Men’s SEAA 12 stage road relay, Milton Keynes
It’s a fine fourth place for Kent AC men with B and C Teams also doing well
Just missing out on medals is always tough. However, we shouldn’t be too downhearted at missing out on the bronze medal at this year’s South of England Relays. There was a great deal to be positive about in our Milton Keynes showing. Each of our runners can be proud of their performance. Without doubt everyone ran well. There were some good performances and some stand out ones as well. And it should also be said that as well as an excellent showing from our A team, both our B and C teams deserve a great deal of credit for what they achieved. The B team were twenty fourth in the race (44 teams Closed). They were actually the second B team not too far behind Highgate B. Then a measure of the club’s strength, the C Team was 34th – ahead of quite a number of first team outfits.
It seems our A team made a little piece of history in that it was the first time four teams had gone under 4 hours at the event when it’s been held at Milton Keynes. The Kent AC final time was 3:59: 39 – just over 30 seconds down on third place Bedford. The race was exciting and competitive this year. There were seven changes to the lead club before Joe Morwood moved Aldershot into a winning lead on the penultimate leg.
From our point of view, we can be particularly pleased with the fact that our two “new boys” Chris Busaileh and Jim Allchin both had strong runs. It was actually Chris who took on the always tricky first leg. He ran an excellently controlled leg, coming home in 12th spot. He ran exactly 24 minutes for his leg as John Gibert was to do later in the race. Chris was followed by James Bowler whose marathon preparations would appear to be going well judging by is swift 15:45. His run took us up to ninth place and it proved to be our fastest short leg of the day – by just a solitary tick. Our next long leg runner, Jim Allchin, managed to gain four places to bring us up to fifth. On leg four Anthony Johnson, who’d run an impressive half marathon the previous week, gained a place, and was just a second over 16 minutes. On leg five Dave Morgan consolidated our team in fourth spot. For a good part of the race Dave was tussling with a Hercules runner. In the end, Dave prevailed by some margin, and handed over to Pete Lighting. Perhaps more renowned for his marathon running exploits, Pete, who’d just come back from one of his trips to Keyna, was not far off 16 minutes for the third of the short legs. On leg seven Owen Hind had an excellent run. Perhaps not surprisingly Owen had been a bit disappointed with his National run. However, he showed here with his swift 23:18 that he is right back on form. On the day, it turned out to be the ninth fastest long leg. As regards times, he wasn’t far behind most of the other guys in the top ten – apart that is from Belgrave’s Nick Goolab. He registered a super quick 22:19 – a time nobody else got near. Our next short leg runner, Jonathan Tipper, is perhaps like Pete Lighting best known for his marathon running. However, he certainly showed he’s no slouch over the shorter distances. Jonathan was a mere one second slower that James Bowler, who as I’d mentioned, was the team’s fastest on the short legs. After Jonathan’s leg we were fleetingly in third spot.
Eventual winners Aldershot started charging on the next leg and credit must go to Chris Greenwood for not being fazed by Aldershot’s Johnny Hay’s early pace. Hay overtook Chris quite early on in the leg but Chris held on superbly. Chris recorded 24: 12 – good going in its own right, but surely quicker than any V40 managed on the day. He handed over to Sean Fitzpatrick with our team now in fourth spot. Again, perhaps better noted for his longer distance efforts, Sean was another of our short leg runners who nipped under 16 minutes. He wasn’t that much slower than Aldershot’s tenth runner. However, Hay had previously given them a decent lead over our team and this had slightly grown. On the eleventh leg, despite John Gilbert’s best efforts, it became clear that the third place was likely to elude us. Aldershot’s Joe Morwood was to run one of the fastest long legs which saw him overhaul both Highgate and Bedford. John, typically put it all out there, and came away with a very decent 24-minute time – our joint second fastest long leg. However, with Aldershot’s charge it meant we were chasing Highgate and Bedford on the last leg. The gap was just too big, although it will be noted that Jordan Weaver ran considerably quicker than Bedford’s last man. Jordan was under 16 minutes by a second.
