TOUGH NORTHERN 12 & 6 RELAYS
Team managers James Bailey & Sian Holland
On a course which has been described as either interesting, challenging or just plain confusing to follow, the Men’s 12 stage teams finished 5th and 40th with the Ladies 6 stage team finishing 20th at the Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships at Heaton Park on Saturday.
After the success of the men’s 6 stage late last year, the hope was for similar success in the longer format, however a spate of late withdrawals left the A team the aim to finish as high as possible and focus on the National event.
The men’s teams started with Niall Brooks, Steven Townley and Richard McHugh. Niall recently showing good form, following his 50th placing in the National cross country, ran with the lead pack taking the lead at the half way stage. However after the long hill, Tom Lancashire of Bolton pushed on and Niall focussed on staying composed; finishing in 5th place. Steven enjoyed his run and came home in 52nd place with Richard, racing in his 1st 12 stage came home in 71st.
Next out for the A team was Simon Horsfield and Robert Flannery for the B. Unfortunately the 2nd member for the C team did not appear which meant the remaining 5 runners of the team were unable to compete. Simon took the first half of his short leg steady before putting on the after burners in the last mile bringing the team home in 2nd behind Salford. Rob, recently returning from injury, ran a composed leg taking 7 places and bringing the team home in 45th.
Gavin Hill and Paul Barrett took the next long leg. Gavin paced a very sensible leg working with the Leeds runner and on the second lap took his man and brought the team home in the lead. Paul ran a sensible leg on the hills of Heaton Park and brought the team back in 50th. Dave Marsh took over for the A with Mike Ashby running for the B. Dave ground out his leg only being passed by the Leeds runner in the last few hundred metres of the leg to come home in second. Mike had a few runners to aim at and picked up 4 places bringing the team back in 46th place.
Ian Wetherall and Kevin Foster had the honour of the next long leg, Ian, following his run in the Trafford 10k, paced a good leg and was only passed by a flying Steve Vernon in the last 400 meters. Kevin sustained the momentum and brought the B team in 51st. Chris Donnelly, a late call up to the A team, had the task of running the 6th leg with Chris Heys doing the same for the B. Chris had some tough competition on the leg but did well to bring the team home in 5th place, Chris picked up 4 places coming home in 47th.
James Bailey and Carl Barber had the next long legs, James, after missing January through injury, was running a time trial with gaps now fairly large and maintained the position of 5th, Carl picked up another place for the B team coming home in 46th. Chris Middleton and Elton Davies ran the 8th leg. Chris, currently in his 1st year at Loughborough University, just missed out on breaking 16 minutes maintaining the position of 5th. Elton just missed out on breaking 18 minutes but managed to pull back a further 3 places.
Jamie Roden and Phil Scowcroft were out on leg 9, Jamie fresh from his 65th placing in the Intercounties the week before ran a solid leg closing the gap slightly to 4th place. Phil pulled back time on the runners in front maintaining the position of 43rd. Ryan Moore and Mike Kilmartin had the penultimate short leg of the day with Ryan maintaining the position and gap to 4th place, Mike had a great run pulling back 4 places on his leg. Gareth Raven and Ian Jones had the last long leg of the day and a Gareth had a storming run but unfortunately the gaps were just a little too large and he maintained the teams 5th place. Ian, another late call up, brought the B team back in 41st place.
The final legs were handed to Peter Crawford and Michael Warton. With the gaps between 4th and 6th now quite large, Peter had the luxury of enjoying his last leg bringing the team to finish in 5th place. Michael, in his first race since December, brought the team home in 42nd place.
In the women’s race, Hayley Ashby set the girls off with a fine run of 19.04 to come home in 19th place and showing some return to form following a winter beset by illness. Emma Finney followed, continuing her form from Trafford 10k last week, completing the course in 19.43 and gaining 4 places to bring the ladies up to 15th place. Helen Armitage and Cara O'Brien followed with 20.08 and 21.25 respectively, both having solid runs and maintaining the team's 15th place overall. Louise Robbins was the first late addition to the team and 'stepped up' to 5k from her ironman training schedule and showed that there's still some speed in the legs to run 21.37 and Lynda Rowlinson gallantly stepped in as reserve to bring home the team with a run of 22.37. It was a good performance by all those who ran however, last minute replacements meant that the overall position was further down the field than hoped and what would have been a B team was consumed by the A team. Thank you to all the men and ladies who ran and on we go to Nationals in 3 weeks.
Posted 18/03/2014 14:43