RELAY GOOD RELAYS
Fechin Mc Cormick
For most clubs, each year the Autumn 6 & 4 stage road relays mark the end of the T & F season and for their endurance sections, the beginning of a short season of road races before the long winter of cross-country that culminate with the National XC finals next March. This year’s Northern 6/4 stage relays and the Young Athletes Relays were in Blackpool’s Stanley Park. The season got off to a magnificent start particularly for our senior men, who fielded 5 teams and produced arguably their best ever performance at these championships...and they were not alone!
After narrowly missing out on medals at these championships last year, the club’s A team ensured a fantastic podium place with a superb showing, taking a clear 2nd place having led the race following a devastating run by Antony Ford on leg 3, right up until the final stage. The B team were the best second string team on the day, finishing one place ahead of Morpeth’s B team and Liverpool Harriers’ A team, while Sale Harriers also finished as first C team, in 36th, ahead of a number of A and B teams.
Not to be outdone, the D team bested Salford D, the only other D team on display, while the club also fielded the beginnings of a very solid E team, although in the end they were incomplete, finishing with just 4 runners.
The course featured a bumpy first mile followed by a series of twists and turns on the trails and paths of Stanley Park and made for excellent spectating and supporting. James Bailey got the team off to a good start, coming home in 9th, before Ryan Worland improved the position with a fine run to take the team up to 5th. Antony Ford, in the midst of training for the Frankfurt Marathon, produced the fastest leg of the day by any runner on display and turned a sizeable deficit into a 200m lead, a lead which Simon Horsfield and Charlie Hulson did well to keep, both having only recently returned to running after successful track seasons. Gavin Hill was in a similar position, having taken a break, and he began the final leg with the lead down to 2 seconds. He ran as hard as he could, but his Leeds rival had too much on the day and the team had to settle for silver, a fine achievement.
With 8 Sale runners in the top 50 legs of the day and both the A and B teams in the top 10, the senior men move on to the National Championships on October 12th with genuine medal-winning aspirations.
Our senior women weren’t quite as formidable but two teams did their very best in their current circumstances. Under the new management of Cara O’Brien, the ‘A’ quartet of experienced Jan Nichols; Megan Davies, who’s the club’s promising young talent who’s had a great summer; Sarah Douglas, training for the Yorkshire marathon on heavy mileage and in-form Helen Armitage, finished 14th . This is a vastly improved position on last year. The B team of Cara O’Brien, Cat Jones, Katie Reece and Emma Finney were as good as last year’s A team and by finishing 33rd, maintained impressive consistency for the club’s B teams over the past five years.
Next, our younger girl’s! Our U13’s, last year’s champions, this year finished runner’s up to Liverpool H & AC but the trio of Bethany Thornton, Lizzie Twite (both of whom are a year young) and Niamh Nugent (currently not in her best form) really could not have done more to retain the title against older/stronger Liverpool girls. The U15 ‘A’ trio of Ellie Twite, Alexa Mc Tiffen and Danielle Stringer finished 6th and produced their section’s best result since they won the title way back in 2007. The ‘B’ trio of Olivia Green, Francesca Brint and Frankie Reid, by finishing 11th, also produced their section’s best ‘B’ result for even longer years. Our U17 girls ‘A’ team of Catherine Podmore, Flora Whyte and Amber Towns finished 10th and the ‘B’ team of Hannah Simeen, Rachel Hibberd and Hannah Christy finished 18th but the exciting thing about this section is their future promise. They have the depth and quality to produce some of the club’s best days. Stick at it, girls!
Finally, the lads..........! It’s always a problem with Saturday football and this year again no U13 team turned out. The U15 boys (Jake Spilsbury, Dylan Burchill and Adam Kinghorn) finished 7th with all of them running so well that they produced their section’s best result for many years. In the U17 race, the ‘A’ team of Adam Roden, Euan Gilchrist and Ben Yates and the ‘B’ team of Lewis Singleton, Matt Beacock and Sam Mayon finished 12th and 22nd respectively but the exciting thing about this group, like the U17 girls, is their future promise. They have youth, depth and strength if only they keep together and continue their hard work. (Photography www.hsphotos.co.uk ). (30/09/13)
Posted 01/10/2013 07:14