards: “My training has been going well and I’m looking to break 36 minutes at next week’s Berkeley 10km race”
Dave Gresswell (M50) was next home for the Gloucester club, placing 8th in 46:26, followed by Matt Powell (M40) in 11th place in 47:33.
Mower was also first Gloucester AC runner to cross the line at the latest running of the Aztec West Fast Five 5km road race, placing 33rd overall and 1st M50 in 17:45.
Matt Flynn continued his rich run of form when placing 47th in 18:15, a 30 second improvement on his previous best time. Dave Gresswell placed 51st and second M50 in 18:29, while Arthur Daley placed 76th and 1st M65 in 19:40.
In her first 5km race, Kirsty Reid placed 106th in 21:45 while just behind in 108th place, Nicola Waters showed no ill-effects from the previous weekend’s London Marathon as she ran her second fastest-ever clocking of 21:57. Charlotte Hall completed the Gloucester squad, placing 133rd in 24:37 as she continues her return to racing after illness.
In her first competitive run since suffering a stress fracture of the foot that caused her to miss this year’s London Marathon, Lindsey Lyes finished 3rd overall and first lady in the Sketchers 5km Trail Run Cani-Cross event at Speech House in the Forest of Dean on Sunday (8th).
Gloucester Athletic Club’s young athletes have made a promising start to their 2016 track & field seasons with many producing performances to suggest they will have a successful summer.
In the Youth Development League (Lower) competition for the Under 13s and 15s age groups at Blackbridge, many of the Under-13s were enjoying their taste of competitive Club athletics and adapted well to the team concept of filling in some unfamiliar events. This spirit was also evident in the Under-15s with many athletes making the most of the opportunity to try different events.
There were many personal best performances by the young city squad but the two stand-out results came from Piper Holmes, who equalled her best of 1.51 metres in the U15 Girls high jump to rank in the nation’s top 50, and the diminutive Tilly Ashley who ran away from the field in the U13 girls 1200 metres to set a new best time of 4:08.9 to rank in the nation’s top 30.
Assistant team manager Helen Hoy said “For many of the Under-13s, this was their first proper athletics competition as they are all members of our 365 Academy. The coaches weren’t always on hand to help them prepare for their specific events as they are at training, so this was a steep learning curve which they generally managed well. Fortunately, many of the under-15s were there to guide them and help them out. What impressed me most, though, was the way they all got behind and encouraged their team mates and their willingness to have a go at the events were there were gaps. “This was my first match as a team manager and I didn’t realise just how much it is a case of everyone pulling together.”
The Club’s U20s and U17s travelled to a very wet, windy and cold Hereford to compete in the Youth Development League upper age group competition and produced a similarly spirited display, despite fielding only a small team.
Although there were several contenders, hammer thrower Jonathan Jones produced the performance of the day. He opened up his season at the recent Alan Bertram Spring Memorial Throws meeting at Loughborough with a personal best throw of 51.93 metres and improved this by over half a metre at Hereford with a massive 52.60 metres to rank 15th in the UK in the Under-20s age group.
Elsewhere, the City squad performed well both on the track and in the field giving evidence of the potential talent within the Club’s ranks.
Gloucester Athletic Club members were in action at open meetings around the south-west on the Bank Holiday.
Kelly Constable showed she is gradually regaining top form after injury hampered her 2015 season. She produced an impressive run over 200 metres in cold and windy conditions at the Brewer Games at Cheltenham on Monday, clocking 25.7 seconds while there was a new personal best and Club M60 age group record for Ian Willougby when he won the 300 metres hurdles in 48.97 seconds.
Ian Beard met with success in his racing debut, winning the M40 100 metres in 12.5 seconds. He was later first-placed M40 in the 200 metres in 25.9 seconds. Laura Phillips placed second in her 100 metres heat while James Etheridge placed fifth in his heat.
Kirstie Constable continued her move up to the U17s age group, placing 5th in the 300 metres, while another youngster moving up to that age group, Vikki Kirby, took third place in the hammer competition and Jo Willoughby, Elissa Moor and Jada George all performed well in a rain-affected long jump.
Harry Wells was the Club’s top performer at the BMC Open Meeting at Street on Monday evening, as he defied the dreadful conditions to knock four seconds off his personal best to place second in the 1500 metres in 4:14.17.
Alidia Vaile placed 8th in the 800 metres in 2:36.47 and Andrew Bowers also placed 8th in the senior men’s 800 metres, clocking 2:10.71.
There was double success for Gloucester Athletic Club members at the Forest Spring mile event organised by the Forest of Dean AC at the Coleford track, as Briony Bishop and Scarlett Pegler continued their good starts to the season.
Briony was a clear winner of the U17 Ladies mile in 6:21 and Scarlett was equally impressive in winning the U15 Girls race in 6:27.
On the road, Nigel Nash made his marathon debut in the North Dorset Village Marathon on Sunday (1st). Weather conditions were perfect for an undulating course that took runners through a series of villages in the southern English county. The Gloucester runner finished strongly to place 49th overall and 2nd M55 in finished strongly in 3:26:53.
Several Gloucester Athletic Club members travelled over to the capital to compete in Sunday’s Virgin London Marathon - one of the nation’s, if not the world’s, great sporting spectacles with over 39,000 entrants completing this year’s race.
Hayley Winters and James Head were expected to lead the Gloucester contingent home, and so it proved as James ran a well-paced race, clocking between 4:09 and 4:16 per kilometre to finish in 2:57:18, only two minutes down on his personal best despite having a month out of training due to illness at a crucial time in his preparations.
Hayley started from the championship start and was on course to break her personal best and Gloucester senior ladies club record. Throughout the first half she was on target to achieve her aim, but slowed over the closing stages to finish in 3:06:31.
Nicola Waters’ recent training performances suggested she was on for a good run. Running a very even-paced race, she crossed the line in 3:34:18, an improvement of 13 and a half minutes on her previous best and a new Club W55 best time.
The next Gloucester runner to finish was Simon Barnes who struggled over the latter stages to cross the line in 3:43:25, while Tania Hamilton showed the value of even-paced running and exceeded her expectations to finish in 3:57:08 with her kilometre splits all within 26 seconds of each other. Sharon Nash was even more consistent as she completed the 26.2 miles in 4:10:03 with only 19 seconds separating her slowest and fastest splits. Her last 2 kms were her fastest of the race, suggesting that she could go under the 4 hours mark in her next marathon.
Gloucester Athletic Club runners were also in action closer to home, competing in the Cattle Country 5 and 10 km multi-terrain events in Berkeley on Sunday (24th).
The course for both took the runners over fields and tracks, but the fields were badly rutted which made running difficult.
In the 5 kms race, Laura McPeake placed 6th overall and first female U20 in 24:02 and Amy Walker placed 7th and 1st senior female in 25:38. 72 runners completed the course.
The longer race saw Ian Summers lead the Gloucester group home in his 17th race of this calendar year, placing 6th in 45:56. Anna Midgley placed 20th overall and second female in 51:12, Chris Davis placed 43rd in 55:10, Charlotte Hall placed 72nd in 60:05 and Andy McKenzie, in his first race for over three years, placed 117th of the 152 finishers in 71:06.
James Walters and Matt Powell travelled down to Monmouth to compete in the “Offa’s Orror”, a 20 kms multi terrain race ran over a testing course through the scenic Wye Valley which included many steep climbs and equally difficult descents. With warm weather, especially along the exposed banks of the Wye, adding to the runners’ problems, both ran well to place high among the 230 entrants as James placed 7th in 1:31:16 and Matt 15th in 1:35:09.
At the Bath Field Fest Open Meeting, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Vikki Kirby opened her 2016 season with a massive new personal best in the 3 kg hammer event, throwing 32.30m to improve her previous best by nearly four metres.
