First, may I echo Keith’s congratulations to both our men’s and women’s teams in the Midland 12 and 6-stage road relay championships, The men’s silver medals and women’s gold matched similar success in 2005 and 2006, though in the latter case it was the men who won with the ladies second. It has once again confirmed our position as the top club overall in the Midland area.
Perhaps of most significance for the men’s team is that our time of 3:47:02 was nearly eight minutes faster than we recorded last year when taking the bronze medals before going on to finish 6th in the National just over two minutes away from a podium position. Birchfield’s time of 3:45:44 was the fastest winning time for more than ten years, while ours was our fastest since 1989 and suggests that the ever elusive target of a medal in the National is at last within reach – African-born runners notwithstanding!! (Birchfield only fielded four of the large contingent on their entry list, a similar number as Scottish champions Shettleston employed in enabling them to take the bronze medals in last year’s National!!)
A special word too for the B team whose 9th place finish equalled our best ever achieved five years ago. It means we shall be able to field two teams in the National when the target will be to better the A team’s finishing position among their peers.
The final selection for the two teams will be made on Sunday, April 3. This gives runners another chance to prove themselves in the final Bridge Inn 5K next Tuesday, March 29 or in the special Avon county 4X5M road relay on the following Sunday, April 3. Keith and I have decided to use the Bridge Inn race as our Tueday training session, which is ideal preparation for the National eleven days later, while anyone who would like a runout in the Avon AA relay is asked to let us know.