SOUTH­ERN ROAD RE­LAYS

GUERNSEY’S WOMEN AND ALDER­SHOT’S MEN GAINED VIC­TORY AT CRYS­TAL PALACE ON SUN­DAY

Athletics Weekly - - Contents - RE­PORT: STEVE SMYTHE PIC­TURES: MARK SHEAR­MAN

Guernsey en­joyed an un­ex­pected women’s four-stage vic­tory while Alder­shot’s men took the six-stage se­nior men’s ti­tle at Crys­tal Palace

ALDER­SHOT’S men and Guernsey’s women won the se­nior ti­tles in style at Crys­tal Palace as the event fin­ished in bright sun­shine hav­ing started in tor­ren­tial rain so bad it re­sulted in the nearby Kent Masters Cham­pi­onships be­ing aban­doned.

Alder­shot, who have so long dom­i­nated the women’s event, could only fin­ish fifth there this time, but they were the most suc­cess­ful club of the day with four men’s gold medals.

Yet again, the event strug­gled with some as­pects of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. The venue is not pop­u­lar amongst of­fi­cials and many run­ners found the route too nar­row in places. A loop to make up the dis­tance – an outand-back sec­tion in and around a car park – was a par­tic­u­lar health and safety con­cern, as was the exit from the track with 150 men squeez­ing through a nar­row gap after the start while women run­ners were also en­ter­ing the sta­dium through the same gap to fin­ish.

Men

ALDER­SHOT won their sixth se­nior men’s ti­tle in an ex­cit­ing six-stage re­lay con­test, only tak­ing the lead on the fi­nal leg.

Only sev­enth on the first leg through Ben Bradley, Luke Prior moved them up to sixth. On the third leg Josh Grace’s 17:36 put them up to third.

Ricky Harvie main­tained third on leg four be­fore for­mer dou­ble Na­tional ju­nior cham­pion El­lis Cross moved them up to sec­ond on leg five.

Richard Allen, who was sec­ond to Mo Farah in the Vi­tal­ity 10,000 Bri­tish Cham­pi­onships, soon made up the 200m gap ahead and by the fin­ish he had re­versed the mar­gin to win by 35 sec­onds.

Ton­bridge had to set­tle for sec­ond for the third year run­ning. They were al­ways in a medal po­si­tion. Cory De’ath started with a 17:30 and they moved up to sec­ond on leg three with Ryan Driscoll, who was fifth in the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onships steeple­chase, moved up to sec­ond on leg three although their fastest was Henry Pearce who ran 17:09 on leg four.

Do­minic Brown kept them ahead on leg five but Ge­orge Dug­gan, who won Na­tional ti­tles as a young­ster in 2010 and 2012, was un­able to re­pel Allen on the last leg.

Cam­bridge and Co­leridge took third. They went ahead on leg two through the greatly im­proved Jonathan Es­calante Phillips, who ran 17:30, and then Euro­pean un­der-18 1500m cham­pion, Thomas Keen, who was in Cam­bridge’s win­ning un­der-17 team last year, kept them ahead on leg three.

Her­cules Wim­ble­don con­tin­ued their re­cent

im­prove­ment to take fourth while Southampton and Shaftes­bury com­pleted the top six.

Mo Aadan, who led the open­ing leg for Thames Val­ley, ran the fastest leg with 17:07.

Kent AC won their fifth suc­ces­sive M40 gold which is just as well as last year’s en­graver ac­ci­den­tally put 2018 down on the tro­phy last year!

They started well enough with their open­ing leg run­ner Rob Laing a close sec­ond on 19:04 just be­hind leg leader Andy Leach of North Herts (19:03), who is ac­tu­ally in the M50 cat­e­gory.

North Herts stayed ahead of Kent on leg two be­fore a 19:23 on leg three put them ahead. Though well out on his own, a 19:02 on leg four from their fi­nal leg run­ner Che Comp­ton nar­rowly proved the fastest of the day and gave them a clear minute vic­tory over North Herts.

Herne Hill Har­ri­ers, who won the event back in 2008 and 2009, were third through­out. Alder­shot dom­i­nated the M50 race though the fastest leg though went to John James, who was the fastest M40 back in 2009 and 2010, and his 19:19 com­pared well to the lead­ing M40s here.

Colch­ester and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons South Lon­don took the other medals.

The lat­ter were also de­fend­ing their M60 crown and with ease they won by over three min­utes an­chored by new M60 John Foss, a for­mer Lon­don marathon age-group win­ner. Foss’s 21:55 just lost out on fastest leg though to Ox­ford’s BMAF 5000m cham­pion Brian Green, who ran 21:54 also on the last leg.

Ox­ford, who had won the ti­tle the pre­vi­ous decade un­til fin­ish­ing sec­ond last year, were again sec­ond while for­mer multi World and Euro­pean masters medal­list David Wilcock moved Bar­net into third on the last leg to win their sixth medal in the last eight years.

Women

THE women’s race saw a first­time vic­tory for Guernsey. It was a su­perb win for the Is­lan­ders which no one an­tic­i­pated when Laura Mc­Carthy came in 24th on the open­ing leg in 18:07 – a to­tal of 80 sec­onds be­hind first leg ‘win­ner’ Amy Cle­ments, who moved Kent clear with a 16:27 after a strong sec­ond lap.

At half­way they were still anony­mous as Jenny James’ 17:33 ad­vanced them to ninth. At this stage they were two min­utes down on lead­ers Wy­combe Phoenix, who had moved from eighth to first thanks to a sparkling 16:17 from Pippa Wool­ven. Winch­ester and Cam­bridge and Co­leridge were in the other medal po­si­tions at this time.

