14.Apr.12 Tipton and AFD defend national road relay titles
Tipton Harriers defended the historic men's title they won in 2011, while Aldershot, Farnham & District continued their dominance in the women's race at the National ERRA men's 12 stage and women's 6 stage Relays on Saturday (14th April).
In the men's 12 stage, Tipton's consistently strong legs paid off and with eight out of the 12 runners also part of their winning team last year, experience also made the difference.
This meant that last year's final leg runner Ian Rawlinson enjoyed a larger margin of victory this year to cross the line almost three minutes clear of second placed Leeds City in a time of 4:10:17.
Leeds, who led briefly in the early stages, finished second with 4:13:12, with Notts AC taking bronze in a time of 4:14:13. Stockport's Patrick Martin recorded the fastest long leg of the day with 26:01 with Gateshead's Ross Murray by far the fastest on the short leg with 14:00.
After the race, Tipton's Rawlinson said: "It was good. Obviously quite a different situation this year with having such a big lead.
"I think what makes us such a strong unit is the pride to run for Tipton and retain that title. If you look at our times today, everyone put their shift in, everyone was consistent and it was really a team effort."
In the women's 6 stage, AFD lived up to their tag as pre-race favourites and dominated the race thanks to a team full of international experience.
Charlie Purdue took over the lead on leg two with the day's fastest leg of 15:29 and from then on AFD extended their lead with an especially strong leg coming from Steph Twell, who recorded the day's second fastest time with 15:35.
Emma Pallant, who recently returned from a warm weather training trip, broke the tape in first for AFD with a course best of 1:36:30. Swansea finished second with 1:41:27, and Leeds City third with 1:42:42.
Emma said: "I didn't feel too bad. It's always tough running on your own but I tried to just relax and enjoy it and it was nice to have a bit of fun and just enjoy the day out and enjoy it for the team."
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