A round-up of British Masters Road Relay Championships action at Sutton Park
Not one club dominated in a well-attended British Masters Road Relay Championships event on Saturday, with the nine team titles going nine different ways and the three main races won by Belgrave, Ronhill Cambuslang and Thames Hare and Hounds.
The W35 race was first off at 10.30am and was dominated by Belgrave Harriers who won their first ever title easily.
Sophie Carter led the opening leg by 10 seconds with a 17:25 clocking for the hilly three mile route through Sutton Park, and at the end of leg two Louise Blizzard had stretched the gap to 31 seconds, with Heanor now second.
On leg three Kate Rennie had stretched the gap to almost two minutes and though Zoe Doyle lost ground on the last leg, the winning margin was still a conclusive 75 seconds.
Heanor took second and Telford, for whom many-time masters international winner Claire Martin moved them closer to the lead with a 17:13 leg, were a clear third.
The quickest leg though came from Royal Sutton Coldfield’s Melissa Woodward who brought her team in nine minutes outside the medals despite a 17:06 clocking.
The W45 race was more competitive. Barnet led the first leg through Joanne Kent and then Salford’s Rachel Jones went in front and stretched the lead.
On the last leg, Bev Simons, a 73:08 half-marathoner at her best though worried about a calf problem, set off with a good lead and though losing some ground held on to give Salford victory by 27 seconds. Dulwich were second, with their final leg runner – W50 record-breaker Clare Elms (pictured) – running the fastest leg in the age group of 18:00.
Former world masters W50 1500m champion Jane Clarke made her debut in the W55 age group and ran the fastest leg of 19:31 to give City of Norwich victory and catch Winchester on the final leg.
Welsh club Les Croupiers won the W65 race and Bingley won the M75 race.
The second race was the combined M55 and M65 race and Scottish club Ronhill Cambuslang were very easy winners of the M55 event.
Paul Thompson came in sixth on leg one before Colin Feechan’s 17:10 opened up a lead of almost a minute. Iain Campbell maintained the advantage on the final leg to give his club victory by 74 seconds from Woodford Green and Wirral.
The fastest leg went to Tipton’s Mike Hager with a 17:03 opening and the multi record-holder and cross-country specialist will remarkably enter the M65 age group in September.
However, it’s worth noting that another M60 record breaker, Martin Rees, was quicker, but took part in the M35 race where he ran 16:09.
The M65 race saw Oxford dominate and win their third title in the age group in the last four years. Their Roy Treadwell was the fastest with 18:41 on the first leg.
The M35 race over six legs saw victory for 2013 champions Thames Hare and Hounds. Phil Tedd took them into the lead on leg two with a 15:18. Matt Jones retained the lead over Salford by a second on leg three before Ian Harkness opened up a half minute gap on the fourth leg.
Simon Molden’s fifth leg stretched the lead to 53 seconds and though Simon Wurr lost ground on the final leg, Thames still took gold by 24 seconds from Ronhill Cambuslang with Preston finishing strongly for third.
Ian Hudspith of Morpeth was fastest with a 14:31 on leg four which advanced his team 17 places.
The M45 race was won by Aldershot who claimed a close race from Salford, with Scott Bannister’s final leg giving them a 26 second victory.
Also close by were Leicester Coritanians, who had won all four editions of the M45 event but had to settle for third. They did pick up the fastest lap award though, as Gordon Lee again was the fastest in his age group with 15:20 compared to last year’s 15:24.
M35: Thames Hare & Hounds
M45: Aldershot Farnham & District
M55: Ronhill Cambuslang
M65: Oxford City
W35: Belgrave Harriers
W55: City of Norwich
W65: Les Croupiers
» A fuller report, results and photos by Jeremy Hemming will appear in the next edition of AW magazine