A busy weekend saw success on many fronts for our distance runners. Pride of place individually goes to Jon Wills who set yet another personal best of 29:50 in the Trafford 10K, surpassing expectations to finish as high as third behind internationals Mark Miles and Andi Jones and ahead of many other higher ranked runners.
Just as creditable were the fine performances by our men’s and women’s teams in the Bath half marathon. The women were we think clear winners, with Amy Chalk the first Briton in third place (she was only doing it for training!) and Nikki Brookland surprising everyone by also finishing in the top six with a time well inside 80 minutes. Susie Richards was a fine third scorer in a personal best of just over 82 mins. The women’s vets trio of Caroline Hewitt, Sian Monahan and Claire Jolliffe may have also taken the masters’ award.
Our scoring quartet in the men’s race all ran superbly, led by Oli Mott, who took nearly 2 minutes off his previous best and only just failed to make the top ten in 11th place (68;38). Our latest recruit Tom Merson was only a couple of places behind Oli in 69;02 and is clearly going to be a real asset to the team. Phil Parry also made the top 20 in another remarkable time for his age of 70;40, which also should have earned him the vets prize. And what about Dave Green, another recent recruit from the University. He took the best part of six minutes off his previous best and was not far down on Phil in around 25th place. In any normal year those combined times would have given us the team title, but Cardiff fielded their strongest possible team of Richie Gardiner, Dan Stevens, Nat Lane and Simon Lawson and almost certainly took the major honours.
The previous day our lads and lasses did us equally proud by winning both the men’s and women’s events in the Gloucester road relays. The men’s team was virtually Peters AC with support from Dan Layton, who was making his comeback after a long lay-off with glandular fever.
Matt Peters gave us a good start in third place behind Cheltenham and Halesowen with a creditable time of 16;40 for the 5.2K course. Dan (17;03) held our position, while Rich Peters (15;54) pulled us up to second with the 4th fastest time of the day leaving elder brother Craig to close a gap of around half a minute on Cheltenham, which he more than managed with the day’s fastest time of 15;21′ – some six seconds quicker than next best Josh Lilley.
Thw women’s trio of Kate Goodhead, Vicky Tester and Claire Hallissey were in a class of their own and actually finished in the top ten teams overall! Claire (17;32) was just three seconds faster than Kate (17’35), but both clearly are shaping up well for the forthcoming 6-stage relays.
There were also several encouraging performances in the British Students indoor championships at Sheffield. Best return came in the women’s 3000m, where in a slow run tactical race Katie Knowles took the silver medal behind junior international Emma Pallant in 9;53, with Imogen Ainsworth only just missing out on a medal in 4th place. Steve Mitchell won his heat in the corresponding men’s race in 8;36, but was unable to match tha form in the final, while Dan Woolford found his heat time of 8;55 not good enough to progress.
A pretty good weekend all round. Now we just have three weeks to sharpen up for the highlighy of the season – the 12 and 6-Stage road relays. please all try to make yourselves available fot the Midlands on april 4 as we want to qualify two men’s and three women’s teams for the Nationals on April 18.