Twelve masters athletes took the long trip to Long Eaton, Derby, on Saturday to take part in the annual, National Cross-country Relays.
The first race consisted of all ladies age groups, from V35 upwards and the men’s V65 race, with three athletes per team, each running a 3km leg.
The V35 ladies were our first team back, in third position, after a sterling run by Jessie Sanzo, returning to competition after a five-year break. Second leg athlete was Marie Monaghan, running her first race for the club. Marie set off after the Cheshire Dragons athlete ahead of her, hauling her in before the changeover to another recent club signing, Katy Roy, in second place. Katy ran strongly but was eventually caught by Cheshire Dragons Jo Marsden, who posted the second fastest leg of the day behind ex-international Gemma Steel. An excellent bronze medal for our ladies.
Our V45 team contained three ladies with very little cross-country experience - two had never worn spikes before. Tanya Chowdhury ran a storming time on the first leg, finishing third V45, being cheered on by her young daughters. She handed over to Julie Ilogu, who wearing a brand-new pair of spikes (which turned out to be a little tight), concentrated on the job in hand, ran an even paced race, handing over to Louise Cronin in sixth place. Louise, who more comfortable doing half marathons, ran consistently, with a great finish, crossing the line in sixth place.
The V55 team had a few personnel changes over the past week, due to injuries, but were confident that they had the correct running order. Sarah Everitt started the ball rolling, ran like a steam train, and finished fast in first position. Rosey Mushens, second leg was carrying a knee problem but ran strongly to hold onto the lead. She passed over to Clare Jolliffe, a late call up due to an enforced three-month rest due to a hip issue. Clare took instruction from Sarah, not to do anything silly, didn't panic and managed to hold onto first position. A shiny gold medal for the team, with Sarah delighted to be awarded fastest V55 with the added bonus of a new V55 course record (12:13), beating the previous one by 11 seconds-what a superstar!
The V65 men are included in the women’s race as they also have three athletes per team (the younger men race over five legs). Jonathan Goodland started off positively, initially tracking Sarah and finished in an excellent third place. Pete Mountain, who is more used to 800m on the track, took off as though he was on the track, passing two male athletes, bringing the team into first position. We had Dave Bedwell, who has recently been selected to represent England in the home countries international in Dublin, on the third leg. He ran the fastest leg of the day (V65) to hold on to first position, in 12:19-not bad for an over 65! Another gold medal coming back to Bristol.
As mentioned, these races are held annually and always good fun, not too far to race and well supported by teams from all over the country. We have the equivalent relays on the road, usually held in the spring, so if any club members over 35 would like to get involved, please contact Sian Davies (ladies) or Tom Burgess (men).
Our thanks to Clare Jolliffe for the write-up