ATHLETICS: Harriers ace disqualified after wrong trousers contoversy

IT WAS a case of the wrong trousers for runner Gary O’Brien as he suffered a bizarre disqualification recently.

The Swindon Harriers man was expunged from official results at the Nether Heyford Santa Run due to a wardrobe misdemeanour.

Competing in the five-mile race in Northamptonshire dressed in a Santa costume complete with beard, O’Brien clocked 27:56 which gave him a winning margin of more than three minutes and a club record for 2013.

In addition, the 43-year-old thought he had scooped the £100 prize for catching the runner in the Christmas pudding outfit, who had been given a generous headstart.

However, O’Brien’s joy quickly evaporated afterwards when he was informed by a race official that his red and white stockings - which he had worn in place of traditional Santa trousers - had rendered him ineligible to compete.

Harriers’ joint male athlete of the year said: “It was just a fun run and all for charity. I wouldn't have minded so much if I hadn't noticed the female trophy winner had worn exactly the same elf stockings.”

In the Swindon Santa Run at Coate Water, under 15s ace Mollie Moldino was the 16th female home in 29:31, which saw her end up 45th overall.

Also competing was Swindon Half Marathon champion Nathan Montague, who took a pushchair around the course to finish 163rd in 41:05, while Steve Goulding and his wife Julie Goulding were 171st and 174th respectively.

The 2.5km race saw under 15s runner Eleanor Day finish as the fourth female and ninth overall in 13:59 while Jenny Connolly was the 27th woman and 45th overall.

Elsewhere, in the first round of the Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC Winter Series at Eton Indoor Centre, it was a successful meet for Abbie Chaundy.

Harriers’ female athlete of the year equalled an under 20s club record that has stood for six years in the 60m, winning her heat in 7.99 seconds, before breaking the record in the second round.

She clocked 7.95 seconds which was just three hundredths slower than the club’s senior women’s record set by Kayleigh Harper in 2007.

Abby Miles and Maiya Todd set personal bests in the same event of 8.50 seconds and 8.66 seconds as they finished first and third respectively in round two. Lydia Rogers was third in the round two in 8.72 seconds.

In the latest Swindon Parkrun, Barrie Brown was Harriers’ first finisher in the 5km race, winning the men’s over 35 age group and finishing fifth overall in 19:16.

Life Member Bill Silto triumphed in the over 65s category and was 37th overall (21:43), while Isaac McAdam was the second junior home and 20th overall in 20:11.

There were a number of other notable performances from Swindon Harriers runners.

Jake Southwood was in impressive form as he was the third junior male across the line in his Swindon Parkrun debut (20:28), while Charlie George achieved the same feat in the junior women and was the fifth woman home overall (23:18).

Jenny Garth was second in the over 55 women’s category and 13th overall in 25:36.

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