The village of Ashleworth on the outskirts of Gloucester was the venue of this year’s running of the Angels 10km road race on Sunday (17th).
Held in sunny conditions, the course takes the runners along the scenic country lanes around the village that is fast over the opening downhill 5km, becoming more challenging and undulating over the second half, putting paid to particularly fast times.
The leading pack included the Gloucester Athletic Club trio of Russell Langley, Jeremy Mower and Dave Gresswell, all of whom had raced in the national 12-stage road relays event at Sutton Park the previous day, and they were to suffer as the fast early pace and first steep climb at the 5km point took its toll.
Langley rallied to place fourth overall in 37:09, just ahead of Mower who placed 6th overall and 1st M50 in 37:43 with Gresswell holding on for 9th place in 38:57, despite tiring over the latter stages.
Junior Andrew McPeake heeded the advice given to him ahead of the race by experienced campaigners Gresswell and Arthur Daley, and ran a sensibly-paced race to cross the line in 18th place in 41:07. Pleased with that time, he has the ability to break 40 minutes with a little more experience and a flatter course.
Nigel Nash ran strongly to place 29th overall and 2nd M55 in 43:07, while Paul Loveridge was the perfect pacemaker for Anna Midgley as they placed 48th and 49th respectively in 46:06 and 46:07. Debbie Lee placed 63rd in 48:19 and Dave Spackman 64th in 48:27.
Meanwhile, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Clive Poole made his marathon debut at Brighton on Sunday. Having only taken up running two and a half years ago, the City runner placed 1216th out of 11,000 runners in 3:37:43.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s re-vamped junior Reception Group now boasts a new name to bring it in line with the latest UK Athletics guidelines.
Aimed predominantly at 8-14 year olds, the 365 Athletics Academy offers a multi-event development programme which introduces athletes to the fundamental skills of athletics.
Helen Hoy, who is an Assistant Coach at the Club and one of the leaders of the Academy says “The 365 Academy programme not only focuses on how fast someone runs or how far they jump or throw but, more importantly, on developing the technical skills required to help the athlete realise their full potential.
“We teach all of the youngsters every aspect of the sport, rather than just concentrate on one area. The main aim, though, is to teach them – and their parents – that athletics is a sport, not just an activity where they can turn up once or twice a week for a couple of hours. We expect them to represent the Club’s teams in the competitions that we provide.”
The Academy trains at the Blackbridge track in Podsmead each Tuesday (6:00 -7:30 pm) and Thursday (6:30-7:45 pm). Further details can be obtained by ringing 07817 974630.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Jeremy Mower placed 6th overall and 1st M50 in Severn AC’s Grocery Four Mile Road Race at Arlingham on Saturday (9th).
Billed as the final race to be organised by local athletics guru Terry Haines, Mower attacked the race from the gun, keeping pace with the host Club’s James Rose and Oliver Starkey.
Rose pulled away after one mile, leaving Mower and Starkey to have their own battle before the younger Severn man pulled away over the final mile.
Mower crossed the line in 23:08, a personal best time over four miles. Club colleague Dave Spackman placed 26th and 1st M70 in 31:33.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s James Walters and Matt Flynn headed north to Manchester to compete in Sunday’s Asics Manchester Marathon.
This was the first marathon for both athletes and each came away with very respectable times as James placed 154th overall in 2:52:56 with Matt placing 610th in 3:07:27.
Also on Sunday, three Gloucester club members competed in the Chedworth Roman Trail 10-mile race, held over a multi-terrain course close to the famous Roman Villa.
Matt Powell led the trio home, placing 20th overall in 1:10:44. Ian Summers, like Powell, having only just returned from the Club’s warm-weather training trip in Portugal the previous day, placed 28th in 1:12:50 and Anna Midgley placed 120th in 1:27:49.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex George propelled himself to the top of the UK Under-23 5000 metres ranking list with a stunning run at the Stanford Invitational meeting in Palo Alton in California.
George, who is the current European Junior Champion at the distance, knocked over 25 seconds off his previous best to clock 13:49.46 in 8th place in a very high quality race to move to the top of the U23 rankings and 5th overall across all age groups.
Alex’s twin brother Thomas, also currently studying in the United States, ran his fastest 1500 metres time for two years when clocking 3:51.16 in the Florida Relays meeting in Gainesville, Florida.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s women finished 19th and the men came home 23rd in their respective Midlands Area Road Relay Championships held at a warm and sunny Sutton Park, Birmingham on Saturday (2nd). Both qualified for the national finals to be held later this month.
The women’s race was run over six legs, two of 5.4 miles and four of 3.13 miles. Team captain Anna Midgley gave the team a solid start on the opening long leg, coming home in 34th position in a time of 38:59 to hand over to Suzanne Harding, who tore around the shorter second leg in 21:36, some 20 seconds faster than she recorded last year, making up 12 places to come home in 22nd place.
Kate Burford took up the running on the longer third leg and produced a steady 41:06 to come home in 28th place, while Grace Vido made up four places on the short fourth leg, clocking 22:14. Kirsty Reid made up a further four places to bring the team into the top 20, running 22:58 on leg five and Nicola Waters ran the anchor leg in 23:37 to make up one place and bring the team home in 19th place overall.
The men’s race was run over 12 legs, four over the long distance and eight over the shorter.
Russell Langley ran the competitive opening long leg and ran a respectable 31:56 to bring the team home in 35th place. Nathan Smith, who had only returned home from a week’s racing and training break on the Algarve the previous day, took over on the second leg and pulled back two places as he clocked 31:11 before handing over to Jack Evans. The youngster clocked the team’s fastest long leg of the day, 30:26, as he made up an impressive seven places to come home in 26th place. James Walters took over on leg four and kept up the momentum as he made up a further place with a 32:10 clocking.
Freek van Arkel ran the first short leg of the day and clocked the team’s fastest time as he made up one place with a 17:25 clocking. Tom Randles ran a tactically astute stage and made up two places with a 19:25 leg handing over to Steve Haines who clocked 19:29 as he brought the team home in 23rd spot.
By his own admission, Arthur Daley, who was a late call-up due to illness, ran the opening mile a little too cautiously. He rallied over the second half of his leg to clock 21:06 and hand over in 27th place. Club debutant Austin Blackburn took over on stage nine and showed he will be a more than useful addition to the team as he pulled back two places with a 19:36 leg. Jeremy Mower showed few ill-effects from his Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km race the previous weekend, clocking 18:33 on leg 10, maintaining the team’s 25th place, while Luke Herbert ran another fine race to make up one place with an 18:23 leg. Dave Gresswell ran the anchor leg for the team, making up one more place with a 19:07 clocking to bring the team home in 23rd place overall.
Afterwards, a Club spokesman said: “These were two very encouraging results for our teams today and shows the steady improvement that has been made over the winter months. A five-place improvement by both teams in next year’s event has to be a realistic target to work towards.”
Gloucester Athletic Club’s James Head added his name to the list of illustrious winners of the Tredworth Road Race when he cantered home to a comfortable win at Easter Monday’s annual race.
A small field of 17 runners toed the line in windy, but dry, conditions and Head soon hit the front and settled into his running, showing few signs of the bronchial problems that have affected his training and racing this year. He came home the winner in 26:26, some two minutes clear of second-placed Dave Lander of Severn AC.
Aaron Bennett placed fourth in 29:51, Debbie Lee placed 8th overall and 1st lady in 32:11, M70 Dave Spackman placed 9th in 32:59 and Chris Davis placed 10th in 33:32.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Jeremy Mower placed 20th overall and 1st M50 in the Anglo Celtic Plate 100km Road Race in Perth, Scotland on Saturday (26th).
