National Road Relays

The Harriers teams competing at the National Road Relays put in some terrific performances to build on the success from the Midland Road Relays, held over the same course at Sutton Park two weeks earlier.


The Senior Women’s team, competing for the first time in recent memory after an emphatic performance at the Midland Road Relays where they finished in 7th place, produced a superb performance to finish in 30th place out of the 71 teams who were competing, effectively the best qualifying teams from the Midland, North & South Road Relay Championships.


Fine performance from the senior women's team from left to right, Emily Williams, Elana Albery, Demi Locker, Alice Bates


Unchanged from the Midland relays two week earlier Alice Bates once again ran the opening leg, and repeated her impressive performance to finish in 8th place with an 11 second improvement in 14:46. Bates sat in on the high-quality field for the opening km, and then set about getting in the mix with a group of 9 athletes in a chasing pack just off the first three positions. Finding herself in 11th place with the final 200m uphill finish, Bates again produced a top-quality sprint finish to reel in three athletes to the line. Her time placed her 2nd fastest U20 on the day, impressive stuff as a bottom year athlete.  


Alice Bates with another brilliant opening leg setting the seconds fastest time for U20W as a bottom year athlete


Elana Albery recovering from a cold and struggling during the warmup with her breathing ran the 2nd leg and she dug in a produced a brave run to finish in 16:43 and keep the Harriers in the top half of the field in 27th place, with bottom year U20 Demi Locker running the third leg with a slight improvement from her run 2 weeks earlier in 16:52 finishing her leg in 29th position. Emily Williams on the anchor leg made a 12 second improvement with a strong run to bring the team home in 30th position with 16:52. This is a fine performance from the Harriers competing in their first National Road Relay competition, especially with two bottom year U20’s in the squad, and for sure there will be more to come from this quartet.   


The U13 boys running a different team also produced a fine performance to finish in 32nd place out of the 52 competing teams. Harlee Hooker ran the opening leg and finished in 32nd position with 15:03, the fastest leg of the trio with Harry Ambery competing the second leg with an 11 second improvement in 16:01 maintaining 32nd place, as did the anchor Ollie Smith, who ran a 48 second improvement from his race the previous year in 15:12.  


Fine finish in 32nd for the U13B Oliver Smith, Harry Ambery & Harlee Hooker


The U15 boys also ran well for a finish in 34th place out of the 66 teams competing. Dylan Ransom again set the fastest split from the KTH trio in the opening leg in 13:30 (7 sec improvement) to finish in 36th, with Finley Brooker running 14:49 and finishing his leg in 42ndplace handing over to Zachary Scott, promoted to the A team with his performance 2 weeks earlier, running 13:58 a 14 second improvement.


34th place for the U15B with Dylan Ransom, Finley Brooker & Zachary Scott


The U15 girls experienced a disappointing competition with an error in the 1st to 2nd leg handover resulting in a full 5-minute delay to the change over. The error resulted from the official not spotting the 1st leg runner finishing and refusing to let the second leg athlete run until all 1st leg runners had finished. The delay resulted in the team finishing in 55th place out of 64, but extrapolating the actual times ran would have resulted in a 27th place finish. The opening and fastest leg of the trio was run by Chelsie Locker, missing from the Midland relays while competing at the polish 1km national championships where she secured a 6th place finish. Locker ran 15:05 to finish her leg in 33rd place, with Evie Brooker the sad recipient of the 5 minute penalty recording an official 20:42 (but running a 15:20) finishing in 66th place, with anchor Maggie Gancheva doing well in pulling back 11 places with her leg of 16:10.


U15G Chelsie Locker with the fastest split of the U15G trio


All in all it was a terrific performance from the club competing against the best clubs in the UK.


Further afield there was an outstanding start to the winter indoor track season for bottom year U20 Ben Brooker who sliced almost 2 seconds from his best finish third in his heat in the first of the Yorkshire indoor open meetings at the Sheffield indoor athletics track with a super fast 1:57.28. Brooker has been in great form following a late summer injury and has been flying in training in the past few weeks, so this is certainly a signal of intent for the indoor season over the next 3-4 months.


Ben Brooker with a huge 2 second PB in his first indoor 800m of the season with 1:57.28 


Well done everyone who ran.