It was an exciting day for the B&W AC supporters club at the Midland Relays held at sunny Sutton Park – almost too exciting for some.
First off were the women with Hannah Alderson bringing the team home in eleventh position despite recording the 22nd fastest time of the day among the 267 competitors. English Schools 1,500m Silver medalist Olivia Sadler, making her Senior debut, pulled the team up to fifth with the 17th fastest
time of the day. Then came the star turn, Annabel Gummow scorched round the course, and through the field to take the lead in easily the fastest time of the day (by 43 seconds). That left Steph Barnes to “enjoy” the glory leg pulling away to the third fastest time of the day to bring the team home just over a minute in front of the Birchfield team.
Sadly with colds taking out Rebekah Randall from the first team and Nikki Brookland from the second the B team was incomplete. This was a shame for Paula Gowling who returned to competition with the 26th fastest time of the day and Alison Wakely with the 44th. They could easily have finished in the top ten of the 58 competing teams had all gone to plan.
If the women’s race was exciting the men’s was breathtaking. Jon Wills got the team off to an excellent start just losing out at the finish whilst recording the fourth fastest time of the day. Steve McGuigan had the unenviable task of being chased by local star Matt Ellis (Westbury), but kept to his task holding on to give junior, Charlie Maclean, making his debut as a club Senior, the opportunity to take the lead. Robbie Bugden returning to competition after an ankle operation pulled further away recording the ninth fastest time of the day so that the team had a 45 second or so lead. This was where it got nerve racking! Tom Merson was forced to pull out with an injury on the eve of the race so 1,500m star, Steve Mitchell volunteered to step in. What sort of shape was Steve in following a lay off after his fantastic Summer campaign. Well, it was enough to hold Matt O’Dowd, the half-marathon 64 minute man by five seconds. That was enough. Aaron Thomas (Notts) flew past Tom Russel who judged that Aaron had started to fast. Along the top, Tom was reeling Aaron in, and safe to say looking more relaxed than Team Manager Mike Down. By Keepers Pool it was neck and neck, and Tom pulled away up the final straight to win by four seconds with the tenth fastest time of the day and this after a four month lay off.
The B team starred too finishing 12th out of 82 teams thereby securing a place in the National Road relays with Chris Dodd coming in at the last minute to replace Steve. Notably international veteran M45 Phil Parry had the fastest time of the team, while juniors Luke Grenfall-Shaw and Adam Speake both made creditable Senior debuts.
1 Bristol & West AC ‘A’ 1:01:32
1 H Alderson (11) 16:06 2 Olivia Sadler (5) 15:55 3 Annabel Gummow (1) 14:23 4 S Barnes (1) 15:08
Bristol & West AC ‘B’
1 Paula Gowling (12) 16:19 2 Alison Wakley (10) 16:47
Full women’s results are available at: http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2011/m411.pdf.
1 Bristol & West AC ‘A’ 1:49:06
1 Jonathan Wills (2) 17:42 2 Steve McGuigan (3) 18:47 3 Charlie MacLean (1) 18:17 4 Robert
Bugden (1) 18:00 5 Stephen Mitchell (1) 18:19 6 Tom Russell (1) 18:01
12 Bristol & West Ac ‘B’ 1:57:40
1 Daniel Woolford (26) 19:39 2 L Grenfell-Shaw (24) 19:53 3 Stephen Francis (18) 19:20 4 Phil Parry (15) 19:10 5 Adam Speake (17) 20:26 6 Chris Dodd (12) 19:12
Full men’s results are available at: http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2011/m611.pdf