Representing Wales, the Gloucester athlete experienced hip problems during the race which required treatment from the physio, but was able to resume running and crossed the line in 9 hours 7 minutes 3 seconds.
Mower was extending his own record of consecutive finishes in the event, this being his 12th.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Nathan Smith competed in the annual Algarve Challenge in Portugal over the Easter weekend. The challenge started off with a 5km cross-country race on Good Friday, in which Smith placed 6th. This was followed by a beach race, which saw Smith move up to 5th place overall, and culminated in a half marathon over a very challenging course and in very hot conditions, where the Gloucester runner clocked 1:19 to clinch 5th place overall.
In the Cardiff Half Marathon that incorporated the World Half Marathon Championships, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Dave Gresswell placed 560th in 1:26:11, just ahead of Club mate Matt Newman, who placed 565th in 1:26:16.
Matt Powell was the first Gloucester AC finisher in the Bushey One Mile Road Race organised by the Tewkesbury Running Club on Easter Monday, placing 7th in 5:39. Ian summers placed 11th in 5:51 with Suzanne Harding placing 15th in 6:07.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Rose-Anne Galligan’s hopes of progressing to the semi-final stage of the 1500 metres at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Portland, Oregon, were dashed when she fell victim to a virus and she trailed in 9th in her heat in 4:16.84 last Friday (18th).
With the hopes of a nation resting on her shoulders, Ireland’s sole representative at these Championships had been in sparkling form in the weeks leading up to the competition setting personal best times at 1500 and 300 metres, and that form was evident during the first half of the race as she settled into second place, looking comfortable.
However, she was found wanting as the pace picked up over the final three laps and she was overtaken by several runners.
Afterwards, she was naturally disappointed saying: “I had been in good form going into the race and I ran this one tactically well, but there was just nothing in the legs. I had woken up with a sore throat and am feeling drained now, so I’ve definitely picked up a bug. It’s just very unfortunate timing. Overall, I’ve had a really good winter’s training and the outdoor season is just a few weeks away so I’m looking forward to getting well again.”
Gloucester Athletic Club members were in action at Open Meetings over the weekend.
Hammer thrower Jacob Lange improved his personal best for the second time in three weeks when winning the senior men’s event at the Midland Counties Open Meeting at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on Saturday (19th). He opened up his season with a personal best 56.98 metres in the Inter Varsities meeting at Lea Valley in London at the beginning of March and improved to 57.43 metres at Birmingham. A 60-metre throw has to be on the cards for the coming season.
The Midland Counties also staged an open meeting at the High Performance Indoors facility at the Alexander Stadium on the same weekend and Gloucester club members recorded several new personal best marks.
The stand-out performance came from Joel Townley in the U17 Men’s Triple Jump. He established himself as one of the country’s leading U15 age group jumpers in 2015 and looks set to continue his development in this higher age group as he jumped to a new Club age group indoor best of 13.10 metres. Townley backed this up with his second best-ever long jump of 5.84 metres.
Catherine Hardy rounded off her indoor season in fine style, winning the U20 60 metres in a new personal best 7.78 seconds and the rarely-run indoors 100 metres in 12.36 seconds.
Fellow sprinters Kelly Constable and Sophie Temple were also in action at Birmingham and showed they have wintered well, setting new personal bests. Constable placed third in the senior ladies 60 metres in 8.06 seconds and Temple placed second in the U17 60 metres in 8.54 seconds.
Dayna Willoughby showed that she is on the road to recovery following an injury-blighted 2015 by clocking 19.9 seconds for 150 metres in the Mark Cawte Memorial Meeting at Swindon on Sunday (19th).
Gloucester Athletic Club endurance runners were also busy competing over the weekend.
Matt Boon led home the small group of Club members who were among the 1350 finishers of Sunday’s Forest of the Dean Spring Half Marathon, placing 20th in 1:23:53. Peter Jeffery placed 291st in 1:42:44, Anna Midgley placed 350th in 1:45:00 and Charlotte Hall placed 889th in 2:04:59.
Meanwhile, three members of the Club’s junior endurance group were impressing against seniors at the Pendock 5km Spring Chicken Run.
Owen Fishpool placed second overall and first junior male in 21:13, Laura McPeake placed fourth overall and first junior female in 21:43 and Natalie Ashley-Towell placed 8th overall and second junior female in 22:24.
Three parents of Gloucester club members who have been inspired to take up running since their off-spring joined the Club also raced at Pendock. In the 10km race, Adrian Fishpool placed 56th in 49:10 while the 5km race saw Amanda McPeake and Alison Evans place 55th and 56th in 29:05 and 29:19 respectively.
Gloucester Athletic Club members were among the medal at the final cross-country event of the season, the Glos AA County short-course cross-country championships at Plock Court on Saturday (18th).
Jeremy Mower placed second overall and 1st M50, clocking 14:27 for the 4km course, ahead of club mates Dave Gresswell (6th overall and 2nd M50, 15:22), Matt Powell (8th and 1st M40, 15:50), Ian Summers (9th, 15:51), Debbie Lee (16th and 1st L45, 18:17) and Dave Spackman (19th and 1st M70, 19:37).
Glorious sunshine and ideal running temperatures greeted the 500-plus runners for this year’s running of the Gloucester 20-mile Road Race on Sunday (13th).
The Gloucester 20 has established itself as a “must-do” race for many runners across the country looking for a long run as part of their preparations for the various spring marathons and the event has built up a reputation for its efficient organisation and friendly, knowledgeable team of volunteers, all of which adds to the runners’ experience.
A stronger than usual presence in the race by the hosts, Gloucester Athletic Club, added to the atmosphere as their representatives set a host of personal best times.
Ultra-distance specialist Jeremy Mower was the first Gloucester club runner home. In his last race before tapering for the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km race in Perth at Easter, he has been busy cramming in races and training runs in recent weeks and, as he displayed at the recent county Road Relays, he still has plenty of speed in his legs. He put in a solid run on Sunday, placing 24th in 2:07:56, and admitted to feeling comfortable after the race.
The next three City runners home were all making their debuts at the distance and all three have a combined total of less than four years’ racing experience. James Walters, who only took up racing six months ago, clocked 2:11:25 in 37th place, ahead of another newcomer, Russell Langley, who clocked 2:14:56 in 55th place, while Matt Flynn clocked 2:16:49 in 62nd place.
Hayley Winters was the next home. Her time of 2:21:03 was a personal best by two and a half minutes and saw her place 84th and 5th lady overall.
James Head’s marathon preparations have suffered a major setback following a bout of bronchitis which has affected his training and racing over recent weeks, but he still managed a 2:22:24 clocking in 86th place, while another runner in his first 20-miler, Matt Newman, placed 91st in 2:23:06.
Of the other City club finishers, Nigel Nash placed 158th in 2:36:04, Clive Poole 183rd in 2:40:23, Nicola Waters 185th in 2:40:39, Sharon Nash 317th in 3:05:20, Russell Kirby 360th in 3:13:03 and Pam Storey placed 481st in 3:53:03.
Afterwards, a member of the organising team said: “Once again we were blessed with excellent racing conditions which helped everyone. We have a dedicated and very knowledgeable group of people involved in the planning and running of this event which is clearly appreciated judging by the positive and encouraging comments we received after the race.”
Gloucester Athletic Club’s husband and wife duo, Ian and Jo Willoughby, were in gold medal-winning form at the British Masters Indoor Athletics Championships at the Lea Valley complex near London at the weekend (12/13th).
Ian struck gold in the M60 60 metres hurdles in a new Gloucester AC age group best of 9.94 seconds and also took first place in the M60 triple jump with another Club best of 8.63 metres, his first attempt at the event for many years.
