Jamie Taylor-Caldwell reports from this innovative competition:
The first weekend of April is typically the date of the National 12-stage Road Relays in Sutton Park. The ESM Senior Men’s team looked set to qualify at the Southern Championships until the Covid-19 government restrictions were put into place the week of the race.
As a result there were lots of athletes around the country itching for a good club event and so the Virtual Road Relays were created. A 5km run, uploaded to Strava or Garmin, 12 to score per team and most importantly all runs had to be completely within social distancing guidelines.
There was also no entry fee, instead runners were asked to make a donation to NHS Charities Together. Please find the link here if you would like to make a donation.
ESM’s A team finished an excellent 26th place out of 118 teams with an impressive average of 16:06. Only 18 clubs also fielded a B team, and ESM were 13th with a 19:35 average. There were also Senior debuts for John Fielding, James Morley and Johnny Yam. Hopefully it’s not too long before we all get to race together again in person!
Special mention must also go to Akira Anzai-Jackson who had to go into self-isolation the day before the race as a family member began to show Covid symptoms. As always he was determined to run and completed a 5k in his garden in just over 2 hours! Unfortunately GPS watches struggle to accurately measure laps of a 400m track, let alone 10 metre circuits and it generously gave a time of 9mins 26secs. The race organisers weren’t willing to believe Akira broke the world record by 3 minutes!
ESM results summary:
1 Moe Hashi 14:54, 2 Guillaume Adam 15:20, 3 Oliver Way 15:49, 4 Ben Waterman 15:53, 5 Jonathan Horan 15:53, 6 Tim Lawrence 16:09, 7 Elias Ahmed 16:11, 8 John Robertson (M40) 16:17, 9 John Fielding 16:21, 10 Chris Hepworth 16:23, 11 Tom Gifford 17:00, 12 Santosh Rai 17:05, 13 Pete Flewitt (M45) 17:21, 14 James Morley 17:41, 15 Nick Steel 17:56, 16 Elliot Jones 18:02, 17 Sean Hanrahan 19:13, 18 Adam Goodman 19:23, 19 Manish Kunwar 19:41, 20 James Steel (M50) 19:48, 21 Martin Daoud (M55) 20:08, 22 Steve Morris (M50) 21:42, 23 Jav Sondh 21:51, 24 Justin Kempley 22:18, 25 Andy Leung (M45) 23:16, 26 Johnny Yam 23:26, 27 Simon Turrell (M50) 26:20