Midland Relays – Medals but no Gold – Saturday 21 September 2013

As usual the Team Managers were shattered come the day with Mike Down and Keith Brackstone finding the seniors particularly challenging. Mike was never sure until Friday night who would be in the ‘A’ Team and whether he would get a full ‘B’ team out. At least Keith had the luxury of a rock solid ‘A’ team from early on, his  challenge was could he get a full ‘C’ team out – eventually on Thursday night having finally got up to 12 runners to go back to 11 minutes later he decided enough was enough and settled for two teams.

Alison Hurford has a new Ali’s Army as several of last year’s under-13s moved up an age group, so her decision to field two under-13 boy’s teams was about giving new comers experience of racing in a regional championship race. All six under-13s were either young or inexperienced and all were stepping into the unknown. Although we finished last 2 teams 18th and 19th there were a couple of performances that stood out.

Dan Marshall went well on the first leg to run 15.50 and finish eleventh young Stan Harding-Hill ran a solo run at the end to record 16.36 for the final leg for the ‘B’ team. Full Under-13 boy’s results are at:

http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2013/myar13b.htm

A fairly late combination of athletes coached by Keith Brackstone and Dave Taylor saw the club enter an under-13 girls team and this was a great decision despite the real lack of experience of the athletes involved. Nancy Dineen was a revelation on the first leg – storming up the final hill in fifth place in 15:25 – a time that was to finish as seventh fastest of the day. Olivia Croft (17:36) dropped four places to ninth – but managed to keep the team in the top ten a position Jess Frazer maintained on the final leg. Jess’ time of 16:50 was equal thirtieth fastest of the day. A top ten finish (out of 26 complete teams finishing) was a great result for such an inexperienced team. Full under-13 girl’s results are at:

http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2013/myar13g.htm

Many of Ali’s under-13s from last year are now racing as first year under-15s and racing against athletes who are a year older is always challenging so it was heartening to see the ‘A’ team finish seventh and the ‘B’ team ninth. Kieron Dunkley got off to a solid start in eleventh place (14.01) and Hugh Sadler moved through to eighth clocking 14:16 with Jack Flower gaining one more place on the last leg as he ran 15:04. The ‘B’ team were never too far behind the ‘A’ team after Billy Cochrane got them off to a solid start finishing fourteenth in 14:27, Anton Mills lifted the team 4 places as he ran 14:41 with Kyle Haynes gaining one more place on the last leg as he ran 14:38. Full under-15 boy’s results are at

http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2013/myar15b.htm .

Eloise Browne was the only athlete in the under-15 girl’s team and pulled out with stitch when lying fifth.

In the under-17 men’s group the team finished fourteenth of the eighteen teams but there were 24 runners on the first leg where Corey Haynes finished twentieth in 14:01. On the second leg Stuart O’Connell moved up to eighteenth as he clocked 14:39. On the third leg Henry Cochrane ran the fastest club time of the day, recording 13:58 as he moved the team up to fourteenth. Full results of the under-17 men’s race are at

http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2013/myar17m.htm   

In the under-17 ladies team there was a disappointing field of only nine teams finishing. Jess Monk was our sole runner and had the misfortune to miss the start as I am advised that the race started 10 minutes before the advertised time. Jess is down as having run 16:54 but I am not sure whether this is her actual running time or the time between the gun going for the race and Jess actually crossing the line at the end of her leg. Full results of the under-17 ladies’ race are at

http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2013/myar17w.htm

As the start time for the Senior Men’s and Women’s races drew near Keith Brackstone was on his mobile trying to establish the whereabouts of Kate Goodhead and Phil Wylie so even on race day a team manager’s lot is not an easy one. Kate eventually arrived nine minutes before the start of the Senior Ladies event giving Keith just enough time to scoot out on the course to offer encouragement where needed. Charlotte Green may appear really confident but her first relay outing for the ‘A’ team in a regional championship left her feeling the pressure; serious support from Dave Taylor and Keith Brackstone meant she toed the line believing she was up to the task and a top 10 finish in 15:57 gave the team the start it was looking for. Anna Burton made great progress last season in her first year in the sport and repaid her coach’s faith in her as she lifted the team to third place clocking 15:48 (thirteenth fastest of the day). Annabel Gummow always seems to deliver the goods at Sutton Park and Saturday was no exception as she swept past Notts and then Charnwood to take the lead clocking 14:54 for fifth fastest of the day. Kate Goodhead set off on what might have been the glory leg had it not been for Juliet Potter from Charnwood who ran a storming 14:18 for fastest leg of the day to take arch-rivals Charnwood to victory. Kate ran 15:03 for seventh fastest of the day to bring the ladies home in silver medal position. The ‘B’ team started in seventeenth place as Viv McConnell (16:47) made a welcome return to racing. Clare Hodgson found a 16:55 clocking lifted the team to fourteenth place before Julia Belyavin’s 16:31 lifted the team to ninth place. Ellen Harrison ran 17:39 to bring the team home in twelfth place and second ‘B’ team – again behind Charnwood. Clare Stevinson who must be the ultimate club supporter was present again as travelling reserve and ran 16:51 to finish nineteenth on the first leg. Full senior women’s results are at http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2013/m413.htm .

The final event of the day was the Seniors’ and Master’s Races which were run together. Dan Studley gave the senior men a great start coming home fourth in 18:07. Adam Speake ran 19:42 and was overtaken by three runners. Phil Wylie promptly took three places back on the third leg as he tore round the course in 17:47 for the fastest time of the day. Will Christofi (18:55) and Oli Mott (18:45) kept the club in fourth place and the stage was set for Steve Mitchell to chase for a medal. After a mile he was clocked at 14 seconds behind Coventry and 2 seconds behind Notts AC in third place – could he make up the two places to bring the club home in first place? The answer was no – coming back to racing after a three week end of track lay off Steve was able to hold the place he had caught but never got on terms with Aaron Scott (Notts) or Stephen Emery (Coventry). Steve’s time of 18:17 was fourteenth fastest of the day.

Mike Down had to admit defeat with the ‘B’ team when he couldn’t secure a sixth runner so the team didn’t close in. Full Senior Men’s results are at

http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2013/m613.htm

However, the club’s third team medal of the day was won by the masters as a strong second half of the race brought the team back when they looked out of contention early on. The master’s results make the event look more clear cut but as the race was within the senior men’s it took all of Mike Down’s attention to identify where the team was in relation to other vet’s teams. Jerry Hogan led off in ninth place but his 21:40 clocking left the team over 3 minutes down on early leaders Leicester. Gareth Cullen held ninth as he clocked 21:35 on the second leg and it was Steve Goss on leg three who led the fight back gaining three places to finish sixth as he clocked 20:07. Like a good wine our senior veterans just get better with age and Alec Woods took the team to fourth place clocking 19:57. On the penultimate leg Mick O’Doherty ran 19:54 to take the team into a medal position before Phil Parry clocked 19:27 to take the team into the silver medal position. A great performance considering the average age of the team was a lot higher than most of the vets teams. The last four club legs all featured in the top ten Master’s lap times of the day. Full vet’s results are at

http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2013/mm13.htm

Not quite 2011 when the club won the Men’s and Ladies’ Senior events but three team medals plus some good performances by the club’s youngsters were a good afternoon’s work – and the sun shone!