The club was out in force for an awesome day at the autumn edition of the regional road relays in Sutton Park. You can find reports on the senior team performances below.
Senior Men- Mike Down reports
MIKE DOWN’S NATIONAL RELAYS COUNTDOWN NO 3
Disappointment yes at being so comprehensively beaten in defence of our Midland 6-stage road relay title, albeit tempered by a sense of realism considering the team we were able to field, coupled with the welcome relief that we managed against the odds to qualify a second team for the Nationals on Saturday week. That was the harsh lesson of Saturday’s race. I cannot remember when we last finished as low as 5th in any of the Midland championship relays in recent years. and while that is a reflection on how successful we have been, we now have to accept that we do not have the strength in depth to cope with the absence of more than a few of our leading elite runners.
With only OWAIN JONES and JACK MILLAR of last year’s winning team in our line-up we knew a place on the podium would probably be beyond us and so it proved. Not that 5th place out of the 122 teams that started can be described as a disaster, but we were on average just over half a minute per man down on last year’s winning time. Then we managed to knock another half minute off that in the National, though it was still only good enough for 5th place. The harsh reality if we only make a similar improvement this year from our Midland performance, we will do well to make the top ten.
All however is not doom and gloom for there were several notable efforts that had not been expected on Saturday, particularly from PHIL RADFORD (18:26) who actually finished in front of ANDY WATT (18:42)for the B team on the opening stage. This is not to say that Andy, who was has been suffering with a dodgy achilles, let the team down as he was only 16 seconds back and well inside the top 20 in 16th place. It was just the cue Owain (17:58) needed and he underlined his early season fitness by passing 12 of those lined up ahead of him to put us in sight of a medal-winning position with the sixth fastest time of the day.
JARLATH MCKENNA (18:18), despite not having raced seriously since the spring, made his usual valuable contibution, shaking off a Park Run’s cobwebs to take us into the silver medal position behind runaway winners Birchfield at halfway, but that’s as good as it got. Though hardly helped by his late arrival a stressed MACIEJ BIALOGONSKI (19:07) ran creditably enough. losing only two place to the eventual silver and bronze medal winners Tpton and Cheltenham, to slip us back to 4th.
The gap in front now was too big for JACK MILLAR (18:25) to have any hope of bridging on the penultimate stage, and he was left to run a virtual solo time trial before handing over to JOSH MOODY (19:10) for the anchor leg. Josh, who has only recently resumed to full training after a summer season wrecked by an ongoing back problem, did all expected of him but had to concede 4th place to our old rivals Notts AC.
Meanwhile focus throughout was on the B team’s bid to qualify a second team for the National by finishing in the top 25 positions. As it turned out those selected for the national will have one of our coaches DAVE BEDWELL to thank for making it possible. Dave answered an eleventh hour call to run a leg for the Masters team that freed up STEVE GOSS to complete our B team.
As previously indicated PHIL RADFORD ran a cracking opening leg, theading his way steadily through the ruck to finish as high as 7th overall. STEVE HONIGHT (20:07) may have lost nearly ten places on the second stage but he ran up to recent form, while next up MILES CHANDLER (19:38), who is now back in Bristol after graduating in the summer from Oxford University, though far from race fit still gained three places to put the team well on target in 13th place at halfway.
ADAM WILSON (20:05), another on the comeback from injury – in his case plantar faschitis – did well to lose only four places, while our penultimate runner PETER BAINS (21:08) held on to drop only three more and leave anchor man STEVE GOSS (20:49) with five places to spare at the final takeover. Yet we need not have worried as Steve, belying his years, actually gained a place at the finish to leave us safely in 19th position.
Even without Steve our Masters team still made the top ten in their event. TONY ROPER (21:08), like Phil Radford, gave us a good start in 8th place, and while Aussie recruit RICH BOWLES (23:28) fell back to 10th, that’s virtually where we stayed thanks to JON GOODLAND (22:41), TIM WHITE (22:23), DAVE BEDWELL (24:05) and the evergreen PHIL PARRY (21:08), all of whom were giving many of their rivals ten years or more. Well done guys!
All that remains now is to try and redeem our reputation in the National when we should be considerably stronger, with among others our road captain STEVE MITCHELL and Bristol half marathon revelations HARRY ALLEN and MIKE WILSMORE in contention for selection. A place in the top ten must be the minimum target!
Senior Women- Natalie Griffiths reports
Although a cold, damp day we all agreed it was far better conditions than we experienced earlier this year at the spring Midland road relays when we had snow. We had an excellent turnout from the club with 3 full women’s teams and an incomplete ‘D’ team. All ladies ran the same 4.33km loop, which is slightly shorter than the loop run at the spring road relays, but still includes the much discussed long hill near the start.
Natalie Griffiths kicked off the first leg of the A team, and while she struggled to attain a good position on the start line due to lots of pushing ans shoving (I ended up about 4 metres back off the start line!) I weaved my way through to finish in a new course PB of 15:44 in 6th position. Hannah Pollak was our second leg runner who, despite only recently returning from holiday, managed to storm round in a time of 16:37 to move us up into 4th position. The third leg was run by Catie O’Donoghue, who has been in fantastic form recently running a new PB in the Swindon half marathon and last weekend also finished 3rd lady in the Worcester half. Catie showed us how all her training is paying off, moving the team up into 3rd position running the course in 16:20. On the anchor leg was Mel Newbury, who despite not being able to train as fully as she would like recently, ran an absolutely fantastic final leg in a time of 15:41 and moved us up into 2nd place to take the silver medal.
For the B team, Ellen came in close behind Natalie on the first leg running a strong race, paced perfectly, to finish in 16:24 and 12th position. Amy Partridge ran the second leg for the B team and demonstrated her continued strong running since the Avon road relays to finish in a time of 16:34, moving the B team up into 10th place. Izzy Talbotprice, another who hasn’t been able to train with the group for a while due to her work placement over the summer, ran the third leg for the B team in a similar time of 16:35, passing 2 others to move the team into 8th position – clearly showing she’s still got it, we look forward to having you back at training soon Izzy! Our World Masters Championship superstar, Sarah Everitt, ran the final leg for the B team and demonstrated to us all what an excellent style and finish she has, running 16:39 and maintaining the team’s 8th position – and finishing as first B team.
After not training for many months due to injury, Elaina Gard made a great comeback as first-leg runner in the C team, running a cautious, sensible race to finish in 17:24 and 31st position. Our infamous Claire Joliffe, who also recently returned from the World Masters Championships in Malaga, ran the 2nd leg for the C team and flew past 13 competitors moving the team up to 18th place, running a time of 17:06. Emma Joliffe took over from Claire to run the third leg and, despite also recently returning from holiday, managed to maintain the team’s 18th position running a time of 17:49. The final leg for the C team was run by Anna Duranmingo, who has clearly been training hard over the summer, ran a brilliant 16:58 and moved the team up one place to finish 17th overall (first C team).
Running the relays for the first time, Helen Clarke ran a superb 18:11, to finish 38th on the first leg for the D team. Latife Comlek was running the second leg for the D team, and unfortunately missed Helen Clarke finishing and consequently was missed by the officials on the start line causing at least a minute delay. Despite this, Latife, in her usual style, thoroughly enjoyed her run and finished in a time of 21:39 in 61st position. In addition to her new roles in the club, including team organiser on the day, Hen Anstey ran the third leg for the D team picking off a few places to move the team up to 58th in a time of 20:26.
Thank you all for making the journey and running brilliantly, we definitely showed what strength and depth we have as a club and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. With only 2 weeks until the National Road Relays I hope we will have an equally great a turnout, and try to better our times once again!