There was a great day of action at Sutton Park as the Senior Men and Women and Young Athletes contested the autumn road relays titles.
With Stockport Harriers claiming the men’s title for the first time in the club’s history and Aldershot, Farnham & District winning the women’s title for the third consecutive year the young athletes races saw the titles shared around.
Stockport have previously claimed the national cross country relays title but never a national title on the road. But 2018 saw their name added to a national road relays trophy for the first time.
It was Jonny Mellor (Steve Vernon) who emerged from the pack to give Liverpool Harriers the lead at the end of the first leg ahead of Cardiff’s Jake Heyward (James Thie) and Leeds City B’s Ossama Meslek (Phil Townsend). But, as always, the gaps at the end of the first stage were not yet starting to appear.
Callum Johnson (John Stephenson) lifted Gateshead Harriers up into pole position after two legs and both Cambridge & Coleridge and Lincoln Wellington showed their intention to be in the mix at the sharp end as Jack Gray (Mark Vile) put his club into second position and Lucian Allison (Mark Baddeley) moved the Northern Champions into third.
The statement of intent continued on the next leg as Cambridge & Coleridge were leading at halfway courtesy of European Youth 3000m champion Thomas Keen (Mark Vile) and Aaron Scott (Nick Anderson) moved Lincoln Wellington to within touching distance of the lead at this stage with a gap opening to Robel Bahelbi and Highgate Harriers. On fourth leg these positions were retained by Lloyd Kempson (Mick Woods) and James Straw (Mark Baddeley). But Stockport who were already in in close attendance moved third through the fourth leg Pat Martin (Dave Turnbull).
It was on fifth leg that Stockport hit the front as Jack Martin (Dave Martin) moved them into the lead. Hauling his team through the field at pace was Phil Seseman (Andy Henderson) of Leeds who was now into second place. Aldershot Farnham & District were up to third with Ellis Cross (Mick Woods).
Ross Millington (Steve Vernon) then increased Stockport’s advantage over the rest of the field as he pulled away to take Stockport to the title. The other medal positions remained unchanged as Emile Cairess (Phil Townsend) made certain of the silver medal for Leeds and Richard Allen ensured Aldershot, Farnham & District took bronze.
Aldershot, Farnham and District have now won this event three times on the row with only Swansea Harriers interrupting a winning streak that would otherwise stretch back to 2007.
They set out their stall from early on with Emily Hosker-Thornhill (Mick Woods) opening out some daylight on Leeds City’s Stevie Stockton (Phil Townsend) at the end of leg one, who in turn had a gap on the Belgrave vest of Saron Haileselase (Charlie Dickinson) and the chasing pack.
Lucy Crooks (Phil Townsend) saw Leeds City in front at the half way mark ahead of Aldershot, Farnham & District’s Laura Gent (Luke Gunn) and Tonbridge’s Phoebe Barker (Richard Owen).
But after three legs Amy Griffiths had put Aldershot, Farnham and District back into the lead ahead of Leeds’ Georgia Malir (Andy Henderson) and Hayley Carruthers (Gary Warhurst) of Rotherham.
On final leg Louise Small (Mick Woods) opened out a commanding margin to take the Hampshire club to their third consecutive title. In second place, again repeating their position of last year, were Leeds City, anchored home by Claire Duck (Mike Baxter) with Tonbridge moved into third Ashley Gibson (Bill Foster).
Under 17 Men
Charnwood’s Ethan O’Shea (Alison Wyeth) held off the charge of David Dow (Mark Vile) from Cambridge & Coleridge to take his club to the Under 17 title. Kristian Imroth was also involved in the home straight battle to give Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers the bronze medals.
Aiden Killeen of Bedford & County had led the first leg home just ahead of Kieren Coleman-Smith of Charnwood with Jack Stanton-Stock of Cambridge & Coleridge hot on their heels.
Charnwood had first moved ahead of the field on second led with Vincent Dawson just ahead of Cambridge & Coleridge’s Nicolas Harhalakis, at which point David Stone (Jeremy Sothcott) had Shaftesbury Barnet into third.
