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National Road Relays, Sutton Park

Dave Watson

Holmfirth Harriers had a men’s and women’s team representing the club at the National Road Relays in Sutton Park on Saturday. While both teams were far from full strength, the athletes who were selected gave their all and there were some good performances to be seen. The event is organised by the English Road Running Association, but teams from Wales and Scotland were present, making this a truly national event, with tough competition to go with it.

The twelve stages of the men’s race is run over alternate legs of six long, 5.38 miles, and six short, 3.16 miles. The women’s six stages are two long and four short over the same distance.

With the men missing a number of runners who would normally be selected, veteran O/45 Dave Watson, who has had some had some excellent performances on his many appearances here, stepped up and took on the first leg. Against some top class opposition Dave ran himself into the ground, finishing 60th in 30.45. Young Harry Shelbourne, on leg two dropped to 62nd in 18.39. Ed Pritchard, who had been under the weather during the week, gritted his teeth around long leg three, coming home 64th. 33.07. Another younger athlete, Ted Chamberlain, had a flyer on leg four, gaining ten places up to 54th in 16.35. Niall O’Connell on five only lost three places, 57th and 32.57. Another vet 45, Chris Beadle, on leg six hung on to 57th in 19.54.  Alex Robinson ran strongly on leg seven pulling the team up to 55th in a good time of 29.37. Vet 50 Andy Shelbourne gained one more place on leg eight, 54th, 20.36. Lavell Pierre, who is normally better over a shorter distance, dug deep, gaining two more places to 52nd on long leg nine. 30.55.

On leg 10 vet 60, John Ewart, who thought his days of appearing in National relays were long gone, hung on to 52nd in 20.34. Final vet 45, Steve Green, on eleven, had to go in the mass start but having appeared here many times in the past, took it in his stride, putting in a determined run to finish 51st in 30.03.  On the last leg was Craig Sheard. Normally more at home running over the hurdles on the track, Craig had the honour of bringing the team home in their final position of 52nd in 20.53.

Helen Berry

The women’s race started soon after the men’s, making for a good spectacle for supporters, with the races running simultaneously. Helen Berry led the team off on the first leg and improved on her time of two years ago, coming home in 17th in 32.33. Jordan Mullinger continued her good form from the Yorkshire relays the previous weekend, but dropped five places to 22nd in 20.33. Veteran  O/45 Maggie Sykes picked up two places on leg three in 20.21 and daughter Ruby on the long leg a further place to 19th on leg four in 34.55. Helena Croft, using the event as a final sharpener before London Marathon next weekend, returned in 21st on the penultimate leg in 21.38 and Zoe store clawed back those two places to bring the team home in a credible 19th place in 21.51.

A great day out was made all the more pleasant by the sunny conditions, almost too hot for the athletes who have been training in tough weather conditions in the last month or so!

Women's results: https://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2018/nat6w18.pdf
Men's results: https://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2018/nat1218.pdf

Pre-2012 news, results & reports are on the old sites: 2009 to 2011, Pre-2009

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