This weekend saw the National Masters cross-country relays take place in Derby. Setting off early on a cold but bright morning, the strong women’s V45 team of Viv McConnell, Clare Jolliffe and Sarah Everitt must have known they had a shot at a podium place – but what colour medal would it be?
The undulating course of 3.1km was sticky underfoot but first leg runner and England international Viv got the team off to a flying start, fighting her way through the crowd and finishing fast around six seconds behind the leading V45 runner. Second leg Clare set off in hot pursuit, overtaking the leaders after about 300 metres (all that speed work coming in handy!); although she admitted after that she was slightly panicked at being at the front! With Sarah bringing up the rear, was there ever any doubt that the ladies would come away victorious? She gave a solid run, gaining a three minute advantage over Cambridge AC (lying in second place) and crossed the line with a sprint finish, very fitting for a team of National Champions! There were definite squeals of delight when they realised they’d be going home with a gold medal.
A team of true consistency, their times were extremely close – Viv clocked 12.41, Clare 12.55 and Sarah with 12.51. Special mention must go to Viv who was running down an age group – although she was the fastest V55 by nearly a minute, so while she missed out on that medal at least she came away with a team one! Congratulations to the ‘golden girls’, who’s years of hard work are certainly paying off already this season.
The Bristol and West V55 men also made sure their trip to Derby was well worth it – they came away with a bronze medal. The team of four had never run together before so this was an amazing achievement. Well done to John Goodland, Gary Jennings, Dave Gapper and Pete Jennings, especially as Peter and Gary are still relative newcomers who didn’t take up the sport until they were in their 50s!
An excellent day for the club oldies and the medals made the long drive home seem a little less painful!