NATIONAL 6, 4 & YA RELAYS
Fechin Mc Cormick
The major club event of this weekend was the National 6 & 4 stage Road Relays at the long-time established ‘Mecca’ for road relays of Sutton Coalfield in Birmingham. It’s here where the great and the good of Britain’s endurance runners over the decades have ‘strutted their stuff’ to the highest levels Last year, Sale Harrier’s men were the national bronze medallists and the year previous, they made club history by being the club’s first team ever to win a National road relay title.
This year neither the men nor women’s squads were able to flex their potentially formidable muscles again, doubtless to the frustration of team managers James Bailey and Helen Armitage who must deal with inevitable ‘unavailability’s’. Consequently, the men’s team finished 17th and the women’s ‘A’ team was 29th and their ‘B’ team 56th. Unfulfilled team promise is nothing new to any club but oh! If only these clubs could challenge this perennial problem of ‘unavailability’ that frustrates so much potential. The positives are that finishing teams in these positions is still no mean feat in this national cauldron but Sale Harriers has higher expectations.
Whilst the focus is inevitably on ‘team’ results, there were commendable individual performances. 50% of the men’s team - Nigel Martin, Gavin Hill and Callum Rowlinson had their inaugural baptism by fire in this championship and all raced very well. More experienced hands - or should I say ‘feet’- Matt Bond, Antony Ford and team manager James Bailey were slightly down on their previous year’s times but all had good reasons.
Similarly the women. Most of the eight in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ team had their first experience in this National Championship and all took something positive for their running treasure troves. Louisa Candioli was thirty seconds faster than last year; Helen Armitage recorded one second faster; Katie White for the ‘A team and ‘Kath Wellam for the ‘B’ team (who’d just returned from her impressive 6th place in the World Biathle Championships); Anne Chinoy (who heroically stood into the breach in the eleventh hour) and Sinead Ferguson (who’s only just joined the club and was inspiringly ‘up-for-it’) had their first national experience ‘A’ member Emma Finney and ‘B’ team Katherine Barker led by example in making the journey for club and country and making their positive contributions.
The following day, Dave Marsh took the U17 Northern Road Relay Champions (Francesca Brint, Olivia Green and Claudia Cowan), an U15 boys team (Zenon Caine, Alex James and Jacob Corrie) and a U17 men’s team ( Dillon Cooper, Aidan Stirrup and Charlie Candlish) to the Young Athletes Championship. The Northern Champions finished 11th and the first Northern team and discovered yet another level of tough competition, as did the U15 boys trio who were 33rd and the U17men who were 40th.
Posted 06/10/2015 15:37