Fine performances from the Harriers at Road Relays

There was an Historic performance from the Harriers at the Midland Counties Road relays as the Senior Women’s Team qualified for the first time in recent memory for the National Road Relays in 2 weeks’ time with a magnificent 7th place finish overall.


There was fine weather for the Championships and several the younger age groups also put in splendid performances, although there was no repeat of the historic double Gold Winning teams from the 2021 Championship, due in the main to the 2021 winning teams being split by Age Group Changes.


The Senior Women team headed by U18 GB International Alice Bates achieved the standout performance of the day in qualifying for the National Road Relays with a 7th place finish, well within the top 25 qualification standard.


Sernior Women Qualifiers Emily Williams, Elana Albery, Alice bates & Demi Locker finishing in 7th place


Bates running the opening leg showed she has now fully recovered from the Covid outbreak which sadly ended her GB U18 Championships hopes in July, as she looks to be heading into good form at the start of the Cross-Country season with a GB European U20 Cross Country team place her main target this winter.


Taking on the 4.33km race from the start Bates headed the field during opening km which included the tricky uphill section, setting a keen pace and closely followed by Birchfield Harriers Seasoned GB international Lily Partridge. Partridge managed to ease past Bates during the fast downhill section and in the closing 600m bates found herself in 4th place in a close battle with BRAT’s Anne Kenchington & Bristol & West’s Chelsie Baker, Bates turned on the afterburners on the long uphill finish easily gliding past Baker & powering her way past Kenchington who had opened significant gap to finish her opening leg in a sensational 14:57, 2 seconds ahead of her rival. Bates recorded the 4th fastest time of the day which saw Partridge & fellow seasoned senior GB International Charnwood’s Gemma Steel equal the fastest leg in 14:24.


Alice Bates coming into great form with an outstanding run for the 5th fastest time on the day


The Harriers continued their fine start with a strong run from senior Women Elana Albery who ran the second leg to keep the team in contention with a fine 16:18, only dropping three places. Bottom year U20 Demi Locker, just back from a season’s long illness and still building up her fitness, produced a strong run in the third leg with 16:53 to hold onto a strong position handing over to Senior Woman Emily Williams in 6th place. Williams who has just returned from her summer break also ran a splendid race to bring the team home with a top 10 finish with her leg completed in 17:04 for 7th place overall, beating some highly reputable clubs in the process. The team will head into the National Road Relay Championships in 2 weeks to do battle again also competing with the best clubs from the Sothern & Northern area Championships.


The other standout performance on the day saw the U15G finish in a brilliant 6th place. 800m specialist Magdelana Gancheva running the opening 3.88km leg showed her endurance is in a good place with a splendid run for 15:19 in 13th place, handing over to Evie Brooker who made up 4 places with a strong run in 15:42, with bottom year Jemima Davey who recently departed for Millfield Boarding School running the anchor in 14:51 to claw back a further 3 places and bring the team home in 6th place.


U15G Jemima Davey, Evie Brooker & Maggie Gancheva with the highest placed team finish in 5th


The U13B put in a great performance to finish in 12th place with Harlee Hooker leading the team in the opening leg which saw him improve by over 1 minutes from his time in 2021 with a fine run in 14:39 over the 3.88km course to finish in 9th place. Handing over to Harry Ambury for the 2nd stage who ran a solid leg in 16:12 to finish in 15th place with Rafferty Davey running the anchor leg making three places with a great run in 15:33 to finish in 12th place.


Two U15B teams competed with some good performances seeing the ‘A’ team finishing in a solid 15th place with the ‘B’ team in 24th. Running the opening legs were Dylan Ransom who ran a great race to finish in 16th place with 13:37, with James Clutton in 35th in 15:03. The ‘B’ leg runners Evan Willis & George Sharpe running well with Willis finishing in 18th place (14:39) while Sharp made up 7 places with his run of 14:46 for 28th. Finely Brooker run a good anchor leg of 14:29 to make three places for the ‘A’ team to finish in a respectable 15th place out of the 40 teams competing, while Zachary Scott made 4 places for the ‘B’ team to finish in 24th with 14:12.   


Some of the U15B team Finley Brooker, George Sharp, Zachary Scott & Evan Willis


The Senior Men’s team ran well to finish in a credible 39th place with Rio Carr taking the honors for the fastest leg from the team in the opening leg 20:11 over the 5.88km course, while the U13G & U17 ran incomplete teams with U13 Tiggy Guthrie-Brown running a fine opening leg for 9th in 16:07, a position held by debutant Clara Booth (16:54) after 2 legs. Ellis Johnson run well for the U17M finishing in 23rd place with 13:41.


There will be teams entered for the national Road Relays in 2 weeks for most of the age groups, so all will have opportunities to improve their times.