The ERRA Autumn road relays produced a packed day of action. The young athletes competed in their events and provided the spectators with some great competitions to watch before the senior men’s six stage and women’s four stage finals were decided.
In the Senior Races Aldershot, Farnham & District and Swansea were impressive in winning their respective titles, as the battles for medals behind them led to some gripping tussles that saw the action come down to the latter stages of each race.
On a high quality first leg it was Blackheath & Bromley’s Phil Seseman (Andrew Henderson) was first in ahead of Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes) of Southampton. Their respective times of 17:14 and 17:21 were second and sixth fastest of the day. Bideford AAC’s Shaun Antell coming in with 17:28 meant that three of the top 10 times were run on this leg as Lewis Moses (Alex Haines) of Gateshead came home next on a closely contested leg.
Graham Rush swept Cheltenham into a clear lead on leg 2 with an impressive 17:16 clocking. Now in second, thanks to Jack Morris (Dave Turnbull) were Stockport, as Highgate went third with Peter Chambers (Ben Pochee) and Tom Merson (Gordon Seward) putting Bristol & West fourth.
Swansea Harriers were in the lead for first time at halfway as John Hopkins took command at the sharp end, and with strong runners to was clear the Welsh club were going to be hard to beat. Auden Nordtveit put in another good leg for Highgate to move them to second and Daniel Owen (Andrew Beadle) held Cheltenham in a medal position in third. Brighton Phoenix had moved to fourth thanks to Ross Skelton (Jon Bigg).
Jack Gooch (Kevin Tobin) of Swansea maintained the club’s stranglehold on the lead as the competition behind was starting to hot up. Dan Studley (David Harmer) moved Bristol & West up again as he now had them running second. Also pulling through the field were Northern champions Lincoln Wellington. Aaron Scott (Nick Anderson) now had them in a medal position. Tonbridge and Aldershot, Farnham & District were also on the move at the critical time of the race. George Duggan (Mark Hookway) put Tonbridge fourth and Ellis Cross (Mick Woods) brought Aldershot, Farnham & District in fifth.
When Joshua Griffiths (self) ran a 17:26 to open out Swansea’s lead on the fifth leg the result was beginning to look very secure for his club. Behind him the battle for the other medals was continuing to rage. Matthew Bowser (Mark Baddeley) now Lincoln Wellington, running second ahead of Ryan Driscoll (Mark Hookway) of Tonbridge. Next in, but not far from the medal positions was Joe Morwood (Mick Woods) of Aldershot, Farnham & District as Bristol & West were next in Maciej Bialogonski.
There were to be no surprises about the win on the final leg as Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans) charged up the final hill and swept them to the win with the fastest time of the day – a 16:40. But behind the medal hunt was well and truly on. It was Christopher Olley (Mark Hookway) who came out on top as he ran the fourth fastest time of the day, 17:17, to take Tonbridge into second and English gold as Lincoln Wellington came in third, and English silver, with Joe Wilkinson (Mark Baddeley) also getting one of the fastest legs of the day, a seventh ranked 17:24. Behind him Jonny Hay (Mick Woods) was on an anchor leg charge for Aldershot, Farnham & District. His blast brought them to within a whisker of the top three, and despite easing right off in the final 50m when it became clear the medals were decided he not only secured the English bronze medals, but also ran a 17:20 for fifth fastest of the day.
It was Amelia Quirk (Beverley Kitching) of Bracknell who led at the end of the first leg in the women’s race with a fifth fastest leg of the day (14:16). Sophie Harris of Belgrave was next in, close on her heels, in 14:17 after a home straight battle also involving Katherine Bingle (Mick Woods, 14:21) of Aldershot, Farnham & District, as Charlotte Christensen (Neil Tennant) of Cambridge & Coleridge put her club fourth with 14:28 to also be in the top 10 fastest of the day.
At the end of the second leg the race was starting to heat up. Philippa Bowden (Mick Woods) led home for Aldershot Farnham & District, opening out a gap to Belgrave’s Saron Haileselase. Emma Clayton (Andrew Henderson) had now brought Leeds City into the frame in third place with Charlotte Arter (James Thie) of Cardiff also very close to the second placed athlete after running the second fastest leg of the day with a 14:10.
Emelia Gorecka (Chris Thompson) strengthened Aldershot, Farnham & District’s lead with a 14:28 as Georgia Malir (Andrew Henderson) of Leeds stepped up a place to second. St Mary’s University College hit the medal positions with Phoebe Law (Mick Woods) running 14:17, as Amy Griffiths (Rob Denmark, 14:15) put Aldershot, Farnham & District B into fourth ahead of Victoria Knight (Mark Vile) of Cambridge & Coleridge.
Louise Small (Mick Woods) made the win secure for Aldershot Farnham & District as she ran away from the pursuers on last leg. Leeds City held on to silver medal position with Lucy Crookes (Bill Foster) on their last leg. Verity Ockenden (Tony Houchin) moved Swansea third with a strong last leg that was third fastest of the day (14:12). Rebecca Straw (Bud Baldaro) ran a strong last leg to mean that Birchfield finished fourth, and the third English Club, ahead Cambridge & Coleridge with Katy Hedgethorne.
