Bates individual Gold powers Relay squad to a podium finish

Alice Bates spearheaded the Kettering Town Harriers U17 Women’s Team to a magnificent Bronze medal at the National Road Relays, and set the fastest time to also claim the Gold medal and win her first National Title.


Bronze Medal Winning U17 W (from left to right) Elsie Robinson, Alice Bates, Alice Bennett

The National Road Relays held at Sutton Park saw the best road runners from the length and breadth of the country competing over the traditional 3.88km course and for the Harriers to secure a podium finish is a magnificent achievement. The team remained the same as the one who comfortably won the Midland Road Relays two week earlier by two and a half minutes.


Alice Bates ran the opening leg and sensibly took the opening 400m steadily up the challenging start which has a steep 300m assent which if attacked too hard can negatively affect your race. Sitting in just behind the leading pack of runners, Bates started to push into the leading position after 1.5km, and took to the front to push the pace with Cambridge & Coleridge Ellie Loosley just for company. The pair were locked in battle right to the final straight and both battled to take the opening leg right to the line with Bates showing great strength to just hold her off her rival and set a scorching time of 13:17 a full 34 seconds quicker that her winning leg at the midland relays, and enough to win the Championship Gold medal.


Handing over to Alice Bennett for the second leg the Harriers continued to push the pace with Bennett also running a superb leg in 14:29 (5th fastest 2nd leg) a full 33 seconds quicker than the 2nd leg two weeks earlier at the midland road relays, however there were some terrific 2nd leg splits from Vale Royal AC & Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, both running times which were placed in the top 5 overal on the day, this saw the Harriers drop to 4th just 10 seconds from a medal winning position but over 25 seconds from the leading clubs.


3rd and final leg was run by new recruit Elsie Robinson who is steadily returning to the form that saw her set the fastest time as an U15 in the 2019 National Relays. Robinson quickly ran down the 3rd position place and ran a terrific leg of 14:11, a 10 second improvement and 6th fastest split in the third leg to comfortably hold third position with a combined time of 41:57 to bring the team home for a magnificent Bronze medal.


The time set by this trio would have seen the Harriers winning a Gold team medal the two previous years such was the quality of the performance, indeed the winning time by Royal Vale AC was one of the quickest ever in the competition.  


Alice Bates was delighted with her first National title in winning the Gold medal for the fastest time; joining and elite group of Harriers before her with Emily Williams & Dylan Bowley previously winning Gold at this event. Coach Shane Smith was full of admiration for his protegee “Alice ran a brilliant race and is now starting to be a much more consistent race day performer on the big stage and fulfilling her undoubted potential she has shown in training”.   


Alice Bates (524) first National Championship win taking Gold with the fastest time of the day holding of C&C Ellie Loosley

There were also other fine performances from the Harriers juniors with the incomplete team in the U17W race similarly running a terrific race to show the real strength in depth in the AG. Demi Locker & Sophie Dunbobbin are both beginning to see the green shoots of a significant improvement following their transfer to the Harriers in the last few months, and both run fine performances to see them firmly in a top 10 position after two legs with Locker producing one of the performances of the day to slice over two and a half minutes from her time 2 weeks earlier with a scorching 14:19 for 15th place, with Dunbobbin running a terrific leg to gain 6 places to leave the B team in 9th position with a split of 14:36.


Combined U17 W Teams (left to right) Alice Bennett, Alice Bates, Demi Locker, Sophie Dunbobbin, Elsie Robinson

The strong U13 Girls team who like the U17 W team won Gold at the Midland Counties Road Relays found the going tough, with a nasty virus affecting the camp in the week leading up to race day; performances were naturally slightly down but the team still managed to finish in a magnificent 8th place overall. Jess Lamb who was a doubtful starter after waking full of cold, bravely ran the opening leg to finish in 7th place in 15:13 (16 seconds off her previous best 2 weeks earlier), with Tiggy Guthrie-Brown running a solid leg placing the team in 12th after two legs. Jemima Davey who 2 weeks earlier set the fastest time ever as an U13 in the Midland Road Relays with 14:01 struggled to reproduce this form due to the after effects of a virus, eventurly finishing in 8th place with 14:41. It was a brave performance from the girls who will no doubt bounce back later in the season.


Top 10 finish for the U13 G (left to right) Jemima Davey, Tiggy Guthrie-Brown, Jess Lamb

The U17 Men ran a great race to finish in 25th with a combined time of 39:24, a quicker time than the Midland relays and 14 places ahead of local rival Rugby & Northampton AC, with Rio Carr running a fine opening leg in 12:38 (17 seconds quicker than the Midland RR) for 24th with Ben Brooker running 13:48 in the second leg & Lucas Mansell bringing the team home in 12:58 taking 12 places with a fine run.


U17 M in a fine 25th place (left to right) Rio Carr, Ben Brooker, Lucas Mansell

The U13 Boys ran a fine race to finish in a splendid 26th position with a combined time of 46:41 with Finley Brooker improving by 10 seconds with 14:55 (23rd), Finn Currie in 15:46 (27th) & Harlee Hooker in 15:41 bringing the team home.


U13 B in a splendid 26th place (left to right) Finley Brooker, Harlee Hooker, Finn Currie

The U15 Boys & Girls found the going a little tough with the Boys finishing in 35th place with a combined time of 44:00 a 34 second improvement on the Midlands RR, with Dylan White 13:49 almost a minute and a half quicker than the Midlands RR, James Clutton 16:03 & Jacob Asher-Relf 14:08. For the Girls Maggie Gancheva ran the opening leg in a time of 15:04, a 50 second improvement, for a fine 21st position, with Chelsie Locker running over 30 seconds quicker in 16:17 & Ellie Separovic replacing the injured Lara Turner in 18:49 bringing the team home in a respectable 41st position.


U15 Boys (left to right) Dylan White, Jacob Asher-Relf, James Clutton

This was a fantastic display from the Harriers who are all gathering momentum leading into the winter programme, and with the first cross country event just a week away.  


Well done to everyone who ran.