National 6 Stage Road Relay
at Sutton Coldfield on Sat 6th October 2018
Despite a few hiccups on the Friday beforehand where we lost Alex Yee through illness and James Connor we had two full teams mainly because Tim Lawrence and Neil Phillips took a late call and made themselves available to demonstrate that our team ethic was second to none and credit must go down to these two.
We were fielding 3 teams in total as we had a Women’s team for the second year running and the weather held up for us as we avoided the predicted downpour. Our man from Snowdon led off first and Russell Bentley used all his knowledge to run solidly to come home in 33rd position in a time of 18 min 13 secs to set us up nicely. Next up was Anthony Johnson who delivered the goods, despite only being moved into the A team at the last minute, yet he more than proved his worth as he gained two places with a time of 18 min 26 secs to demonstrate that he is on the road to his best form.
Then Owen Hind took off and looked very elegant as he surged through the field and gained 13 places place to come home in 18th place as he demonstrated that he is making inroads on his fitness. He handed over to another of our guys who had the late call for the A team, Jordan Weaver, and he ran well to record a time of 18 min 13 secs and hand over in 17th place to demonstrate that he is returning to fitness. Then one of our newer guys took off and Tom Mower ran very solidly, also looking good, despite not being fully fit yet to record a time of 18 min 31 secs and he handed over in 16th position to our club stalwart Chris Greenwood who was running the last leg. He had a solid run despite not feeling at his best and held our final position of 17th in a time of 18 min 46 secs in a field of 81 teams – all of whom had qualified through the area relays.
So despite not having a fully fit team because of end of season breaks the team were rewarded with an overall time of 1 hr 50 min 7 secs which was only 1 second slower than our best ever time !
Our B team also performed well on the day as first James Bowler led them off and used all of his knowhow to record a time of 19min 16 secs despite this first leg being highly competitive. Then Ben Harding took us right through the field as he gained 4 positions with a time of 19 min 31 secs to demonstrate that he is beginning to get fit again and he handed over to Dame Dibaba on leg 3 in 61st position. Dame then had a good run as he tore off and quickly caught 5 runners to finish with a time of 19min 20 secs in 56th position to show his true potential after a long spell of injury.
Then we had another much improved athlete, Joe Hartley, who had recorded a time of 15 min 18 secs for a 5000 m in August, who ran well as he took another 2 runners in a time of 19 min 9 secs and confirm his ability. Next up was Tim Lawrence who had only found out he was running a day beforehand yet he stuck to the task in hand to gain 3 places in a time of 19 min 46 secs. Lastly we had our other late recruit Neil Phillips who ran solidly in a time of 20 min 42 secs and finish our B teams schedule.
So despite our problem the day beforehand the B team finished in 53rd position and were rewarded with the fact that they were the 9th ranked B team in GB on the day.