tol & West and Lincoln Wellington.
Niall O’Connell endured a delayed train journey from his University in Edinburgh on Friday before travelling from Birmingham on race day.
He did lose 10 places on the fourth stage, running a time of 20.01 (36th) but again nine athletes ran sub-18 minutes, with the leading three teams maintaining their positions.
The youngest member of the team, Ted Chamberlain had never previously contested a National event but ran well, losing just five places to complete stage five in 20.02 (41st). Swansea maintained their lead with Lincoln Wellington moving into second and Tonbridge third.
The final stage saw Dewi Griffiths of Swansea Harriers running the fastest stage of the day recording a superb 16.40 to clinch gold medals with a total time of 1.45.16. Tonbridge moved into second place to take silver medals with a time of 1.46.30 and Lincoln Wellington managed to hang on to bronze in 1.46.34, just four seconds ahead of Aldershot Farnham and District.
Holmfirth’s Alex Robinson ran well on the final stage recording a time of 20.12 to bring the Holmfirth team home in 45th place 1.56.05, an improvement of 12 places on the previous year.
The women’s four-stage event was under way ten minutes after the men’s had started and a huge field of Holmfirth Harriers Women’s A team at the English National Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park in the West Midlands (from left) Lucy Bryam, Ruby Sykes, Helen Berry, Olivia Sykes, Margaret Sykes and Helena Croft 111 teams made for a crowded start and first kilometre.
Olivia Sykes made an impressive start for Holmfirth’s A team, running 15.21 in 21st place, while Amelia Quirk of Bracknell AC was first over the line in 14.16, which was the fifth fastest time of the day.
Helen Berry demonstrated that she is back to fitness six months after breaking her ankle, dropping just two places on leg two in 15.56.
Sisters Lucy and Erica Byram, back from Leeds University, ran strongly on legs three and four respectively, in 16.44 and 16.58, bringing the team home in a very respectable 28th place in 1.04.59 – as with the men, this was an improvement on the team performance last year by seven places.
Ruby Sykes finished in the top half of the top class field on the first leg for the B team – coming in 54th in 16.23.
Margaret Sykes took over from daughter Ruby on leg two and picked up seven places in 16.59.
Helena Croft, who had suffered with illness, ran only a little below par in 18.15 and dropping only five places.
Alannah Booth, more familiar with the sprinting events on the track, was a late and welcome fourth member of the B team, ensuring they had a final team result.
Booth put in a sterling performance, picking off two athletes, and her time of 18.57 gave the B team an overall time of 1.10.34 and 50th position.
The women’s event was won by reigning champions Aldershot, Farnham & District in 58.26, where all their athletes ran comfortably under 15 minutes.
GB athlete Jessica Judd of Chelmsford clocked the fastest time of the day in 13.55; 15 seconds clear of the second fastest athlete.
The Harriers, both Senior and Junior, now turn their attention to the cross country season, which kicks off with the first race in the West Yorkshire League at Thornes Park in Wakefield today.