Also on last leg was Jessica Judd (Mick Judd) who was fastest of the day with a 13:55 for Chelmsford AC to lift them 19 places through the field.
Under 17 Men
Joshua Dickinson (Ian Wilcock) got City of York off to the best of starts on the first leg as he came in ahead of Christopher McLeod (Andrew Webber) of Solihull & Small Heath before a mass of runners including Xavier O'Hare of Trafford started pouring across the line.
Luke Van Oudtshoorn (Mick Woods) of Aldershot Farnham and District worked his way through the field on second leg and by the final change over had opened out a gap to Fergus McAuliffe (Vince Wilson/ Alison Wyeth) of Charnwood, who in turn was now clear of Luca Parker (Ian Wilcock) of City of York in third.
Max Heyden (Mick Woods) completed the winning performance for Aldershot, Farnham & District on last leg as Oliver Rouse (Vince Wilson/ Alison Wyeth) ensured second place for Charnwood. Thomas Keen (Mark Vile) was once again on an impressive run as he lifted Cambridge & Coleridge up into the medals with a swift last leg.
Under 17 Women
Rotherham Harriers’ Mya Taylor (Nigel Brookes) came home with a gap of around to 60m to Tia Wilson of Bedford & County at the end of the first stage. Behind Tia a pack including Sophie Hoare (Phillip Kissi) of Blackheath & Bromley and Emma Gordon (Lynn Webb) of Liverpool were coming in.
On second leg it was Eloise O'Shaughnessy (Phillip Kissi) who put Blackheath & Bromley into the lead as Lucy Smith (Andrew Carter) of Vale Royal now lay second just ahead of Emma Ball of Rotherham Harriers.
The final leg saw a superb run from Ella McNiven (Lynn Webb) of Liverpool Harriers who charged through to overhaul all ahead of her and see the Merseyside team taking the title just ahead of Vale Royal who had Holly Smith (Andrew Carter) take them to the silver medals. Yasmin Marghini (Phillip Kissi) secured the bronze for Blackheath & Bromley.
Under 15 Boys
Ryan Shields (Catherine Muth) of Birchfield led the field home after the first leg. Harvey Lewis of Keighley & Craven was in close order as were Max McGarvie of Hillingdon and James Wardle (Graham Moffatt) of Rushcliffe AC as the runners began to stream home.
It was Abdifatah Khalif (Idris Hamud) of Hillingdon who led home after two legs and he was starting to open daylight out on the chasers who were being led at this point by Jaden Kennedy (James McDonald) who had put Herne Hill right into the mix. Birchfield now lay third with Dylan King (Tracey Dunn).
Hillingdon were looking impressive and their gold medal winning job was completed by Adam Ireland (Stevan Dokic) who carried them to the title. Matthew Ramsden charged through on his anchor leg to take Blackburn to the silver medals as Jacob Harrison (James McDonald) secured the bronze for Herne Hill.
Under 15 Girls
Ava White (Phillip Kissi) headed the field home for Blackheath & Bromley with Sofia Perusko of Bedford & County and Maya Todd Mcintyre (Graham Moffatt) of Rushcliffe the ones chasing her home.
Blackheath retained their lead on the second leg as Naomi Toft (Phillip Kissi) led increased the margin over second place which was now held by Herne Hill with Eva Holland (James McDonald). Next to the final change-over were Alice Garner (Mick Woods) of Aldershot Farnham & District and Katie Goodge of Tonbridge.
By the finish Morgan Squibb (Andy Frankish) of Blackheath & Bromley was well clear of the opposition who were led in with Pippa Roessler (Mick Woods) taking Aldershot, Farnham and District to silver. In a great battle for the third medal Caitlin Robinson brought Liverpool Harriers in just ahead of Herne Hill who had Poppy Craig McFeely (James McDonald) on last leg.
It was Andrew Jeavons of Worcester AC who led at the end of leg one with Zena Saez of Bedford and County in second. But there were not gaps opening out yet as as Eliott Beard headed out for Worcester and Thomas Dearden for Bedford & County.
After the second leg it was Aldershot Farnham & District who came home in the lead courtesy of Rudi Morrell (Mick Woods) who had hauled his way past the Bedford and County athlete. Another picking his way through the field was Gabe Parmenter (Mark Vile) of Cambridge and Coleridge as they were now up into third.
On the final leg Ethan Scott charged through the line to take the win for Aldershot Farnham & District. Bracknell had now been propelled into second by Charlie Borgnis as Luca McGrath’s last leg ensured a medal for Cambridge & Coleridge.
Under 13 Girls
At the end of the first stage Saffron AC’s Elsie Robinson (Robert Griffiths) led home from Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers Aimi Weightman (Jo Kent). With Shaftesbury not having a second leg runner it was Olivia Breed of Tonbridge who took the battle to Saffron and she edged ahead of their second leg runner Poppy Adkin to finish the second leg as leader. Vale Royal were also still in close order with Alice Gale.
And it was Vale Royal who came through to claim the title as Holly Weedall took them to the front on the final leg. Tonbridge won silver with Sophie Slack and Bracknell’s Kitty Mair (Beverley Kitching) moved them into the bronze medal winning position by the line.
Links to results (as available)
Results index at www.race-results.co.uk/results/2017/