Jo was keen to defend her titles in the W50 long and triple jumps and she achieved her goals in spectacular fashion by winning the long jump in a new Championship Best Performance of 4.49 metres and the triple jump in a new personal best leap of 9.97 metres, just 5cms off the championship best but 16cms further than she jumped when winning the European indoor title last year.
The Championships also incorporated the British outdoors long throws competitions and saw Marion Loveridge win the silver medal in the 3kg hammer event with a season’s best throw of 40.17 metres.
In his first race of the year following a long injury lay-off, Simon Fortnam was Gloucester Athletic Club’s first finisher in Sunday’s Minchinhampton 10k road race, placing 14th in 40:53.
Charlotte McGlone knocked over 30 seconds off her personal best time to place 21st overall and first lady in 43:11 seconds, Peter Jeffery placed 79th in 49:09, Amy Walker placed 128th in her first race since giving birth, clocking 52:32 and Sharon Paintin placed 236th in 58:18.
Several Gloucester Athletic Club members were in action for the county in the Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships at Cofton Park, Birmingham on Saturday.
In the senior men’s race, Jack Evans placed 225th while Russell Langley placed 260th, just one day ahead of the Gloucester 20-mile road race.
Harry Wells produced another strong run, placing 73rd overall and first Gloucestershire runner, in the U17 Men’s race with Andrew McPeake placing 242nd, both were against athletes at least one year older than themselves.
In the U17 Ladies race, Bethan Moor suffered a fall and despite making up plenty of ground, she struggled to make any significant headway on the leaders, finishing 102nd.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Kirsty Reid reduced her personal best time by nine minutes when clocking 1:48:18 in Sunday’s Bath Half Marathon.
Friday morning (18th) sees Gloucester Athletic Club’s Rose-Anne Galligan compete in the heats of the women’s 1500 metres at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon.
Galligan, who is the Ireland national outdoor record holder for the 800 metres, will be hoping this will be the springboard for her dream to represent her country in this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s top young athletes were in action against the cream of the country’s top young runners when they competed in the New Balance English Schools Cross-country Championships at Woolaton Park, Nottingham on Saturday (5th).
Past winners of these Championships reads like a “Who’s Who” of the best runners produced by the country, so the City youngsters were well aware of the quality of the opposition.
Harry Wells confirmed his improvement over the winter season by producing perhaps the best run of his career to date when placing 46th overall and first county athlete in the Inter Boys race, run over 5.7kms. Bethan Moor who, like Harry is a member of the Paul de-Camps group based at Blackbridge, placed 72nd in a very close senior girls race where just a few seconds separated groups of runners. The Gloucester youngster will take heart from the fact that this was her first race in this age group and she was competing against runners who were up to two years her senior.
In the opening event of the day, the Inter Girls race, Jade Gough placed 142nd overall and second county scorer while Laura McPeake placed 230th and Briony Bishop 301st. In the Junior Girls race, Bethan Powell placed 191st.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s seniors were in medal-winning form at the County Road Relay Championships at Elmore on Saturday, taking the gold medals in the senior ladies, senior men and V50 men’s categories.
The event was held in bright but cold conditions over a 2.6 mile course that included three testing climbs, which meant running an even pace was extremely difficult, so the runners had to go off hard from the gun.
The ladies race, which was held over three laps, saw Suzanne Harding lead off for the Gloucester senior ladies squad and despite producing the fastest ladies time of the day overall of 18:02, she was slightly disappointed in that it was just down on the time she ran in last year’s event. Andrea Jones took up the running on leg two and clocked 18:18 with Debbie Lee clocking 19:14 on the final leg to secure the gold medal in the senior event.
The City ‘B’ squad of Kirsty Reid (18:53), Charlotte Hall (20:56) and Gillian Carrick (21:28) finished fourth senior ladies team overall.
Jeremy Mower had a busy day, running the opening leg for the V50 men’s team before producing a sprint finish on the anchor leg to take gold medal for the senior men’s team.
Mower got the ball rolling for the V50 team, clocking 15:00 to give the team a commanding lead. Dave Gresswell clocked 15:50 on leg two to extend the lead while Arthur Daley ran the final leg virtually unopposed, as he clocked 17:50 to bring the team home as clear victors.
The senior men’s race was run over four legs. Russell Langley gave the team a solid start, clocking 15:03 to hand over to Matt Powell in third place. Powell completed his leg in 16:21 to maintain the City squad’s position, handing over to Matt Newman who judged the pace well to produce a 15:57 and hand over to Mower with the slimmest of leads. Mower produced an excellent 15:03 leg to ensure the gold medals went to the team as they beat the Tewkesbury squad by just four seconds.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Jo and Ian Willoughby represented the Midlands team in the annual indoors Inter-Area Masters match at the Lea Valley centre on Sunday (28th).
Jo won the W50 long jump with a season’s best 4.55 metres before winning the triple jump, in which she is the reigning European indoors champion, with a new personal best 9.96 metres.
Ian placed 3rd in the M60 200 metres in a new personal best time of 28.72 seconds.
Fresh on the back of a new indoor personal best for 1500 metres, Rose-Anne Galligan set a new best time for the 3,000 metres in the UK Indoors Championships in Sheffield on Sunday. Using the race as an over-distance strength exercise, she placed 5th in the final in 9:12.42 an improvement of seven seconds on her previous best.
Although Gloucester Athletic Club currently faces a chronic shortage of male teenagers in the ranks, three of their junior endurance runners have been in excellent form in recent weeks.
Harry Wells has enjoyed his best-ever cross-country season in the Under-17 Men’s age group. Now coached by Paul de-Camps, he won his first Gloucestershire Cross-Country League race just before Christmas, followed this up with his first County title in January, a fourth place in the South-West Schools Championships at the beginning of February and a second place in the final Gloucestershire League fixture two weeks ago to finish second overall for the season.
Two members of Kerry Newell’s promising junior group have also shown they have the potential to succeed. Owen Fishpool has made steady progress since joining the group in the autumn and placed 13th overall in the U15 Boys category in the Gloucestershire League while Toby Scott has made huge strides in the U13 Boys age group. He won the final Gloucestershire League race at Warwick and with it the overall League title before placing 98th of over 400 runners in the English Cross-Country Championships at Donnington Park last Saturday.
There was a strong Gloucester Athletic Club presence at Sunday’s running of one of their targeted races of the winter, the Bourton 10k road race, sponsored by High Bridge Jewellers.
There was a cold wind to greet the 500 runners but conditions were dry underfoot with no ice, unlike last year’s race which provided that additional hazard.
Throughout the winter season, Russell Langley and Jeremy Mower have enjoyed some close races over a range of distances on the road and cross-country and the Bourton race was no different as Langley held on to beat his more experienced colleague by six seconds in a new personal best 36:15 as they placed 26th and 28th respectively.
Third City runner home was Matt Flynn who clocked 37:41 in 51st position. This was a massive two-minute improvement on his previous 10k best time and a sure sign that he is making significant progress under the guidance of coach Kerry Newell.
Also setting a new personal best was Matt Newman, whose 38:21 clocking in 64th place was a 30 second improvement on his previous best. Next home was Hayley Winters who placed 76th overall and 5th lady in 38:47, as she led the City ladies home to the team prize.
Max Sheppard placed 84th in 39:24, ahead of Matt Powell (90th in 39:38), Ian Summers (98th in 39:57, his first sub-40 clocking in four years), Arthur Daley (101st overall and 1st M65 in 40:06) and Andrew McPeake who placed 107th overall and 3rd junior man in a new personal best 40:18.
