Mike Down’s Senior Men’s National Cross/Road Relay Countdown – Part 2

This week’s message is short and sweet and directed primarily at our team in Saturday’s English cross-country championships. Last week I discussed at some length what might be needed if we are to finish among the top clubs. what I want to remind all our runners, particularly those who may not have run in the National before, is that it’s not just our likely counters that matter –  you all do.

First of all the National is unique in that apart from the traditional six to score team race, there is also a competition for the team with the best nine positions outside the medal-winning three, while there is also a separate award for the top club among the ten founder members of the ECCU – of which our parent club Bristol Athletic Club was one – and which we have won since the rebranding of the club in 2004. So unlike the lottery we have three chances of success! Remember too that any non-counters can still contribute by beating another rival club’s prospective scorers.

It is encouraging to report that at the time of writing this to the best of my knowledge we have had no withdrawals, so this is almost certainly the strongest team in depth that Bristol and West have taken to the National. There are enough runners of relatively comparable abilities among our squad to make this a real team effort, and it is quite remarkable how much difference it can make when you are able to run off each other. Let’s get out there guys and cause a major surprise.

Meanwhile I am sure many of our prospective road relay runners will be looking for Saturday’s results, not that they have not been active in their own right in recent weeks both on the road and indoor track. Dan Studley has achieved another landmark in his move to longer distances by taking more than two minutes off his previous best half marathon with a time of 64:23 in Barcelona, while on the track Mike Wilsmore has been really burning up the boards, producing his best ever championship performance in finishing a close fourth behind three of Britain’s four top 1,500 metre runners in last weekend’s National indoor championships. This performance followed his setting a new indoor PB of 3:45.28 representing England in Vienna recently.

Elsewhere Steve Mitchell has also been sharpening up on the track, finishing right on Mike’s heels earlier at Cardiff, where Josh Moody has also made a breakthrough by twice improving his 1,500 metres PB to just outside 3:57. Finally, Jack Millar has not only improved his 3,000 metres PB to 8:26.68, but in between his cross-country exploits made the final in last weekend’s BUCS indoor championships with two successive runs only just over 8:30. All is looking good with just three weeks now to the Midland 12-stage, which will double up as a trial for the National Road Relay a month later.

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