National 12 Stage Road Relay (14/04/2013)

This year's National 12-Stage Road Relays were the first time we'd been back to Sutton Park since triumphantly defending our title there 12 months ago. E.coli outbreaks and bad weather have meant the usual round of relays in the park have not happened this year, so it was a welcome return to a happy hunting ground.

A week before the race we were looking like fielding a strong team and having a good chance at thee titles on the trot. However, the week leading up to the race saw us lose some key members and left us with what was going to be an outside chance. It was all still to play for however, especially with the Midland title also up for grabs and coming off the back of an improved post-christmas winter with medals at the National Cross.

Ian Mitchell led the team off and is probably in his best form for 5 years, producing an excellent 26.33 to come in sixth and hand over to Martin Williams. Martin was on a short for the first time since 2005 and produced a solid 14.47 to go past three and take us up into third. Matt Granger then ran a very solid leg (27.51) to drop one place and hand onto the youngest man in the team Phil Wilson. A slight baptism of fire in his first time in the A team but Phil aquitted himself extremely well and showed more progress with a 15.37, just being passed by one and coming in fifth. Great promise for the future. Back from representing GB at the World Cross Champs, Phil Nicholls then sped off to chase down the opposition, picking up two places and a 26.35 clocking and take us back into a medal position. Solid run that got Phil third fastest Midland long leg just behing Ian in second.

Rich Kay was on a short with a slight hamstring problem and took us up to second place, but a way back from surprise leaders Cardiff. The ever consistent Ben Gamble ran a 27.15 long leg to keep us up there. With his pregnant wife Amy waiting at the finish, Ben certainly had reason to storm round, just in case! Eigth leg was a certain Me Steve Brookes making his first appearance in the A team for a few years. Fresh off his Blackpool Marathon win the team manager's fears of Steve's legs not having recovered proved unfounded and Steve ran a creditable 15.38 and hold onto a fourth place, his best run for a long time and great to have him fit again.

We knew it would be tough to hold on from there on in and so it proved. Oz Ellis was a last minute draft into the A team and ran a sub 30 but we dropped slightly to sixth and our medal chances began to slip away. Liam Roberts made his debut for the club on tenth (16.04) and  Dan Beier ran a solid leg for 28.37. Last leg was the Nigel Stirk, who once again added to his medal collection. Eighth overall but bronze medals in the Midlands.

Belgave took the honours just ahead of Leeds with Cardiff a distant third. Disappointing not to have challenged again to be honest as the time that won it was over 2minutes slower than the times we've run to win the last two years.



Leg A Team Act Leg Position
1 Ian Mitchell 00:26:33 6
2 Martin Williams 00:14:47 3
3 Matt Granger 00:27:51 4
4 Phil Wilson 00:15:37 5
5 Phil Nicholls 00:26:35 3
6 Rich Kay 00:15:08 2
7 Ben Gamble 00:27:15 3
8 Steve Brookes 00:15:38 4
9 Oz Ellis 00:29:58 6
10 Liam Roberts 00:16:04 7
11 Dan Beier 00:28:37 8
12 Nigel Stirk 00:15:36 8
Leg B Team Act Leg Position
1 Chris Fullerton 00:30:16 61
2 Sean Barnsley 00:17:33 67
3 Phil Clamp 00:30:22 62
4 Ste Abrahams 00:16:02 59
5 Dean Hill 00:31:27 59
6 Aaron Keene 00:17:31 59
7 Tom Holden 00:29:59 56
8 Mike Hager 00:16:52 50
9 Mike Buntin 00:30:03 45
10 Paul Rogers 00:17:02 44
11 Jon Hunt 00:34:52 51
12 Nev Watson 00:16:31 49