Charlotte McGlone was another to record a new personal best time, clocking 41:30 in 134th place, with Club cross-country captain Aaron Bennett placing 141st in 41:41. Nick Bishop turned the tables on adversary Clive Poole, placing 163rd in 42:31 to Poole’s 42:50 personal best in 171st place.
Grace Vido carried her improved form of 2016 into this race, placing 183rd in a best mark 43:22, while Nicola Waters was just outside her personal best when placing 215th and 1st W55 in 45:02.
Other City finishers were:
Peter Jeffery (219th, 45:11), Dave Spackman (251st, 46:46), Debbie Lee (275th, 47:40), Kerry Newell (276th, 47:41), Suzanne Harding (277th, 47:41), Chris Davis (302nd, 48:55), Hannah Bennett (434th, 58:01) and Lindsey Lyes, who ran round the course with her Abbey Runners group, placing 474th in 68:23.
A group of Gloucester Athletic Club members travelled to Donnington Park to compete in the Saucony English National Cross-Country Championships on Saturday (27th).
For many, the “National” is the classic cross-country event where athletes pit their wits and talent against the very best in the country. Past winners have included many of Britain’s finest-ever runners, so it was a great experience for the small Gloucester squad to be part of what is a great English running institution.
The Under-15 girls team all produced strong runs. Laura McPeake achieved her best result of her career when placing 124th after gaining several places on the final run-in, as did Briony Bishop, who placed 178th, and Natalie Ashley-Towell in 260th place.
The senior men’s team was hit by 11th hour withdrawals due to illness, but there were some sterling performances, nevertheless. Luke Herbert has enjoyed his best season for several years and was rewarded with a highly respectable 578th place finish. James Walters, who only took up racing six months ago placed 716th in his first National, Lee Smith placed 871st, Dave Gresswell 1055th and James Head, who has been laid low with bronchitis ran gamely to place 1087th.
Gloucester sprinter Catherine Hardy placed 5th in her heat of the ladies 60 metres in the UK Indoor Championships in Sheffield, qualifying for the semi-finals as one of the fastest loser. Against some of the top sprinters in the country, she placed 7th, clocking 7.80 seconds in both races.
In the latest Aztec West Fast Five 5k road race held in Bristol last Tuesday (23rd), Gloucester Athletic Club’s Dave Gresswell placed 68th overall and 2nd M50 in a season’s best 18:33. Arthur Daley placed 92nd overall and 2nd M60 in 19:24 and Nicola Waters 138th and 1st W55 in 21:59. Daley leads the UK M65 rankings for the year and Waters lies in second place in the W55 list.
Gloucester Athletic Club members have been in action, competing in indoors meetings over the past week.
Leading the way was Rose-Anne Galligan who clocked a new personal best and a World Indoor Championships qualifying time of 4:11.07 when placing 3rd in the 1500 metres in the AIT International Grand Prix in Athlone, Ireland.
Having had two years ravaged by injury and illness, the Irish outdoor record holder over 800 metres said “I’ve just come back from an altitude training camp and I also had a couple of races at altitude. My coach felt that I could run 4:12.00 and I thought it was closer to 4:13.00 so I was pleasantly surprised it was 4:11.00. I’m really pleased with that.”
At the Missouri Collegiate Challenge in Columbia, Missouri on Friday (19th), Thomas George placed 3rd in the 800 metres in 1:58.45.
Closer to home, four of the Club’s younger sprinters competed in the second of this winter’s Midland Counties indoor meetings at the High Performance Centre in Birmingham on Sunday.
Catherine Hardy was just outside her personal best when winning her U20 Ladies heat in 7.79 seconds, while in the U17 Ladies heats, Beth Gardiner and Sophie Temple clocked new personal best times of 8.26 and 8.68 seconds respectively and Ellie Luff also reduced her best time when clocking 9.15 seconds in the U15 Girls event.
Gloucester Athletic Club saved their best Birmingham Cross-country League performance of the season for the final fixture when they placed 7th of the 16 teams at Blackbridge on Saturday (13th). To underline the squad’s development this winter, the ‘B’ team took 5th place in the second-string competition.
With the City team already assured of a mid-table finish, team captain Aaron Bennett was keen to consolidate and finish the season on a positive note. His team responded well as a season’s high 14 athletes lined up among the 195 starters.
Nathan Smith has enjoyed a consistent winter’s racing since working with coach Kerry Newell. Having led the ‘A’ team home in his previous two Birmingham League outings, he was hoping to round the season off with a top-20 placing. He failed by the narrowest of margins as he placed 21st in a very competitive field, but was still the first City runner home.
Russell Langley confirmed his position as the top newcomer of the season, placing 40th to complete a highly impressive debut league season with Jeremy Mower producing another solid run to take 58th, just ahead of Luke Herbert in 60th place.
Another newcomer, James Walters, placed 67th to complete a very satisfactory first season at this level while newly-wed Steve Haines completed the ‘A’ team in 74th place.
Mike Mansfield was the first home for the ‘B’ team, placing 80th, ahead of Matt Newman (88th) and Matt Flynn (92nd) who had worked well and pushed each other throughout the race. Dave Gresswell worked hard to place 131st with Arthur Daley showing that age is no barrier as he placed 148th while Aaron Bennett fittingly completed the scoring, placing 154th.
Clive Poole and Humphrey Phillips provided solid support for their team-mates to place 165th and 182nd respectively.
Afterwards, team captain Aaron Bennett said “I’m really pleased with the way the whole team has performed this winter. We lost some key members before the start of the season, so this season was always going to be about rebuilding the squad and to start putting Gloucester AC back on the cross-country map again. 10th place overall for the season is a good start.”
Gloucester Athletic club’s Alex George produced a stunning run to knock over 12 seconds off his previous best in the 3,000 metres at the Iowa State Classic on Friday (12th).
The Gloucester athlete, who is the reigning outdoor European Junior Champion over 5,000 metres, placed 5th in 7,55.51 in a top-quality line-up to move up to 5th on the UK all-time Under-20 performers.
Alex’s brother Thomas travelled to the Arkansas University track and set a new 800 metres indoor best of 1:56.21 when placing 7th in the Tyson Invitational meeting.
Closer to home, Rose-Anne Galligan placed 5th in the 1500 metres at the IFAM indoors meeting in Ghent, Belgium on Saturday (13th). The Irish outdoor record-holder over 800 metres, who was on her way back to the UK following a training camp in South Africa, clocked 4:17.28.
Charlotte McGlone travelled over to Italy to compete in Sunday’s Verona “Romeo and Juliet” Half Marathon.
Over 7,000 runners started the race and the Gloucester athlete coped well with the pouring rain and cobbled and winding streets to place 14th senior lady in a new personal best time of 1:32.26.
Glen Balmer led the Gloucester Athletic Club contingent home in Sunday’s May Hill Massacre – a nine miles cross-country race that starts and finishes with a tough climb up May Hill – placing 6th of the 293 finishers.
Balmer held on to beat club mates Matt Boon (7th) and Russell Langley (9th). Colin Westbury was next home, placing 84th, while Nick Bishop and Clive Poole renewed their rivalry with Bishop winning their private duel in 97th place to Poole’s 105th.
Youngster Briony Bishop produced a strong run, placing 134th overall and first Gloucester lady, Michelle Stark placed 187th and Terry Onions 200th.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Ian Summers and Lindsey Lyes travelled down to Royal Wootton Bassett to compete in the Lungbuster nine miles event. Summers placed 20th in 70:27 and Lyes 61st in 81:25.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s leading female sprinter Catherine Hardy (18) competed in her first indoor event of the season, the Welsh Athletics U20 International event in Cardiff.
