Road Relays attracts the best of the best from past and present

Zara Blower Picture:
Zara Blower Picture:

International athletes past and present were at Sutton Park on Saturday for the ERRA National Road Relays.

Bill Adcocks, Dave Moorcroft and Steve Cram represented yesteryear, with the current crop of stars featuring Emelia Gorecka, Claire Hallissey, Laura Weightman and Susan Partridge.

A warm, sunny day and a strong breeze greeted runners, with the men running alternate long/short stages while for the first time the ladies were allowed to run two long followed by four shorter stages.

Leamington C&AC’s men sneaked qualification after finishing in the 25th and final spot in the Midland Championships but were able to strengthen their team with promising juniors.

Jamie Langley led them off on the 5.57-mile stage, coming home in 31min 15sec for 51st out of the 67 starting teams.

Seventeen-year-old Johnathan Brown then ran a solid 18:17 for the shorter stage of 5.38 miles.

Callum Hanlon moved C&AC up to 47th with 31:06 followed by Guy Allen (18:20, 46th), club debutant Mark Urbanowski (32:20, 45th), Jordan King (18:39, 46th) and Richard Merrell (31:33).

Junior Simon Cooper set the fastest short stage time for the club with 17:40 (46th) before late replacement Craig Bower (35:15), Bryn Morgan (20.59), 60-year-old Dave Potter (36.16) and another junior in Jack Savage (18:01) brought the team home in 5hr 9min 42sec for 50th position overall.

Kenilworth Runners finished eight places better off in 5:01:52.

The old guard of Phil Gould and Rich Simkiss, running the club’s fastest short and long legs respectively, got Kenilworth off to a good start, but an injury to Paul Andrew on leg five left him struggling to run and while he completed his leg for the good of the team, he was around five minutes down on his expected time.

The men’s race was won by Morpeth Harriers in 4:21:52.

Kenilworth times and finishing positions on each leg: 49, Patrick Roddy (30:41); 44, Phillip Gould (17:03); 42, Rich Simkiss (29:38); 44, Chris Simkiss (18:50); 47, Paul Andrew (35:31); 51, Neil Sheward (19:24); 50, Daniel Mitchell (32:41); 50, Matthew Elkington (19:13); 47, Peter Hawkins (31:12); 48, Neil Cressy (18:14); 43, Stuart Hopkins (30:38); 43, Alex Atkinson (18:47).

For the ladies, Zara Blower set Leamington off with a fantastic time of 35:47 for 29th place out of the 52 starting teams.

Angela Chahal stepped in to run a strong 38:29 (32nd) before Jenny Jeeves’ 21:41 lifted C&AC a place.

Susie Tawney (21:18) and Christiane Parker (25:17) then handed over to Martine Verweij who ran C&AC’s fastest short stage of 20:53 despite travelling down from Hull that morning to bring the ladies home in 2:43:25 and 28th.

Kenilworth ladies finished 35th in 2:55:52.

Kenilworth times (and finishing position after each leg): 44, C Thornberry (40:00); 41, Rachael Miller (39:23); 44, Mel Price (32:46); 42, Laura Pettifer (21:34); 40, Danielle Bryan (20:20); 35, Louise Andrews (21:49).

Aldershot Farnham and District won in 2:13:49.