Northern Road Relays - Blackpool
Consistency won the day in the Blackpool sun as Sale claimed its first Northern road title since 1992. 12 solid legs from green and red saw off stern competition from Liverpool, Salford and Leeds, with all 8 short leg runners posting a top 3 time for their leg.
Nigel Martin capped off his sensational winter by running an outstanding 29:27 for the opening long leg (9.5k) instantly putting Sale in contention and handing over to Niall Brooks in 6th place. Brooks’ superb 15:24 was Sale’s fastest short leg of the day, endorsing his recent transition into parental life and allowing Matt Barnes to hit the park with just Liverpool in front. Matt Barnes kept Sale comfortably in second with a strong 30:18, before Luke Betts’s 16:07 eroded Liverpool’s lead by well over 40 seconds. Recent Southport Waterloo convert, Jo Vis kept Sale well in the mix on what was arguably the toughest leg of the day, as a 29:00 leg suddenly threw Leeds into first place.
With Salford now working through the leader board and big names left from Liverpool, the top 4 were trading blows on every leg, with the final order anyone’s guess. Euan Gilchrist sent another powerful message of his development with a stunning 16:13, stalking Liverpool’s leader around the park and gliding past him on the track.Paul Green’s 30:17 showcased the experience Sale can use in the team events, only surrendering the lead through another sub-30 Leeds leg. Recent recruit Adam Sciacca quickly seized control and regained Sale’s advantage with an outstanding 16:06, before Iolo Hughes further extended the lead with a breath-taking 15:27. By this point Sale had more than a minute to the Liverpool chase, and with only short legs remaining, word spread that the gold could be on.
Daniel Kashi maintained that cushion with a solid 16:42, before Alan White quashed giddy scouse excitement over the presence in the field of an 800m runner, with Altrincham's Dave Norman barking ‘this has to hurt’, there was never any danger that it wouldn’t. White’s 16:28 left James Wignall with a the hard-to-define task of seeing it out, but with a Liverpool beast in hot pursuit and gambling to close the gap, Wignall hit the track with a mere 10-second lead. Clearly in a dark mental place, Wignall used his excellent winter and track pedigree to kill off the challenge, his beacon bonnet gliding round the final bend to secure the Sale victory.
In addition to this the B team also managed to finish a very notable 22nd, the 2nd B team behind Leeds, and have also qualified for the national event on the 8th of April. The leg runners were David Marsh, David Rich, Nathan Harrison, Tim Kennedy, Alex Bradford, Lee Kaufman, Thomas Stephenson, David Connelly, Steven Townley, Ashley Lindsey, Rob Jowett and "James Walsh".
Sadly the ladies were less successful with only Julia Reynolds and Ruth Lindsey representing the club. A week before we had a strong team, but sadly due to illness, injury and other commitments the team was down to just 2 on the day. In 2013 we were 9th, 2014 20th and 2015 10th but no Sale Harriers ladies team at all today unfortunately.
Thanks to David Wood for the photos
Posted 31/03/2017 10:53