Competing in the 60 metres, the Gloucester youngster was just 4/100th of a second outside her personal best when placing 6th in her first race in 7.88 seconds and then followed this up with a 7.0 seconds clocking in her second race. Afterwards, she said “Although I’m a bit disappointed not to have run a personal best, I haven’t done any specific indoor speed work, so I’m looking forward to a good summer season.”
Also competing indoors, but much further afield in Lincoln, Nebraska, Thomas George marked his 20th birthday by placing 3rd in the one-mile race at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational event in a season’s best 4:15.85.
On the previous day, the Club’s youngsters were in action at the South-West Schools Cross-country Championships where not only did they have to contend with some of the very best young distance-running talent in the region, they also had to deal with very muddy conditions in driving wind and rain.
However, the group showed their resolve and character as they produced a host of excellent results.
The pick of the bunch came from Harry Wells who took an impressive fourth place and first Gloucestershire runner in the Inter Boys race, his best run since joining Paul de-Camps’ training group last year. Training partner Bethan Moor bounced back from an under-par run in the recent British Athletics Cross-country challenge, producing a much-improved run to place 10th in the Senior Girls race.
In the Senior Boys race, Will Staddon produced another consistent run as he scraped into the top 50, placing 49th. Jade Gough continued her recent run of form when placing 34th in the Inter Girls race, while club-mate and fellow member of Kerry Newell’s squad Laura McPeake placed 53rd despite losing a shoe at the very start of the race.
There were further top 10 places for City runners in the younger age groups. Bethan Powell ran strongly to place 8th and second scorer for the victorious County team in the Junior Girls race while the youngest member of the group, Tilly Ashley, placed 7th in the Minor Girls event.
The 1800 competitors at the British Universities Cross Country championships at Plock Court in Gloucester also had to endure atrocious conditions but, again, that did not detract from the top level athletic talent and racing on display as the Championships came to the City for the first time.
In the senior men’s 10.2 km race, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Freek van Arkel, running for Cardiff University, placed 125th. Miranda Bass, representing University of Northampton, placed 443rd in the women’s 6.1 km race and Jack Evans placed 76th in the men’s 7.3 km race, running in the dark blue vest of Oxford University.
There was a healthy Gloucester Athletic Club turn-out at the first running of the CLC Striders-organised Staverton 10-mile road race on Sunday morning (31st).
The two-lap course took the field of over 175 runners from Staverton Airport, through Churchdown and back to the airport so, despite the strong wind, the route was fairly flat.
Russell Langley was aiming for a sub 60-minutes clocking in this his first 10-mile race and although missing out by 38 seconds, he was pleased with his run and 14th place finish. A sub-60 minute clocking will be well within his grasp in more favourable conditions.
Mike Mansfield produced another strong run, following his good showing at the County Cross-Country Championships and Birmingham Cross-Country League races earlier in the month, and placed 17th in 62:03, his fastest time for five years.
Jeremy Mower was just behind, placing 20th overall and first M50 in 62:11. Mower is currently in heavy training for the Anglo-Celtic late 100km race in March, so sandwiched this race in between two four-mile training runs.
Dave Gresswell was the next City runner to finish, placing 27th overall and 2nd M50 in 64:59. He has embarked on a challenge to compete in 50 races during 2016 with club-mate Ian Summers and this was his fifth race in that challenge.
Steve Haines and Matt Flynn battled throughout the race, with Haines just holding on to place 30th in 65:21, with Flynn placing 31st in 65:27 while Matt Newman placed 42nd in 67:10 as all three runners recorded personal best times.
In her first 10-mile race, Hayley Winters placed 46th and second senior lady in 67:40, while behind her Ian Summers (48th) just held off a fast-finishing Charlotte McGlone (49th and 3rd senior lady) as they clocked 68:01 and 68:03. McGlone, in training for the Verona Half Marathon in two weeks’ time, had used coach Arthur Daley as a pace-maker for the first eight miles and had set a new personal best time for the first 10 kms and was delighted with her run. Daley placed 54th overall and first M60 in 69:00, a new Gloucester club M65 best time.
Clive Poole ran another solid race to place 62nd in 71:31, while Sue Higgins placed 68th and first LV45 in 72:52, Anna Midgley 80th in 76:24 and Lindsey Lyes 96th in 80:22.
The Gloucester representation was completed by Dave Spackman whose 80:48 in 102nd place was a Club M70 best.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex George continued his unbeaten indoor season when he won the 3,000 metres at the Razorback Invitational meeting at Fayettevill, Arkansa on Saturday (30th). George’s time of 8:09.71 was just outside his personal best set last year and ranks him 5th on the UK ranking list for 2016.
Strong winds and heavy rain meant that the latest running of the Aztec West Fast 5K road race (26th) struggled to live up to its billing but there were still some good performances by the group of Gloucester Athletic Cub runners who competed in this monthly event.
Dave Gresswell was the first City runner to finish. Now competing in the M50 age group, he ran strongly to place 51st in 18:49 in his fourth race of the year. Matt Newman has started the year well, setting a new five-mile road best time and a best-ever placing in the Birmingham Cross-Country League, and he continued this rich vein of form with a best time on this course, clocking 19:15 in 62nd place.
In his third race in six days, Ian Summers dropped down a distance to place 83rd in 19:53 while Aaron Bennett, who was running his third race in four days placed 93rd in 24:48. Nicola Waters clocked 22:55 in 127th place and Hannah Bennett shaved four seconds off her best time with 26:43 in 151st place.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex George opened his 2016 indoor track season in spectacular fashion with a stunning performance in the one-mile race at the Arkansas Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas last week.
Now back at Arkansas University where he is in his second year of studies, the Gloucester athlete tracked his college team-mate Austen Dalquist before unleashing his trademark sprint finish over the final 20 metres to come home the winner in 4:05.69, the fastest time by a Briton this year.
Meanwhile, his twin brother Thomas has also been in action on the boards, racing for the Missouri University Tigers team. In the Missouri Invitational meeting on 15th January he clocked 1:58.41 for 800 metres when taking fifth place, a position he repeated one week later when clocking 4:17.07 for the one mile in the Rod McCravy Memorial meeting in Lexington, Kentucky. Both times were indoor best times.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s young endurance runners were in fine form at the British Athletics Cross-Country Challenge in Cardiff on Sunday(24th).
The fixture incorporated a match between a strong Cardiff & Vale Schools team and a Gloucestershire County Schools team which provided added spice for the City youngsters.
The U20 Mens race saw Will Staddon and Andrew McPeake representing the county Schools team and in very muddy and slippery conditions, both ran strongly to place 20th and 24th overall. These were fine performances given that Will has raced sparingly this winter and Andrew was running against athletes two school years older than himself.
Harry Wells featured for the County squad in the U17 Mens race and produced another solid race to lead the team home, placing 10th overall.
Owen Fishpool was unlucky not to be selected for the County team in the U15 Boys event, so he entered as an individual. He more than proved a point as he beat three athletes who were selected ahead of him when placing 62nd overall.
The girls are taking their excellent pre-Christmas form into 2016 as they continue to improve.
The U17 Ladies squad were prominent throughout their race. Bethan Moor, running as an individual, held off a spirited Laura McPeake as they finished just outside the top 10 in 12th and 13th places. Neither could afford to relax as just behind them, Niamh Powell and Jade Gough were also involved in a tussle as they took 14th and 15th as the team took the gold medal. Powell’s run was all the more remarkable as she lost one shoe mid-race before discarding the other as she felt her balance was affected, while Gough’s result was among the best of her short career. Club-mates Cressie May and Natalie Ashley-Towell ran strongly to place 28th and 45th respectively.
The U15 Girls race saw a podium place for Bethan Powell who produced a typically gutsy run to place 11th overall and 3rd in the Schools match. Briony Bishop put in another solid performance to place 41st while the Club’s youngest representative, Tilly Ashley took a very creditable 4th place in the U13 Girls race.