Under 17 Women
Mia Atkinson of Charnwood led the field home after the first leg of the Under 17 Women’s race ahead of Bedford & County’s Tia Wilson and Ella Semple (Catherine Muth) of Birchfield.
As the teams set out on the last leg Ellie Taylor (Peter Gore) had put City of Norwich into the lead with Freya Stapleton (Jeremy Sothcott) moving Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers into second on the second leg as Lucy-Mae Shepherd had Bedford & County making up the top three at the last change over.
Megan Gadsby held that lead for City of Norwich to take them to gold medals as Grace Ingles (Jeremy Sothcott) did likewise for the silver medals for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers. In the race for the final medal position Salford Harriers were moved into bronze medal positions by Ty Brockley-Langford (Paul Roden).
Under 15 Boys
James Wardle (Graham Moffat) of Rushcliffe led the charge through the line after the first leg with fastest time of the day (12:21) as Danny Adams (David Pring) of City of Norwich was next in, ahead of Sam Hopkins of Salford.
Ryan Martin (Mick Woods) of Aldershot Farnham and District moved into the lead on second leg with his club’s B Team in third thanks to Michael Gar (Trevor Raggett), but Samuel Bryan (Duncan Mason) had now moved Salford to second.
Woody Jerome (Mick Woods) sealed the gold medals for Aldershot Farnham & District as Max Duckworth sealed a 1-2 for the club ahead of Bedford & County’s Alex Alston. With clubs only eligible for one medal Cambridge & Coleridge took the bronze medals after Corban Wood’s 12:56 last leg saw them home in fourth place.
Under 15 Girls
Wreake & Soar Valley headed home in first after one leg with Indienne King (John Skevington) in ahead of Elsie Robinson of Saffron (Robert Griffiths) and Maayan Radus (Ali Kadir) of Shaftesbury Barnet. It was then Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow who led after two legs with Eloisa Harris (Shireen Higgins) as Rachel Gillett (Mick Woods) put Aldershot, Farnham & District second and Holly Henderson (Steve Perkin) lying third for Chiltern.
But it was Vale Royal who claimed the gold medals with Holly Weedall (Andrew Carter) sealing the title with fastest time of the day by clocking a 13:23 on anchor leg. She pulled her club clear of Windsor, Slough & Eton’s Jasmine Young (Shireen Higgins). Bronze went to Aldershot, Farnham & District with Pippa Roessler (Mick Woods) on last leg.
Under 13 Boys
Isaac Morris (Cambridge & Coleridge, Mark Vile) led home after leg one, in the day’s fastest time (13:17) with Tonbridge’s Albert Kreuzberg following him in ahead of Bracknell’s Harry Prescott (Bracknell AC).
Lewis Buchallet retained the lead for Cambridge and Coleridge at the end of the second leg as Thomas Redmond (Steve Perkin) moved Chiltern Harriers second ahead of Bracknell AC and Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow with Sam Pemberton and Benjamin Dewar (Shireen Higgins) coming in side by side.
Another Mark Vile coached athlete Luca McGrath brought Cambridge & Coleridge through to gold on the final leg with the team not having been. Leon Doran (Nick Hughes) secured the silver medals for Chiltern Harriers as Christo Chilton (James McDonald) brought Herne Hill Harriers into the medals when it counted.
Under 13 Girls
First leg was led home by Phoebe Gill (St Albans) with Francesca Baxter of Chiltern Harriers (Nick Hughes) in close attendance and Wolverhampton & Bilston’s Isabelle Price next in.
Ella Botha (Nick Hughes) moved Chiltern Harriers into the lead on second leg as Sophie Slack put Tonbridge second and Isobelle Jones kept Wolverhampton & Bilston in the medal positions at this stage.
Lily Slack carried Tonbridge to the title as she hit the front on the last leg with the fastest time of the day in 13:48. Lesedi Nkoane (Nick Hughes) was the one who made sure that Chiltern Harriers took silver as Southampton won bronze after Katie Youp’s anchor leg.