John Falvey reports:
This year’s South of England road relays took place at a new venue at Stantonbury in Milton Keynes on Sunday. There were some creditable performances in both of our teams but with several key runners missing neither team matched last year’s placings.
Alison Hopkins once again recorded the fastest time for the women’s team on the highly competitive first leg. She handed over to Sarah Richardson in 16th place. Sarah ran a fast time but still slipped three places in her first race since having a baby last year. Relay specialist Patricia Thomas was a fraction quicker and regained the three lost places.
As the gaps grew larger the last three runners had fewer rivals to target. Nikki Baker, Gill Morgan and Carol Jones all went past runners but ended up losing one place apiece. The team finished 19th in the end.
The men’s team got off to a strong start with two of the club’s top under 20 athletes on the opening legs. Will Pinder ran the team’s fastest long leg covering just under 5 miles in 25:42 to finish 26th. Ben Waterman then clocked 16:06 for the team’s fastest short leg of just over 5 kilometres. Ben gained five places to hand over to Steve Elson in 21st place.
Steve gained another place on the third leg. Another fast leg saw Sam Ashcroft take a minute off the team in front but it wasn’t quite enough to gain another place. New veteran Angelo John found the going tough and slipped three places with Tom Yates losing another place.
The two senior members of the team John Blanchard and Rob Brown steadied the ship holding onto 24th place over the next two legs. Tom Langley and Adam Louden ran solidly on the next two long legs losing one place each. The pair only took up running seriously this winter some years after being promising juniors with the club.
The last two short legs were run by Martin Shelley and Mark Cameron. Mark made a game attempt to finish in style, sprinting after the runner in front but couldn’t quite make it. The team ended up 29th.
Results are at: http://mcs.open.ac.uk/mkac/12seaaheader.htm