NORTH­ERN ROAD RE­LAYS

CLAIRE DUCK COM­PLETES LEEDS’ SUC­CESS AS LIN­COLN RE­TAIN MEN’S RE­LAYS TI­TLE AT SPORT CITY

Athletics Weekly - - Contents - RE­PORT: MARTIN DUFF PIC­TURES: DAVID HE­WIT­SON

Lin­coln Welling­ton re­tain their men’s crown as Claire Duck an­chors Leeds City to vic­tory in the women’s race at Manch­ester’s Sport City

THE RAIN which had been fore­cast thank­fully did not ma­te­ri­alise and the races took place in glo­ri­ous sun­shine, al­beit with a late hail storm that only af­fected back mark­ers in the se­nior races. There was, how­ever, a cold wind that ham­pered the run­ners across the open spa­ces of the Eti­had Sta­dium car park, where much of the race un­folded.

This did not hin­der Leeds’ women or Lin­coln Welling­ton’s men, who re­tained their ti­tle after tak­ing the lead mid-race, though the wind slowed their time com­pared to last year.

There were is­sues with the course, as Lin­coln’s women were dis­qual­i­fied for in­ad­ver­tently cut­ting a cor­ner and more than one of the women’s teams mis­tak­enly ran the longer men’s lap. They re­ported their prob­lems to race ref­eree Terry Bai­ley.

The fastest laps went to Char­lie Hul­son for the men and Jess Judd for the women. In the young ath­letes’ races Vale Royal took two of the girls’ ti­tles and Lin­coln lined up their men’s fu­ture with an un­der-17 men’s vic­tory.

Men

Lin­coln had an eas­ier run than last year when they didn’t hit the front un­til the last lap. Here, it was fourth-stage run­ner Lu­cien Al­li­son who was their quick­est with 19:40, as he moved up to take the lead after start­ing third.

Shane Robin­son and Matt Bowser then rounded things off. “I was a minute ahead and for the last mile I just didn’t push it,” said Bowser, whose 19:44 was Lin­coln’s sec­ond-best ef­fort.

Ear­lier, Char­lie Hul­son had given Liver­pool a good start be­fore they con­ceded to Stock­port’s Jack Martin at the end of the sec­ond leg. Hul­son, whose 19:30 for the 6.4km dou­ble lap was the fastest of the race, said: “It was windy but I broke clear on the sec­ond lap.”

Ex­plain­ing why he had not been even faster, he re­ported that he had work prob­lems dur­ing the sum­mer which had re­stricted his train­ing time.

After a steady start, as Aaron Scott put them in sev­enth, hold­ers Lin­coln moved up to third after lap two, through James Straw, as Martin had taken Stock­port to the lead on that sec­ond stage and his 19:34 was the third best of the day. “It was very tough in the wind as there was nowhere to hide,” said Martin, whose club had three of the top eight times but, with­out back up, could only fin­ish sixth.

Liver­pool had been back in front through De­jene Gez­imu at half­way, as his fourth best ef­fort of 19:38 saw him ahead of Derby. Lin­coln were third at this point after Tom Straw’s 19:59.

Leeds pro­gressed through­out the race after a 25th spot open­ing lap and new sign­ing

Phil Se­se­mann was their quick­est with the day’s sec­ondbest ef­fort of 19:31 on stage four as they closed up on the podium places to fourth.

Ol­lie Lock­ley and Lin­ton Tay­lor then con­tin­ued their ad­vance by shunt­ing Liver­pool down to third, but they were still 81 sec­onds be­hind Lin­coln at the fin­ish.

Fourth-placed Derby had a sniff of a podium place after Richard Weir’s 19:45 had seen them move up to sec­ond midrace, but they then slipped back into an iso­lated fourth.

With their sec­ond string tak­ing the B team award and their un­der-17s also win­ning, Lin­coln Welling­ton look well set for the fu­ture and also their Na­tional 12-stage as­pi­ra­tions.

Women

Ste­vie Stock­ton led the first lap for Leeds after join­ing them from Vale Royal last year. “I took it easy on the first lap be­fore I moved to the front,” said the 29-year-old. “I had a dif­fi­cult sum­mer and was off from June un­til now,” added Stock­ton, whose time for the 5.4km dou­ble lap was 20:24.

