National Road Relays – Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield – Sun 13 Oct 2013

Ealing’s young athletes put in strong performances over nearly all the junior age groups at a rain soaked and windswept Sutton Park on Sunday, finishing the short road relay season competing against the top clubs from all over the country. Despite this being a national event, the overall number of teams was less than at the South of England road relays 3 weeks ago, highlighting the strength of the opposition.

First up were the under 13 girls. Several key athletes were missing due to other commitments & injury, but the depth of talent in this age group meant that ESM still put in a strong performance. The hilly course of just under 4k (all age groups run the same distance) is a challenge at this age. Undeterred, Lucy O’Brien led the team off & ran the fastest leg of the 3 in this team (17.16), handing over to Cameron Thomas in 47th place. Cameron battled the wind & rain, made up 2 places & handed over to Leah Kelly in 45th. Leah continued at a good pace, picking off more rivals to bring the team home in 38th place. 

The under 15 boys started strongly but an injury to 3rd leg runner Reece Farren cost places, despite which Reece bravely fought to the end to ensure a respectable team result. George Kerry, up against some very strong first leg runners, handed over to John Fielding in 55th. John, running the fastest leg of the 3 (14.25), made up several places, handing over to Reece in 47th. Reece pulled a hamstring at an early stage but wasn’t prepared to let down his team mates & fought through the pain to finish the course in 49th position.

 Strongest performance – & the largest field of competitors – was the ever improving under 15 girls team. For the A team Nicola Ravenhill led off in fine style, looking strong throughout, handing over to Laura Stewart in 46th. Laura ran well to hand over to Erica Wallace in 45th position. Erica ran her best race of the season so far, overtaking 10 rivals, to finish 35th in a time of 15.39.  Courtney Marshall ran first for the B team, handing over to Jasmine Loh in 53rd. Jasmine held her ground & made up a place, finishing 52nd.  Roisin Lynch ran a dogged last leg but couldn’t quite hold the position, finishing 57th, still the highest placing for an ESM 2nd team in this age group for several years.

ESM sent an under 17 women’s team to this event for the first time in a few years. Olivia Will led the team off well, although, recovering from a cold, felt that she never quite got into top gear. She still handed over to Emelia Newton Jones in 37th place. Emilia, running her first race of the season, put in a good solid run & handed over to Joanna Vale in 41st. As Joanna took over, the rain stopped & the sun emerged, clearly an omen as she brought the team home in an excellent 31st place.

 The under 17 men were also missing key athletes. Mukhtar Farah also felt that things didn’t quite click, but still ran a good leg, handing over to club debutant Charlie Sillett in 44th. Charlie’s debut was impressive & he brought the team up to 41st, handed over to another newcomer, Abdi Jamma, who swept home in 35th.

Report by Graham French. Picture courtesy of Nicola.

Results in Run Britain and on the ERRA website.