Wy­combe stayed ahead on leg three but High­gate closed men­ac­ingly through Han­nah Viner’s 17:28 and a fine 16:45 from Com­mon­wealth Games rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sarah Mercier moved them into a chal­leng­ing third.

Louise Per­rio was clearly the strong­est of the lead­ers on the last lap and a 16:59 moved her away to a com­fort­able 50 sec­onds vic­tory as High­gate and Wy­combe bagged the other medals.

Both Cam­bridge and Alder­shot – the only pre­vi­ous win­ners in the last 10 years – com­pleted the top five within a minute of the medals.

Marathon in­ter­na­tional Tracy Barlow was the fastest last leg, mov­ing Thames Val­ley into the top 10 with a 16:41.

As per Mon­day af­ter­noon, the re­sults were show­ing Anne Marie Smith of South Lon­don as fastest with a 15:31 although it is pre­sumed Wool­ven will be awarded the fastest leg award once in­ves­ti­gated prop­erly.

Winch­ester re­gained the masters ti­tle they won back in 2014 and 2015, re­mark­ably with an all over-50 squad.

On leg one a lightly-raced for­mer world masters cham­pion Lucy El­liott, who was fastest in those two years of Winch­ester’s suc­cess, ran 18:09 and trailed fel­low W50 and for­mer fastest Clare Elms’ 17:48.

Fel­low W50 Maria Hes­lop then took over the fastest leg hon­ours as she ran a 17:38 on

leg two, mov­ing Ton­bridge from sev­enth to third.

South Lon­don went ahead on leg two through Sue McDonald but Winch­ester were back ahead on leg three. The fi­nal leg then saw world W50 cham­pion Kath Bai­ley (18:17) re­pel South Lon­don’s Mary James’ 18;15 and win by 17 sec­onds, as Teresa Mur­phy moved Kent into third on the fi­nal leg.

While most of the fastest legs were set by W50s, some younger vets com­peted in the se­nior race and W45 Julie Briggs ran 17:17 there for Arena.

Young ath­letes

APART from win­ning the se­nior men’s and M50 gold, Alder­shot’s younger male ath­letes were also in form.

Only sixth at half­way in the un­der-17 race, they came through strongly with Will Bar­ni­coat’s 15:08 an­chor leg prov­ing de­ci­sive.

Hast­ings’ Na­tional fourth­placer Ge­orge Pool was fastest with a 15:05 on leg one.

Alder­shot did even bet­ter in the un­der-15 boys’ race as they were first and sec­ond.

Their A team was lan­guish­ing back in 19th after leg one and were only ninth at half­way, 48 sec­onds in ar­rears of their B team who led legs two and three but Will Jerome’s 10:05 moved the A squad up to sec­ond

Ryan Martin’s 10:14 an­chor was enough to bring their A team to golds ahead of their B team.

South Lon­don’s Felix Vaughan was fastest with a 9:52 although his team failed to fin­ish.

Wind­sor, Slough, Eton & Houn­slow won the un­der­15s and led all the way after Char­lotte De­war put them

nar­rowly ahead on leg one with a 11:22.

Eloisa Har­ris ex­tended the ad­van­tage on leg two and Jas­mine Young kept the lead around the 20-sec­ond mar­gin with a 11:17.

It was close for fastest leg though as Brack­nell’s Nathalie Camp (11:14) was less than a sec­ond quicker than Alder­shot’s an­chor leg Pippa Roessler as a healthy 66 teams fin­ished the event.

Shaftes­bury Bar­net won an ex­cit­ing un­der-17 women’s race by just four sec­onds.

Lia Radus was third after leg one be­fore Freya Sta­ple­ton gave them a clear lead which Grace In­gles re­tained on leg three though the gap was closed to four sec­onds by a strong last leg from Bed­ford’s Scar­lett Dal­rym­ple.

Bed­ford also pro­vided the fastest leg through Tia Wil­son 10:59 open­ing leg ahead of Ton­bridge’s Katie Goodge’s 11:04.

Ton­bridge fared bet­ter in the un­der-13 girls’ race. Lily Stack’s 11:27 gave them an early lead and took the fastest lap award and So­phie Stack and Olivia Breed ex­tended the gap to al­most a minute over Chiltern.

Isaac Mor­ris gave Cam­bridge and Co­leridge an early lead in the un­der-13 boys’ race with a 10:45 and Lewis Buchal­let kept them ahead on leg two, while Matthew Smith and Luca McGrath kept them clear.

William Rab­johns, who has dom­i­nated the un­der-13 boys age group all year, ran the fastest leg for Poole with a 10:34 an­chor stage, pass­ing 14 run­ners in his 3km run around the Crys­tal Palace course.

Win­ning Alder­hot, Farn­ham & District team: Ben Bradley, Luke Prior, Josh Grace, Ricky Harvie, El­lis Cross and Richard Allen

The men’s race gets un­der­way on Sun­day on a course at Crys­tal Palace that wasn’t to ev­ery­one’s lik­ing

Se­nior women charge away in the bat­tle for hon­ours intheir four-stage race

Win­ners: Louise Per­rio, Laura Mc­Carthy, Sarah Mercier and Jenny James

Jas­mine Young: U15 girls’ win for WSEH

Isaac Mor­ris: led off U13 boys win­ners Cam­bridge & Co­leridge

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