Afterwards, the Gloucester AC lead junior endurance coach Kerry Newell said: “The whole squad ran really well today. This was a big step up in terms of the quality of the opposition and the occasion and they all handled it well. Many of the squad will be racing in the south West Schools Championships this weekend and I’ll be very interested to see how they get on.”
In the senior men’s race, Gloucester Athletic Club’s Freek van Arkel continued his recent run of impressive form to place 35th of the 105 finishers.
There was a strong Gloucester Athletic Club presence in the 22nd running of the annual Linda Franks Five-miles road race around The Reddings and Up Hatherley on Sunday (24th).
Jack Evans, making a rare appearance in the Gloucester vest, hung on gamely to third place after the lead pair of Ollie Mott and Richard Dare of Cheltenham & Co Harriers had broken away. His time of 27:53 was a personal best by over four minutes.
Russell Langley and Jeremy Mower once again found themselves locked together during a race, with little to separate them in their previous encounters. This time, Langley prevailed as they placed 11th and 12th with times of 29:09 and 29:16.
Matt Newman and Steve Haines continued their private battle from the previous week’s County cross-country championships. Then, Newman finished two places ahead of his club-mate, this week it was even closer as Newman again held on to place 22nd in 30:36 with Haines 23rd in 30:40.
Aaron Bennett was the next City runner home. The club’s cross-country captain placed 47th in 33:06, ahead of Nick Bishop who clocked 33:48 in 59th place.
Further back, Dave Spackman placed 109th in 37:33 to take 2nd place in the M70 category, Lindsey Lyes celebrated her birthday by clocking 37:58 in 115th place, Chris Davis placed 159th on his return from injury in 41:26 and Claire Manley finished in 224th in 51:10.
Ian Lofty Summers was busy last week in his attempt to run 50 races this year to mark his 50th birthday.
In the Chepstow Rogue Run Night Race, a multi-terrain race starting from the local race course, in which runners had to rely on torches and lamps to stay on course, he placed 20th out of the 160 finishers.
He then competed in the Slaughterhouse 9-mile multi-terrain race near Bath which incorporated the latest round of the Wiltshire Off-road League and which included a steep hill over the closing stages which tested the resolve of most of the field. He placed 62nd of the 360 finishers.
Young Gloucester Athletic Club sprinter Beth Gardiner made her indoors debut when competing in the recent Midland Counties Open Meeting in Birmingham.
Competing in the U17 Womens 60 metres, she won her heat in 837 seconds before going on to place third in the final in a new personal best time of 8.28 seconds.
Afterwards, she said “I was absolutely terrified going into the race as this was the first time I had ever raced indoors and I was also running in the U17 age group against girls who were two years older than me. I was really pleased to get to the final and to run a personal best!”
The Gloucester Athletic Club cross-country revival continued with a strong presence in the latest round of the Midland Women’s Cross Country and Birmingham Men’s Cross Country League races at Blackbridge on Saturday (16th).
The ladies completed two teams in their event, with all eight runners making their first-ever appearances in the League, while in the men’s race, the ‘A’ team recorded their best points total of the season thus far when scoring 379 points in 10th place, with the ‘B’ team placing 7th of the reserve squads. Additionally, there were four more City runners in the race covering any mishaps.
Compare this to last season when the Club had no female representation throughout the season and there were only just enough men to complete one scoring team.
The conditions for Saturday’s race were a marked improvement to those of the previous weekend’s County Championships when runners had to contend with gales force winds, hail and rain storms and a flooded course. This time, although cold, a heavy overnight frost had rendered the course much firmer underfoot as the runners set off in glorious sunshine.
At the front of the field, the strong Loughborough Students squad, led by Great Britain international Jessica Judd, were dominant as they filled three of the top six places. However, the Gloucester team ran sensibly as they adapted to competing in the highest-quality field many of them had ever encountered.
Charlotte McGlone continued her excellent start to 2016 as she placed 52nd to lead the City squad home. Grace Vido is currently in her best form since signing and followed up her strong run in the County Championships to place 88th overall. Kate Burford also had her best race in a City vest, just holding off team captain Anna Midgely as they placed 122nd and 124th respectively to bring the ‘A’ team home in a very creditable 18th of the 35 teams.
Newcomer Kirsty Reid was first home for the ‘B’ team. Having only joined the City outfit towards the end of 2015, she ran a well-paced race to finish in 150th, just four places ahead of Nicola Waters, who chased her hard all the way. Charlotte Hall, still on the recovery trail following injury, placed 177th while Hannah Bennett completed the ‘B’ team, placing 248th.
The pace at the front of the men’s race was, as always, extremely fast and furious as the leaders vied for the best racing lines.
Further back, Nathan Smith had not enjoyed the best week’s training in the build-up to the race and this affected his chances of a top 20 placing. He was pushed throughout by team-mate Glen Balmer who acquitted himself well in his first Birmingham League race as the two placed 33rd and 35th.
Russell Langley continued with his recent fine form and was next to finish, in 66th – his best-ever League finish. James Head started off slowly, probably due to having worked an early morning shift and suffering from a cold, but he rallied to finish strongly and came home in 76th place, just ahead of Luke Herbert who, by contrast, started strongly but faded over the final mile and a half, placing 78th.
Another runner in his first season of competitive racing, James Walters, ran strongly to place 91st and complete the City’s ‘A’ team in 10th place.
Mike Mansfield made a welcome return to Club action and, lasting the course well despite a lack of racing, placed 93rd to lead the ‘B’ team home. Matt Newman and Steve Haines were never far apart during the race, with Newman placing 115th and Haines 117th, while Dave Gresswell in his first race since marking his 50th birthday, placed 154th.
Elder statesman Arthur Daley placed 176th and team captain Aaron Bennett completed the ‘B’ team, placing 188th.
Matt Powell just held off the fast-finishing Clive Poole as they placed 194th and 195th, though Powell was quick to point out that he knew his team-mate was finishing strongly but he was always in control of the situation. Club stalwarts Paul Loveridge and Humphrey Phillips completed the City squad, placing 222nd and and
Afterwards, men’s team captain Aaron Bennett said: “This was another great turn-out by the men and ladies. We’re getting the numbers out at these races and the spirit throughout the whole Club is fantastic as a result.”
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Charlotte McGlone was one of over 400 runners who took part in Thornbury Running Club’s Riverbank Rollick on Sunday (17th) – a nine miles race of waterlogged fields, hills and woodland along and close to the River Severn.
Despite having led her team home in the previous day’s Midland Women’s Cross-Country League race at Blackbridge, McGlone placed 78th overall and second senior lady in 74:36 while club mate Sue Higgins placed 111th overall and first in the LV50 age group in 78:53.
Gloucester Athletic Club youngster Scarlett Pegler competed in the South Wales and South West England Championships at the NIA in Cardiff last week(10th).
Not long having returned from 12 months out through injury, she set new personal bests in the 800 metres, clocking 2:46.10, and the 60 metres in which she clocked 9.64 seconds.
Several Gloucester Athletic Club members were recognised in last week’s Glos Athletic Association annual awards evening.
Jo Willoughby was the recipient of the Athletics Achievement Award as a result of her gold and silver medal-winning performances in the long and triple jumps at the 2015 European Masters Indoors Championships in Poland and the outdoors British Championships in the summer.
Catherine Hardy was the recipient of the Bob Hussey Memorial Trophy for track & field performances during the year. The Gloucester youngster enjoyed a particularly successful season, winning South-West England and Midlands titles over 100 and 200 metres and was ranked in the UK’s top 20 in the U20 Women’s age group at both events.