So much to take heart from. An impressive run from our A team along with tremendously encouraging runs from our B and C teams. Let’s hope most of those competing here can make it to Sutton Park and give us the opportunity of making an impact at the National Relays.
1 Aldershot F&D 3:57:06; 2 Highgate H 3:58:19; 3 Beford 3:59:06; 4 Kent 3:59:39; 5 Belgrave H 4:01:48; 6 Tonbridge 4:02:37; 7 Hercules W 4:03:17; 8 Newham & Essex 4:07:05; 9 Cambridge and Coleridge 4:07:49; 10 Blackheath 4:09:11. (53 teams started, 44 finished).
Fastest long: N Goolab (Belgrave H) 22:19; M Bergin (Bedford) 22:48; K Clements (SBH) 22:50. Kent AC fastest Owen Hind 23: 18
Fastest short: R Harvie (AFD) 15:07; J Roberts (Southampton) 15:18; P Chambers (Highgate) 15:20. Kent AC fastest James Bowler 15:45 ������������������������������
Women’s SEAA 6-stage road relay, Milton Keynes, March 24 20019
The make -up of Kent AC women’s team that competed at Milton Keynes might not have been the one people would have anticipated. However, as is sometimes the case, unavailability for whatever reason means the team that turns out may not be the one that in an ideal world would have been on the start line. But while this might have applied on Sunday, the six women who actually ran acquitted themselves extremely well.
The team that ran four short legs and two long was not far off a top 10 finish – they were 13th out of 27 finishers. It was a result they deserve great credit for.
First up, running a short leg was Alexa Parker. I’m aware she’d run really well back in October at the first Surrey League, but I don’t think she’s been competing much since then. Anyway, she appeared to be pretty fit as she ran a very strong opening leg, steering us home in 12th place. Alexa handed over to Katie Rowland who’s had such a tremendous cross- country season. She faced tough opposition on this leg but kept our team in 12th position. She maintained the position overtaking one herself, but in turn being overtaken by one. However, there was no shame in being overtaken by the runner in question – it was marathon international, Tracy Barlow. Katie was right in her assessment that Barlow was running quickly as it turned out she recorded the fastest long leg of the day. Our next short leg runner was Joanne Campbell. I may be wrong, but I don’t think Joanne has run a relay race for us. You have to say this was not the easiest to start your career. It’s a big event and for many it can be quite daunting. However, she held her nerve well and got round the undulating course in a good time – just one passed her. She handed over to Eliza Grant, another who’s had a very good cross- country season. Eliza ran strongly on the long leg – just dipping under 32 minutes. She handed over to Susie Fairbrass who’s one of a number of Kent AC women who are doing the London Marathon next month. She had a steady run at a time in the race when large gaps had developed between teams. It meant for runners like Susie your bound to be running quite a lot on your own and not sure who you’re chasing. The final leg at this event was another short one for the women. Making a welcome return to the team was Lydia Blackmore. Although I haven’t noticed Lydia racing much in the winter, like Alexa who ran the first leg, she seems to be pretty fit. She wasn’t too far away from 20 minutes for her leg. Unfortunately, I wasn’t at the track so I missed what I’m sure will have been one of Lydia’s trademark finishes.
The team’s performance at Milton Keynes was extremely encouraging – especially when you consider who wasn’t there. In a few weeks’ time it’s the National Relays at Sutton Park. Let’s hope that as well as those who competed here, we can use the resources the club undoubtedly has, and get two teams on the start line.
Teams; 1. HHH 2:06;37, 2. C & C 2:09;04, 3. TVH 2:10;40,
Kent AC .13
1 A83 Alexa Parker 18:54 12 0:18:54 2 B83 Katie Rowland 28:45 12 0:47:39 3 C83 Joanne Campbell 21:28 13 1:09:07 4 D83 Eliza Grant 31:59 16 1:41:06 5 G83 Susie Fairbrass 21:51 18 2:02:57 6 H83 Lydia Blackmore 20:16 13 2:23:13