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CLC Striders hit the road relays

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CLC Striders had a strong showing – and a day of fun in the sun – as they headed to Sutton Coldfield for the Midland Counties Autumn Road Relays.

The club presented four teams in total, with a Senior Women’s and Masters Women’s team taking on the 4 x 4.33km relay and a Senior Men’s and Masters Men’s team tackling 6 x 5.88km on an undulating course around Sutton Park.

The ladies focussed their efforts on making the podium in the Masters competition again this year, following a 2nd placed finish in 2022. With their team comprising Kate Telford, Rachel Vines, Helen Knight and Liza Bradshaw, they did this with aplomb, taking over three and a half minutes off of their 2022 time to finish as silver medallists, once again, behind a very strong Team Bath AC group.

Kate Telford got the ladies off to a superb start with what would later be revealed as the 10th fastest Masters leg of the day, clocking 16:45 on the opening leg and handing over to Rachel Vines with the team in third position. Vines, making her tenth appearance at the event, used her course knowledge brilliantly to clock 17:30 and hold onto third position. Helen Knight gained one place on her leg, running 16:58 before handing over to Liza Bradshaw on the anchor leg who ran an excellent 17:30 to bring the ladies home in second place and holding off a charge from both Bromsgrove & Redditch and Westbury Harriers who finished within 10 seconds of the Striders.

Rachel Vines

The Senior Women’s team of Amelia Mullins (19:32), Laura Leaver (21:45), Fiona Brady-Miller (19:20) and Steph Parker (19:12) performed well to finish in 52nd place out of 84 teams. Steph was making her return to racing after recently re-joining the Striders but was no stranger to the event, having competed for the club in the 2014 outing.

Four of the 2022 Men’s team were back in action for the Striders’ Senior team of six, with Rob Green leading them out with what would be the fastest Striders leg of the day in 19:20. Joe Willgoss gained two places on leg 2, clocking an excellent 19:49, his fastest ever time over the course. Samuel Baylis and John Comer kept things rolling over legs 3 and 4 respectively, with splits of 20:59 and 21:51. Alex Johnston made his road relays debut in stunning fashion with a 20:01 time, handing over to Dan Bazzard for the anchor leg with the team in 41st place. Despite barely any training of late, Bazzard got the job done with 21:11 leg, dropping just the one position.

Alex Johnston

The top 25 placed Men’s A teams progress to the National Road Relay Championships in October, with the Striders missing out this year as they finished as 32nd placed A team and 42nd team overall.

In the Men’s masters competition there was a welcome return to competitive action for Jon Howes, who got the team off to a flying start with a 22:15 first leg, while Men’s captain Will Pearce gained 3 places on leg two, running 23:32. Road relay debutants Gary Farquharson (24:35), Mike Speke (28:43) and Rob Hyams (25:43) all ran well before Joel Freeland closed the proceedings with a 24:17 anchor leg. The Men’s Masters finished in 22ndplace overall in the Master standings.