After an outstanding result in the Midland under-17 men’s road relay expectations were high for the National Road Relay – particularly as Hobie Martin was strengthening an already strong squad. The non-availability of Will Christophi saved Team Manager Dave Bedwell any selection headaches and the only decision left was the running order. On the day Zak Tobias led the team out and gave it 100% throughout. Never out of the top five he worked really had to bring the team home in third place as he clocked 11.56 – in front were Phillip Grout (Shaftesbury Barnet) in 11.49 and Alex Carter of Team Bath in 11.50. Luke Jacobs quickly took the lead and his 12.04 leg was another great performance. Behind him Shatesbury Barnet were leading the chase. Hobie Martin ran a very mature last leg to bring home the gold. Michael Callegari closed Hobie to just 5 seconds half way round the lap before Hobie stretched away on the second half of the lap to win by 16 seconds. A great result for three young athletes who put a lot of hard work into developing their potential within the sport and their times made Hobie, Zak and Luke the second, fifth and eighth fastest individuals on the day.
Lewis Nightingale and Pat Krause also competed in the under-17 men’s race and it was disappointing that there wasn’t a third runner to complete the team. Lewis finished fifty-first on the first leg clocking 13.26 and Pat Krause advanced one place to fiftieth running 14.15 on the second leg.
Earlier the under-17 ladies team of Miranda Sadler, Annesley Park and Victoria Kenney had finished ninth in their race. Miranda recorded 14.35 for fifteenth place on the first leg before Annesley brought the team up to ninth on the second leg with a time of 14.52. On the final leg Victoria set out really hard on the first half of the lap to close down on the two runners in front but never quite caught them and finished in ninth place – her time was 14.54.
The first race the club competed in was the under-13 boys with Ali Hurford’s squad producing two full teams. The promise of the Midland Counties Championships where the ‘A’ Team finished fourth was not fulfilled as Billy Cochrane came home in thirty-fourth place on the first lap nursing an achilles tendon problem from rugby earlier in the week. His time of 15.32 was over 30 seconds slower than his 14.57 clocking in the Midland Championships. Behind him James Pyke ran a solid leg in 16.31 to bring the ‘B’ Team home in forty-first place.
On the second leg Anton Mills remained in thirty-fourth place and his time of 16.17 was almost one minute slower than the 15.19 he ran in the Midlands. For the ‘B’ team George Green probably produced the under-13 run of the day as his 15.41 clocking lifted the ‘B’ team six places to thirty-fifth.
On the third leg Hugh Sadler showed something more like his true form – having run 15.51 in the Midland relays – he ran 15.01 – fifty seconds faster on this occasion – as he lifted the team to twenty-fourth. Had Billy and Anton run closer to their Midland form the team might have finished ten places higher – which would probably have been more representative of their potential.
Tom Krause wrapped up the ‘B’ team’s effort taking five places as he ran 16.42 on the last leg to bring the team home in thirtieth place.
It would be great to see the club field teams in all age groups next year and I know this is something the club is already working on. The under-17 men and women are leading the way by example and it is up to the club to find the young athletes to follow in their footsteps.