1 TOM RUSSELL – If you want last lap drama, then Tom’s your man! In an action replay of last November’s National cross-country relay championships at Mansfield, when he overcame what appeared to be an impossible gap on the final stage to snatch the silver medals, he did it again in the Midland 12-stage road relay championship, this time closing what on the face of it looked an even more insurmountable gap of almost a minute on Birchfield’s anchor leg runner to give us the bronze medals behind Tipton and Coventry. The reward for his heroic effort was the equal fastest time of the day for the 5K leg of 14:13.with Tipton international Phil Nicholls.
2 JON WILLS – Despite by his own admission not being back to his fittest following his recent extended wedding celebrations Jon once again proved his value as a first stage specialist by finishing a close third on the opening long leg of the Midland 12-stage, his time of 26:44; being less than 20 seconds shy of the day’s fastest (26:25). His target now is to aim for a sub 26 minute clocking in the National.
3= TOM LOWE & MATT CRANE – Both were making their first appearances for the club and did us proud. Tom, an international duathlete and former European bronze medallist is of course is no stranger to Sutton Park, having run there many times for his previous club Cheltenham, but he has run nowhere for the past two years following complicated knee surgery and was more than happy to come through this first test back with a more than respectable short leg of 15:37. Provided he has no repurcussions and can train on he should be much faster by the National. As for Matt, who is an international orienteer, he too could well pleased at dipping under 16 minutes with 15:53 for the short stage on what was his first race at this level.
1 REBEKAH RANDELL – Like Tom later in the afternoon Rebekah – our only first team member available – also ran a storming anchor leg to lift our depleted women’s team into the bronze medal position in the Midland 6-stage women’s relay championship, her time of 16:49 being the 7th fastest of the day.
2= DEBBIE NICCOL & RUTH MITCHELL – The two former UWIC student training partners proved more than able deputies by giving us a fine start over the first two legs of the Midland relay, their times of 17:31 and 17:44 respectively laying the foundations for the bronze medals that Rebekah made sure of on the final stage.
3 GRACE CRANE – Like her husband Matt on her debut for the club Grace ran out of her skin after taking over from Ruth to lose only one place on the third stage and keep the team within striking distance of the medals, her time of 18:26 being much faster than had been expected.
1 RICH PETERS – Rich ran easily his fastest ever time for the short leg at Sutton Park to lift us to within a couple of seconds of the lead at the end of the third stage of the Midland 12-stage relay. His time of 14:35 rather surprisingly perhaps proved the third fastest of the day, but credit is due as it was a full half minute faster than he had covered the distance before.
2 HARRY WEBB – Like Rich before him Harry also ran a blinder on the penultimate short stage to give Tom Russell the sniff he needed to take up the chase for the bronze medals. His time of 14:44 was his fastest ever too for the stage and almost as impressively the fifth best of the day.
3 SEAN HAZELL – Sean continued the steady progress he has made this winter with his best time yet on the short stage of 15:39 to keep us in the medal hunt at halfway.
1 ELLIE WIMSHURST – Ellie capped her magnificent winter by taking the silver medal in the senior girls race at the English Schools cross-country championships. It was a fitting conclusion to her school career and could so easily have been the gold medal as she forced the pace for most of the way and was only outsprinted on the final run-in.
2 HANNAH ALDERSON – Although her 23rd finishing position in the same race was not quite as good as her Inter-Counties performance, Hannah continued her rehabilitation to racing with a creditable effort in the heavy muddy conditions she always finds it difficult to cope with.
3 ROSEMARY HURFORD – Rosemary continued the progress she has made this winter by finishing a very creditable 64th of the 277 finishers in the senior girls event, a notable achievement when one considers she has only been running at all seriously in the last year.
1 PHIL PARRY – Phil completed what was a unique day for the club by clocking the fastest long stage in the accompanying 6-stage Midland Masters relay championship, so ensuring that everyone of our runners in action at Sutton Park returned home with a medal, Phil’s time of 28:44 earning him the individual gold.
2 MICK O’DOHERTY – Mick continued his new career as a V50 by taking the spoils in the Hastings half marathon. His time of 75:09, though a couple of minutes slower than he had run at Bath was proportionally just as good when compared to others who had done both races, and more remarkably still it placed him as high as 14th overall in the huge field.
3 ALISON HURFORD – Ali volunteered to fill in for Vicky Tester in the women’s Midland 6-stage team and was pleasantly surprised to reurn home with a medal, her time of 19:57 being good enough to still give our last two runners Susie Richards and Becky Randell the medal-winning chance they duly completed.
MIKE DOWN (25-03-10)