Welsh Castles Relay 2012
Men's Team Take Silver!
The Welsh Castles Relay is fast becoming THE annual running event of the year after yet another successful year for Sale Harriers. The event, which is a 200 mile relay stretching the full length of Wales broken into 20 legs, was yet again fully embraced by Sale Harriers this year as the Men took second and the Women came fourth ladies' team.
Dave Rodgers carefully selected a team which had the potential to improve on last years third position with the objective of overhauling the 51 mins which they would require to take victory from London based club, Serpentine. Unfortunately, this wasn't to be, as they fell short by 26 mins however they beat Les Croups to settle for a well deserved second.
Day 1 kicked off with some impressive performances with all but one leg finishing in the top 10. Performance of the day came from the Ravonator, who banished his defeat two years ago to cruise to victory by two minutes on the horrendous 13 mile leg into Newtown. Notable other performances included: Mike Hatch (3rd), Elton Davies (2nd), Richie Edwards (3rd) and Mike Kilmartin (4th). Saturday also saw two castle's virgins dipping their toe in the competition with Mark Windsor and Ian IRJ Jones. Both did well, with positions of 4th and 6th respectively.
Following an overnight halt in the swanky accommodation of Highgate, and the team lying in third , Day 2 began at the unearthly hour of 7am. The early Sunday stages were a slight blip on the overall performances as positions slipped out of the top ten through Pistol Pete Crawford (11th), Oli Gaillemin (10th) and Paul Barrett (12th). Barrett also had the embarrassment of being chicked on his leg! The rest of the team secured top ten finishers with the best of them coming from Gary Rowlinson (3rd), Chris Donnelly (3rd) and Carlos Barber (3rd). Incidentally, Chris was also chicked, however his performance can be excused as he was up against Louise Damen from Winchester, who went on to take the stage record for leg 18. Mike Ashby took the team home in the grand settings of Cardiff Castle to complete the relay in 21 hours and 57 seconds.
Not many running clubs in the entire country could provide 20 dedicated ladies to take on the castles relay. However this is not a problem for a club of this stature as they attempted to make it to Cardiff for the second consecutive year. Audrey Gresty kicked things off and there were some fantastic performances on day 1, particularly from Belinda Hammond who was four mins faster than last year, Dawn Holding and Sian Holland. The performance of the day was produced by super vet Jan Nichols who was first lady on leg 7.
Linda Rowlinson accompanied Pistol Pete to the start of his leg at the crack of dawn on Sunday and this was followed by Alison Pye and Kimberly Wilson who came third and forth lady respectively. Other notable performances came from marathon superstar Hayley Cavill (3rd) on the way to Drovers Arms on leg 14, Jo Street (2nd) and Castles debutant Zoe Gmerek (2nd).
Overall the ladies team made a vast improvement on last year by over an hour which is very impressive and they will look to build on this for next year and look to challenge Serpentine and Les Croupiers.
Following the relay, the team headed into Cardiff for some well deserved beers and a team meal with discussions already well underway for next years event. Thanks must go to a range of people including Sian and Mike Ashby who produced the transport plan, Dave and Lauren for team selection and all the drivers and navigators who ensured the team travelled the length of Wales without any hitches.
Posted 12/06/2012 10:27