National 12/6 Stage Road Relays Report (16/04/2018)

Tipton Harriers had an encouraging result in the National 12 Stage Road Relay held at Sutton Park last Saturday, 14th April, 2018. In warm Spring weather, unlike the wintry day four weeks ago when the Midland event was run, the conditions were good for road running in the park.

The relay consisted of six long stages of 5.38 miles and six short stages of 3.165 miles run alternately, that provided challenging running over the undulating course.  Tipton Harriers finished 14th out of over 60 teams, an improvement over last year's 23rd placing, in spite of missing several key runners.

Joe Smith led the team off on the first leg, when clubs use some of their strongest runners to give the team a good start. Joe gave the club a solid beginning in 26th place about 90 secs behind the leading club, Shaftsbury Barnet  Harriers, Joe recording 27m. 49 secs.

Second runner was Philip Wilson showing improving form picked up two places, taking 16m 28s for the short leg. Peter Brookes took over to run a fine long leg, pulling up eight places to 16th in a time of 27m 11s, seventh fastest on the stage, putting newcomer Nick Hardy in a good position among the leading clubs, running well to improve the club's placing to 15th, recording the tenth fastest time on the stage 16.25, to be followed by reliable Martin Williams on the long leg, not quite at his best coming in three places down to 18th in a time of 28.20, handing over to Aaron Brown to take the short leg, which he covered in great style putting Tipton  14th recording the 10th fastest stage run in 16.21.

Richard White had the task of keeping the club in the leading  runners on a demanding long leg. He found it tough taking 29.17 to complete his run in 18th. Tom Holden then ran the short stage to hold on to the position in 17.02 an improvement on his Midland time, to hand over to Jon Carter to chase the runners lined up in front, which he did successfully, improving the team's position to 13th, an improvement of five places, a fine run in 26.23.

Harvey Maguire took up the chase to keep  Tipton in the leading string of clubs, he did that gaining a place and recording the 6th fastest on the stage. Steve Corbishley  had the long and testing 11th stage to cover, and put in a lot of effort to lose only one place over the 5 mile circuit in 29.51, handing over to young Luke Vine,  making his way back after a long term injury, he ran a little slower than in the Midland event, losing one place  to Sale Harriers, in a time of 18.02, to complete the relay for Tipton in 14th place, in a total time of 4h 29m 33s, and were the third Midland  team after Bristol and Notts AC.

Tonbridge AC  won the relay in 4h 17m 24s, with Highgate Harriers (London) runners-up,  4h 18m 56s, and Swansea Harriers third, 4h 19m 42s fourth, Leeds AC the first Northern club 4h 22m 00s.

Tipton were one of only four clubs to complete a 'B' team with 60th position. Best runs were by Dan Bate (Leg 1), Dean Hill two places up on Leg 3, Archie Roberts up four places on Leg 4, James Jefferson on Leg 7 and Gareth Maguire  up three on Leg 10.

Tipton won the event in 2012 so the club have a long term aim to improve performances; with the turnout of strongest teams the club can mount a challenge to the clubs up at the front. This was a solid encouraging result. There were some notable teams following Tipton like Newham & Essex Beagles, Birchfield, Bedford, Cheltenham, Liverpool, Shaftesbury, Belgrave, Morpeth, Blackheath , Coventry among others.

The ladies also had a good day finishing a very credible 23rd place.
Men's Result  |  Ladies Results