English National 12 & 6 stage road relays

Sutton Park, Birmingham - Saturday 16th April

Last weekend Holmfirth Harriers made the journey down to the West Midlands to compete in the English National Road Relay championships at Sutton Park. The event is held over 12 stages for men, which alternated between long legs (5.3 miles) and short legs (3.1 miles) The women ran 6 legs; 2 long and 4 short.

Katie Walshaw RRs 2016 240

Katie Walshaw

The men’s team was a weakened version of the Northern team, some of our better runners dropping out for various reasons. However, those selected gave everything and did the club proud. Stu Sharp, despite running the London marathon the following week, put himself up for the first leg and ran strongly, finishing 32nd against top quality opposition. (28.14). Lavelle Pierre took over on two and despite nursing an injury put in a good performance. 45th (18.06). Phillip Hewitt, having returned from holiday, ran well on three. 55th (31.47). Robert Hinchliffe Smith pulled one place back on four. 54th. (19.30). Alex Robinson did even better on five, gaining four more places. 50th. (29.55). A great effort from one of our younger runners doing his first long leg. Super vet Julian Rose held on to that position on six. (18.43). Another one of our younger Kai Sunman, took on a long leg running well for 50th. (31.31). Logan Anderson took over on eight. He stood in for the team at the last minute and was very happy to have the chance to represent the club at a National event. 52nd. (20.12). Legs nine, ten and eleven saw Clark Hind 54th (34.06). Steve Green 52nd (18.18). Dan Shaw 53rd (33.05) put in strong runs. It was left to another veteran runner, Jonny Sykes, to bring the club home on leg twelve, pulling back one place. 52nd. (19.40).

Total time 5.03.07. Highgate Harriers took their first National title in 4.16.30.

The women, who unlike the men, didn’t have to qualify for this event put out two teams. With a few last minute casualties it was touch and go as to whether they would complete two full teams, but thanks to Ann Smith, usually on the sidelines supporting her children, Holmfirth secured two team results.

Debbie Hall RRs 2016 240

Debbie Hall

Katie Walshaw, more akin to off-road running, set off on leg 1 and ran strongly over the long course to get the team off to a good start in 15th (31:58) amongst the country’s top runners. Ruby Sykes, who has been racing twice weekly recently, had another good run in 19:44 on the short course, dropping just 3 places. The next short leg saw Helena Croft, in her first road relay since competing as a junior ten years ago, pick up one place in 20:20. Helen Berry picked up 3 places on the second long leg (33:07). Jordan Mullinger held the team in 14th place on leg 5 in 19:41 and Maggie Sykes had a superb run bringing the team home in 15th (20:03) in an overall time of 2:24:53 in a field of 42 complete teams.

It was no surprise that Aldershot Farnham & District took the women’s title in 2:08:44, with an astonishing lead of nearly 5 minutes!

Holmfirth’s B team put in a fine performance. The team finished 39th in a time of 2:55:14, and special thanks again go to Ann Smith for accepting the late request to run. A quick change of running order between legs 1 and 2 saw Debbie Hall lead off on the long leg (39:06), and Liz Woodfield running the short leg (22:04). Both ran well in 45th and 42nd positions respectively. Although Emma Serjeant moved to North Wales last year, she was still keen to represent the club and put in a good performance on leg 3 picking up a further two places in 22:49. Lesley Ewart continues to show the youngsters how it’s done, running 38:13 on the long 4th leg. Ann Smith finished with a smile on her face, bringing the team home in 39th (32:09) .

Link to photos here:


And full results, Womens:




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