Perfect 10 James leads charge to another crown
DOM James took individual honours as Cheltenham Harriers men’s team won the Gloucestershire Cross Country League for the 10th consecutive season.
Cheltenham’s ladies team and Naomi Eaton also clinched league titles at Pittville Park.
The in-form James established a lead in the opening half mile of the 10k race and came home 45 seconds in front of a tight battle for second.
Dan Owen won his battle ahead of Army athlete Kevin Sheppard and Bristol’s Jed Bartlett.
The Harriers packed well with Alex Lee and Jacob Pickering sixth and seventh respectively, Jamie Harper and Eliot Taylor completing the six-man A team in 10th and 11th positions.
The emphatic win clinched the title and made it nine seasons and 36 fixtures unbeaten.
Such was their dominance, the B team of Dave Aubrey (13th), Richard Dare (15th), Marc Fallows (17th), James Bingham (19th), Chris Booth (20th) and Nick Brown finished second on the day and fourth in the league.
The Harriers C team were eighth on the day through Alex Lindfield (31st), Dan Minors (35th), Dan Schofield (45th), Dave Rantell (67th), Matt Evans (85th) and Michael Ede (114th).
And the veteran team of Fallows, Bingham, Minors and Rantell headed the masters team standings to ensured they topped the final table.
In the overall standings Owen took individual silver, Fallows V40 bronze, Minors V45 gold, Rantell V50 bronze and Ede V60 silver.
The unbeaten Harriers ladies had the league title almost assured, but individual medals were still to be decided.
With the absent Naomi Eaton assured of at least a share of the title, Rachel Underhill was hoping to repeat her previous race victory to share the top honours.
But Underhill’s hopes were quickly dashed as Bath University’s Jessica Gibson broke clear to win by two and half minutes.
Underhill ran well to finish second, 24 seconds clear of the Forest of Dean’s Chloe Wheeler, and take the overall league silver behind Eaton.
Arguably the most impressive Harriers performance came from under-20 athlete Ella Burfitt, who made a significant step up in class to finish sixth and hird junior athlete.
The battle to complete the scoring three-woman team was a close affair with Fee Maycock overtaken by Amber Watson who moved from 10th to seventh.
A team score of just 12 gave the Cheltenham a 29-point winning margin over second-placed Gloucester.
In 10th Maycock finished as second LV50 runner both on the day and in the overall series.
Under-17 athlete Emma Quekett (26th), Hannah D’ambrosio (29th), Nicola Whiteman (33rd) and Roxanne Jones (38th) packed well as Maycock, Whiteman and Jones finished as third masters team on the day.
Leah Hopton (45th), Joan Shaw (76th) and Christina See (136th) completed the 11-strong squad.
Dan Owen made the trip to Northern Ireland for the Armagh 5k where he recorded a road personal best of 15.00 to finish 114th in one of the UK’S top races.
Dan Thomas was 13th at the Bramley 10 mile road race in 57.44 while Jon Barnes won the 37.5miles Railway Ultra in Shropshire.
Dom James and, below, the victorious Harriers ladies team