Leeds then lost the lead as Leigh took over thanks to Lau­ren Howarth’s 20:22. Then Laura Riches in­creased Leigh’s ad­van­tage to 35 sec­onds.

But at the fin­ish Claire Duck sealed the Leeds vic­tory with a 20:40 clock­ing after steam­ing past Leigh’s Abi­gail Howarth.

“I had to work hard to catch her at the start of the sec­ond lap,” said Duck. “It was nice to get back after a few weeks off.”

Howarth had enough in hand to with­stand a chal­lenge from Rother­ham’s So­phie Cow­per on that last leg, but fourth-placed Sal­ford were nearly two min­utes down.

Also, on the fi­nal lap and deep in the field, Jess Judd turned out for her new club Black­burn and posted the quick­est women’s lap time of 19:52 in mov­ing up nine places to 10th. She said: “That was hard work, es­pe­cially after two weeks’ hol­i­day as I only came back on Fri­day.”

Young ath­letes

The day be­gan with the un­der-13 age group races and, with many young­sters hav­ing their first ever out­ing, there were falls and fights in the first few me­tres be­fore they set­tled down.

The first gold went to City of Sh­effield & Dearne, who re­tained their un­der-13 boys’ ti­tle as Sal­ford fol­lowed but the fastest lap times went else­where. Jack Spark moved Sale up to third from eighth on the fi­nal leg with the fastest split of 11:32 for their 3.1km cir­cuit. His time was equalled by James McGraw, who had scythed through from 43rd to 18th on lap two for East Cheshire.

Liver­pool then fol­lowed be­hind to take the un­der-13 girls’ event from Rother­ham and Chor­ley. On the fi­nal leg Freya Mur­doch moved Stock­port from eighth to fifth with the quick­est ef­fort of 12:40.

Mor­peth took the un­der-15 boys from Sal­ford, who had

Sam Hop­kins com­fort­ably fastest over­all with 10:47. Vale

Royal moved up on the fi­nal stage of the un­der-15 girls’ race through Holly Weedall’s fastest lap time of 11:45, from Long­wood and Wir­ral.

After be­ing fastest un­der-13 last year, Weedall said: “I moved up this year but it was quite windy.”

Team-mate Grace Roberts was sec­ond best with 12:20.

Lin­coln then tri­umphed in the un­der-17 men’s race and did so after sec­ond leg run­ner Luke Stone­hewer moved up from 10th to the lead on lap two with the un­der-17 men’s third best time of 11:21.

Joe Green then brought them home, de­spite com­plain­ing of stom­ach prob­lems, as Leeds and Houghton fol­lowed to com­plete the podium plac­ings.

Many had thought that Max Bur­gin, the world’s fastest 15 and 16-year-old 800m run­ner with 1:47.36, would shine on the open­ing un­der-17 stage but it was not to be and he was 13th be­hind leader Matt McKay.

The Rossendale Har­rier’s 11:14 stood up as the fastest of the race and he said: “I took the lead on the way out past the sta­dium but the wind was strong when com­ing back.”

Leeds’ Ethan Hussey was sec­ond best over­all with 11:18 on the fi­nal stage but, although clos­ing on lead­ers Lin­coln, could not get close enough to chal­lenge.

The un­der-17 women’s race saw Holly Smith move Vale

Royal up from sec­ond last year to win by a good mar­gin from Sal­ford and Houghton after her fastest lap time of 12:48.

The se­nior men’s race got un­der­way in bright sun­shine

Con­tin­ued suc­cess: Lin­coln (l to r) Matt Bowser, Tom Straw, James Straw, AaronScott, Shane Robin­son and Lu­cien Al­li­son re­tained their se­nior men’s ti­tle

The se­nior women get off and run­ning at Sport City

Women’s win­ners Leeds City (l to r): Ste­vie Stock­ton, Ge­or­gia Malir, Claire Duck and Emma Clay­ton show off their medals after fin­ish­ing first in Manch­ester

Jes­sica Judd: quick­est women’s leg of the day

Char­lie Hul­son: ran 19:30 for 6.4km

Black­pool’s Emily Japp leads from Leeds’ Ste­vie Stock­ton on leg one

Mor­peth hero: Dy­lan Davieshelps his clubto the U15 win

Holly Weedall: her fast fi­nal lap led Vale Royal tovic­tory

Joe Green se­cures the U17 men’s race for Lin­coln

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