A look ahead to the ERRA National Road Relays at Sutton Park

Judging by the strenuous efforts of club teams to qualify for the ERRA National Road Relays in the men’s area relays last month, participation in the national six-stage is as eagerly sought as ever.

Women’s teams do not have the same qualification criteria and all can enter for the event on Saturday (September 3).

Aldershot’s women will be trying for their ninth victory in a row after their long unbeaten run in the southern relays was brought to an end by Cambridge & Coleridge AC.

AFD team manager Tim Eglen said: “I’m definitely expecting at least some of the big names to be available. We’ll be significantly stronger than at Rushmoor, with an international line up.”

Last year they had the three fastest laps by Steph Twell, who misses this year, Lily Partridge and Emelia Gorecka and will be favourites to extend their winning streak.

Midland winners Birchfield and northern top team Lincoln Wellington will be after AFD blood but, with just four to score, women’s race form can be up and down.

Aldershot’s men made it a double last year with a comfortable win over Highgate and Sale but slipped to third in this year’s southern event.

Highgate, boosted by the signing of Andy Maud from Clapham Chasers, won the southern by a good margin but are likely to be without Shaun Dixon.

Notts won the midland event by more than two minutes from Tipton, for whom Ryan McLeod, who has twice been quickest in the National at Sutton Park, was quickest at 17:10.

Northern winners Derby will also seek to challenge as will Scottish outfit Central, whose Andrew Butchart ran the quickest stage last year, although this was the slowest since the distance was fixed in 2001. The men’s record for this loop stands to Telford’s Chris Davies at 16:24 from 2003.

The senior men’s and women’s events take place on Saturday, with the Young Athletes Road Relays on Sunday (October 4).

Timetable

October 3
Noon: Women (4x4315m)
1.30pm: Men (6x5848m)

October 4
11.15am: Under-13 girls
12.10pm: Under-13 boys
1.05pm: Under-15 girls
2.00pm: Under-15 boys
2.45pm: Under-17 women
3.30pm: Under-17 men