The consensus was that the ARC South West Relays at Castle Coombe were a great success for which DB Max can take credit. It was from the club viewpoint will all four of our teams performing with distinction. Forty four teams started. Matt Battensby ran a solid first leg finishing second in 19.35 behind Swindon (& Tonbridge) star, Ben Cole who has a 14.33 5K clocking behind him. Not far behind Henry Sly was fifth in 20.06. Mark Edwards returned to form and running strongly reduced Swindon’s lead to 40 seconds on the second leg, while Torran Elson made a satisfying return to racing pulling the B team into fourth place. Robbie Stewart stormed off and as the runners disappeared into the mist seemed to be making rapid inroads into Swindon’s lead. Jaws dropped as Robbie reappeared with a commanding lead which he continued to increase with a 19.31 clocking. Meanwhile there were fireworks going on behind him as Jack Bancroft produced an astonishing 18.59 clocking to take the B team into second place. This was Jack’s first run since Boxing Day and is a testament both to the quality of the man and of cross-training to maintain fitness. That left Harry Allen on the glory leg, and elegant runner that he is, Harry did not disappoint with the third fastest time of the day (18.53) and a winning margin of over a minute. For the B team, Greg Chance had the unenviable task of setting off with a chasing pack behind him. There were some worried faces, but Greg didn’t panic and held on to lead fourth place Swindon by some 10 seconds with a 21.02 clocking.
The ‘C’ team was made up of three new club members from Whitehall Runners making their debut for the club plus veteran Mark Taylor. All three should be pleased with their efforts. Callum Brown, running over distance, was thirteenth on the first leg with 22.22, a position maintained to the finish. Luke Snape clocked 22.45, Sam Bentley 21.37 and Mark Taylor 22.30. The Masters mixed team of Steve Grant (23.58), Rosey Mushens (25.40), Jon Goodland (23.24) and Peter Wang (24.02) provided another highlight for the club with first mixed Masters team in nineteenth place overall. Both the Mixed Masters team and the Men’s A team were last seen clutching sizable bottles of wine!