Midland Road Relays, Sutton Park - 02/04/2016
A team of 13 Striders made the trip up to Birmingham for the Midland Road Relays at Sutton Park.
The imminent London Marathon and the Easter holidays took their toll on the availability of runners for the men’s team, and the club wasn’t able to field a full squad on this occasion; however, those who ran put on a brave performance in this prestigious race.
On Leg 1, the first of four long legs of 5.35 miles, Will Ferguson pulled out all the stops to get the team off to an impressive start, finishing in 7th place in a very brisk 28:08. This set things up well for leg 2 runner Chris Driskell who inevitably struggled against much stronger opposition to post a solid time of 32:28 and end the leg in 17th place. Jon Howes was next up, and he ran his leg in a strong time of 33:00 to stay in the top 30 in 27th place. Men’s captain Joel Freeland stepped up to the plate to run the final leg in 38:08 to keep the men well towards the middle of the field in 35th place.
With all the long legs over, Martin Bick was next, running a typically gutsy 22:58 for the 3 mile leg to keep the team inside the top 40. He was followed on leg 6 by JJ Willson who ran a brisk leg of 20:14 to lift the team up to 39th position, and on leg 7 by the rapidly-improving Javid Norat who kept the team in 39th with an excellent 20:39.
The valiant and determined performance by the seven Brendan Ward-coached athletes who turned out to compete for the club strongly suggests that a highly respectable finish would have been well on the cards had the club been able to field a full team.
Having previously consisted of 6 short legs of 3 miles, this year the women’s race included two long legs of 5.35 miles, and for the Striders, Amanda Steer was the first to tackle one of these on Leg 1. After a sensible and well-judged start, Steer worked her way through the field to finish the leg in 32nd place with a time of 38:54. Next up for Striders was Beckie Reynolds making a welcome return to racing with a time of 23:52 in 34th place; she was followed by Karlien Heyrman who ran an excellent long leg of 37:49 to gain 10 places and hand over to women’s captain Rachel Vines in 24th place. Vines ran another quick leg of 20:46 to gain another 4 places and take the women up to 20th place, and she was followed by Amanda Pill who, having stepped up to the plate to run for the team shortly before the event, ran well to finish her leg in 30:41 in 32nd place. In the final leg Zoe Gough ran well to take the team to a top 30 finish with a time of 24:06.
Full results are available here