More grey hairs for Mike and Keith saw the Bristol & West contingent in the Midland Road Relays in Sutton Park on Saturday 25th September 2010 reduced to a single men’s team and two women’s teams.
First up on a bright and crisp autumn day were the Women’s Team and the two eighteen year olds got them off to a flying start. On first leg Hannah Alderson proved that she will mix it with the big girls heading off in a group of Senior Internationals that included Hannah Whitmore of Charnwood, Rose-Anne Galligan of Gloucester and Claire Martin of Telford. This wasn’t just youthful exuberance for as the four pulled clear of the field Hannah stuck to her task. Hannah Whitmore gave Charnwood a clear first leg lead with a 14:28 clocking – 30 seconds clear of Rose-Anne Galligan who ran 14:58. Claire Martin brought Telford home in third place as Hannah Alderson closed to within two seconds to clock 15:09.
On the second leg Ellie Wimshurst put months of racing inactivity behind her to clock a solid 15:43 in a real in at the deep-end return to competition. Her run was good enough to lift the team into third place as a resurgent Tina Brown lifted Coventry Godiva through the field from eighth to first with the fastest leg of the day – a 14:24 clocking. (This was Tina’s last run in UK before heading off to the 3,000 metre steeplechase at the Commonwealth Games).
On leg 3 Imogen Ainsworth looked as if she was having the most fun in a competition for ages as she cruised through – all smiles – into second place closing to within 12 seconds of England International Jane Potter who retained the lead for Charnwood as she broke 15 minutes with 14:59 for the fifth fastest time of the day.
Onto Leg 4 where Rebekah Randell – despite a stomach bug – set off to catch Tara Krzywicki. After initially closing the gap Rebekah had to settle for silver as the Charnwood athlete clocked 14:49 for the third fastest time of the day. Rebekah’s time of 15:09 was, with Hannah Alderson’s, the ninth fastest clocking of the day.
So the final result and a familiar one – first Charnwood, second Bristol (despite recording three of the ten fastest times).
In the ‘B’ team there was a great performance on the first leg from Camilla Briggs to clock 16:04 in twelfth place. Hannah Patmore ran 18:04 on the second leg as the team came in 18th. Clare Stevinson lifted the team back up to 14th with a 16:56 lap before Julia Belyavin ran 17:39 to bring the ‘B’ Team home in 15th place and third ‘B’ team behind Birchfield 7th in the race and Charnwood ‘B’ who were ninth in the race.
The Men’s race began with Jon Wills giving the club a deserved early lead when after a leisurely start he pulled away over the second half of the lap to come home first in 17:52 ten seconds clear of Jack Gray for Birmingham Running Athletics and Triathlon Club (now you know what BRAT stands for).
On the second leg a 19:13 clocking from Dan Woolford – one of many athletes returning to competition after a long lay off – brought the club home in fifth place. Revelation of the day was Martin Palmer with an 18:03 third lap that lifted the club back into the medals in third.
Matt Peters was another youngster in the senior ranks and he clocked 19:27 as the men’s team slipped to sixth. Tom Merson ran 18:39 to lift the club back up to fifth before an 18:52 anchor leg from Harry Webb brought the club home in fifth position.
Mention must also be made of Chris Dodd who went as a travelling reserve and ran a solo first leg – finishing 34th of 106 in 19:42.
It is disappointing to record that for the first time in many years the club is only able to run one men’s team in the National Road Relay on Saturday 16th October 2010 at the same venue as we didn’t finish a second team in the first 25.