Dave Spackman won the M70 category in the County Road Race series and there were medals for James Head and Nigel Nash in the M40 an M55 categories.
Torrential rain that had fallen incessantly for several weeks turning the course into a mud bath, made Saturday’s Gloucestershire Cross-Country Championships at Coleford the most challenging for many years, with several experienced runners describing the conditions as among the worst they had ever encountered.
Nevertheless, there was some excellent racing during an afternoon which saw Gloucester Athletic Club continue to build on the improvement that has been evident this season and secure medals across many of the age groups.
Pride of place and the pick of the many impressive Gloucester performances came in the Under 17 Men’s race where Harry Wells carried his much-improved form into the new year to win his first County title and win by 50 metres from training partner James Chantler-Mayne of Cheltenham & Co Harriers. Wells’ club mate, Andrew McPeake, and another member of the Paul de-Camps training group based at Blackbridge, gave further signs of his development when placing 7th.
In the U17 Ladies race, Bethan Moor produced another strong run in what has been a very consistent season to take a well-earned silver medal behind the dominant Holly Bankes of Stroud.
There was an individual bronze medal and team silver to celebrate in the Under-15 Girls race when Niamh Powell was just run out of the silver medal place to place an excellent third place. Team-mates Laura McPeake and Jade Gough placed fourth and fifth respectively to ensure the City squad took the silver medal in the team placings behind the victorious Stroud trio. Natalie Ashley-Towell ran strongly to place 10th while Briony Bishop came home in 13th place.
There were more medals to come Gloucester’s way in the U13 races as Toby Scott and Bethan Powell both won bronze medals in the boys and girls races. Julia Ann Johnson placed 15th in U13 Girls race whilst the Club’s youngest competitor on the day, Ethan Hood, was just run out of the medals in a competitive U11 Boys race, placing 4th.
The senior ladies and men’s teams were not to be out-done by their younger team-mates as they produced solid team performances to underline their improvement over the winter.
In his first senior cross-country championship race, the find of the season Russell Langley took an excellent 12th place in a race dominated by the Cheltenham & County Harriers squad who filled no fewer than eight of the first 10 scoring places. Langley only took up serious running four months ago, having joined the Club from the local Kingsway Running Group.
Jeremy Mower produced a strong run that belied his years as he placed 17th overall and 1st in the M50 category, while Luke Herbert recorded his best county championship placing in many years, placing 20th, just holding off Steve Haines (22nd) and James Head (24th).
Another athlete in his first season of competitive racing, James Walters, placed 31st to bring the ‘A’ team home in second place.
Work commitments restrict Mike Mansfield’s racing opportunities, but he showed his worth as he led the ‘B’ team home in 37th place. Club cross-country captain Aaron Bennett adapted well to the conditions, placing 42nd, ahead of Dave Gresswell in his final race before moving up to the M50 age group in 43rd place.
Arthur Daley placed 56th, just ahead of Clive Poole (57th), with Dave Spackman earning the ‘B’ team 7th place overall as he placed 64th and 1st M70 to complete a county road race and cross-country M70 double.
The City ladies were also prominent in their race as prolific racer Charlotte McGlone led the ‘A’ team home to a bronze medal, placing 7th overall and 3rd senior lady. Grace Vido ran strongly to finish 17th while the team welcomed back their captain Anna Midgley who took an excellent 19th place.
Sue Higgins led the ‘B’ team in, placing 22nd overall and first W50, followed by Charlotte Hall in 26th and Hannah Bennett in 34th place as the team placed 8th.
Afterwards, Club spokesman Richard Blackwell said: “Overall, this was a great showing by the Club and shows that we’re moving in the right direction. Our team captains and coaches have worked hard over the autumn and winter to increase our presence at senior level and the talent we have in the lower age groups is plain to see. There’s a long way to go before we can challenge the likes of Cheltenham, but we’re making massive progress across the board.”
Former Great Britain sprinter and running coach with Gloucester Rugby, Marlon Devonish, was a guest at a recent Gloucester Athletic Club training session to spend an evening working with the Club’s sprinters and sprint coaches as the Club’s prize for winning a recent “Train with a Champion” competition run by The Citizen.
Devonish, who was a member of the GB team that won the gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics 4 x 100m relay, took time to hone the group’s sprint skills and technique through a wide range of exercises.
Lead sprint coach Garry Hunter said afterwards “We’re really grateful to Marlon and The Citizen for this opportunity. The athletes enjoyed being in the presence of a former Olympic champion and it also went a long way to re-affirm that what we’re coaching is correct!”
A group of Gloucester Athletic Club members travelled down to Bristol to compete in the Kelston 10km event on Sunday (3rd).
In addition to the cold, wet and very windy conditions, the field of 190 runners had to deal with extensive woodland trails, footpaths and open fields as well as plenty of challenging climbs that kept everyone on their toes.
Ian “Lofty” Summers led the Gloucester squad home, placing 17th overall and 3rd M40 in 52:53. Charlotte McGlone was the next to finish, producing a strong run to place 21st overall and first lady in 53:55.
Colin Westbury just crept into the top 30, placing 29th overall in 56:09 with Dave Gresswell finishing in 32nd place in 57:04 and Sue Higgins 43rd overall and 3rd lady in 60:27.
For Summers and Gresswell, this was the first of at least 50 races they will be attempting this year as they shall both be celebrating their 50th birthdays during the year. As Summers said afterwards, “Dave and I have both set ourselves a challenge of completing at least 50 races in the year that we celebrate our 50th birthdays. We’re just hoping that our bodies hold up to that challenge!”
At the Severn AC New Year’s 5 Mile Road Race from Elmore Village Hall on Friday (1st) the two entrants from Gloucester Athletic Club were engaged in a race-long battle as Welsh international ultra-distance runner Jeremy Mower had to call on all of his years of experience to hold off the challenge of newcomer Russell Langley, who is already making a name for himself in the City team’s ranks.
At the 1.5 mile turn, Mower had opened up a 100 yards lead over Langley, but despite Mower pushing hard up the Elmore Court climb to the halfway stage and closing in on 2nd place runner Oliver Starkey from Severn AC, Langley was closing the gap.
With one mile to go, Langley had reduced the deficit between the two to 50 yards and saw this as his opportunity to make his move. Mower rallied and just held off his younger team-mate to place 3rd in 30:01, with Langley finishing in 4th place in 30:06, an improvement of over one minute on his previous best time for the distance.
Afterwards, Mower said “I was going to try and push for 2nd place but when I saw how close Russell was behind me, I feared I may blow up so had to make sure I held him off and settle for third."
Langley is in training for the Edinburgh Marathon in May while Mower has set his sights on competing for Wales in the Anglo-Celtic Plate & UK 100km Championship in Perth, Scotland at the end of March.
Gloucester Athletic Club’s Alex and Thomas George ventured down to Mountain Ash in the Rhondda valley on New Year’s Eve to compete in the annual Nos Galan road races.
The races, which started in 1958, are run every New Year’s Eve in memory of legendary local runner Guto Nyth Bran and this year attracted an entry of 1500 runners of all ages from around the world.
The elite event saw the George twins tackle their last race on British soil before returning to their respective American universities for the indoors season.
European Junior 5000m champion Alex ran another excellent race, placing 3rd overall and 1st Junior man in 14:38, a new Club Record for the 5K distance on the road, while Thomas, in his first race for two months, placed 21st in 15:55.
The husband and wife team of Peter and Emma Jeffery, both members of Gloucester Athletic Club’s endurance group, braved the heavy rain and wind on the south coast to compete in the Broadstone Quarter Marathon multi-terrain race on New Year’s Day.
Battling against the wind, Peter placed 128th in 48:58 and Emma 246th of the 371 finishers in 55:38.