Midland Relays (03/04/2016)

Provisional Results....



Tony Phillips provides his observations on the Men's race.

"The Midland Road Relays were held at the attractive venue of Sutton Park on Saturday, the scene of many successful events for Tipton Harriers at Midland and National events. The club maintained a good level of performance by finishing 4th, following Bristol AC, Cheltenham and County Harriers, and Notts AC.

The undulating road course presents a challenge for the competitors, and this year the sequence of stages was changed , with four long at the beginning of 5.38 miles, followed by eight short ones of 3.165 miles, a total of nearly 47 miles.

A good start was required to keep in contention with the leading clubs as the long stages could decide the outcome of the race . Ian Williams gave Tipton an encouraging start with his usual determined run on the first leg finishing 5th in a time of 27 mins. 53 secs, about a minute behind the leading team Notts AC.

Ian Mitchell took up the task of keeping up with the front runners and gave his usual reliable good performance, gaining a place to 4th in a time of 27m 47secs., handing over to Tom Holden to run a long leg, perhaps a bit long for a middle distance runner, but gave it a hard run to finish in the first six.

Stuart Hawkes put in a solid run on his debut to gain a place and hand over to Gareth Griffiths, the team's youngest runner, in 5th place, to take the first short leg of 3.165 miles, he held the team's position with a time of 16m 20 secs. Gareth handed over to another of Tipton's young promising runners, Luke Vine, who took the sixth stage and completed a good race with a time of 16m 16 secs. to keep the club in 5th position.

Meanwhile three club's took control of the relay at the front, Notts AC leading from Cheltenham and County Harriers and Bristol AC, who dominated the second half of the event, and opening up a gap over the following clubs, including Tipton.

Joe Smith making his debut pulled the club back into 4th spot taking Birchfield on stage 7, this was followed by good consistent performances by Aaron Brown, making his debut, 16m.31 secs. as was Jonathan Carter with a good effort in 16.31, and Liam Roberts 16.30, all retaining Tipton in 4th spot, and all recording the third fastest times on their stages, as did Harvey Maguire on the penultimate leg with 16.44, a consistent set of runs, to put Mike Aspinall in a position to retain 4th position, which he did in fine style, the fastest on the stage and third fastest overall, in 15.58, that reduced the gap, but could not close it on the first three.

Bristol AC took the title on the final lap from Cheltenham and County Harriers and Notts. AC. Tipton's 'B' team had an unfortunate mix up on the second changeover after Adam Soley had give the team a good start in 14th place in 29 mins. 13 secs.

After Dean Hill had kept the team in 21st spot it dropped to 56th after the error on the changeover that cost the team about 20 mins. After that the team battled on each runner gaining places to finish 33rd. Gareth Maguire 18.07, Stage 5, Shaun Barnsley, 18.06 on the sixth, Iain Lewis, 18.17, on 9, Brian Hancocks 18.00, on 10 and James Booker 18.02 to finish stage 12. James Jefferson on 4, 31.35, Tom Acha on 7 18.30, Jacob Anson 8 in 19.08 and Gary Whitehouse on 11 18.32, all contributed to an encouraging team race , and but for the mishap would have finished in the top 12 teams; 50 teams finished.

The club can look forward to the National Road Relay in two weeks time at Sutton Park, following good performances , and the possibility of two or three missing runners turning out for 'the Big One'."