Yorkshire Road Relays Report by Ben Jones

Race Date: Saturday 29th March 2019

Race Report by: Ben Jones

Event two of road relay season saw four teams of Striders travelling to the Brownlee Academy Triathlon Centre (Neither Alistair nor Jonathan were in attendance…) in dirty Leeds. Yorkshires fell on a Saturday. Personally I prefer them on a Sunday with ladles of gravy but such is life. I digress, the Academy provides an excellent venue for speedy cycling and running, though no swimming facilities unless you count pools of sweat or runners swimming in third lap lactic acid.

Here’s the numbers part: We fielded one ladies and three men’s teams with four athletes per team each racing three laps of a mile circuit. Whether this made for a PB eligible 5k route is up for debate and caused more than one Strider to consider trudging through the finish line to register an unofficial GPS confirmed 5k. Refreshingly, men and women raced equal distances with the same number of participants making up a team. Equality! Who’d have thought it possible?

The course provided six sightings of each runner and Striders were in fine voice throughout. This Strider had just that morning been presented with an upgraded cowbell that was put to use in a manner that definitely didn’t annoy those within earshot. The velvety smooth lap contained one small hill to conquer however swiftly followed by a long sweeping descent with a generous push from the wind.

Squad rotation saw the ladies field a nearly full team of 2019 relay debutants and an excellent tactical formation strategy resulted in the team securing ‘squad negative splits’ from leg A to D. Having run well in Birkenhead last week, Jennie Stevens again showed great form to put the team in 18th place after one leg. Helen Burgess showed bouncebackability to complete her 2x5k interval session with 4 hours recovery after her parkrun cup heroics earlier in the day. Nicola Birch ran strongly and showed Yorkshire grit in battling through a late stitch. Finally, Abbie Pearse impressed on her road to the Madrid marathon by posting the fastest ladies time of the day to bring the team home in 13th position. The women’s race was comfortably won by Holmfirth ahead of Richmond and Zetland and Ilkley.

The men’s race saw a Sheffield top two (Hallamshire Harriers and City of Sheffield) with Wakefield filling the podium. James Rose, Ronan Charlton and Michael Greer drew the 1st leg short straw and joined the lengthening list of Striders in recent years to experience that not-so-slow death of going with the early pace (Messrs Skelton, Halloway, Jones will vouch for the perils of this). Nonetheless James hung on admirably and showed that he is truly back on firing form after a somewhat injury riddled 2018. Ronan ran a storming yet serene looking leg for the B team setting aside his disappointment of not getting a team coach to Leeds and Michael posted a sub 6 minute mile average. In a repeat of last weekend’s Northern, JSP then ran the fastest Striders leg of the day to pick up an impressive 11 places. Incidentally, the official results confirmed that we extended our run of each member of the men’s and women’s teams finishing their leg in a higher position than they began.

This was Joe’s first race in direct competition with his former club but showed no mercy when passing his former team mate Ben. Joe later unveiled his recently learnt ‘Go Striders’ chant showing that weekly club indoctrination lessons are working well.

Nick Scarlett (great name) and John Lea-Wilson (pushing a knee injury to the side) ran strongly on leg B duty to push the B and C teams up the field. Conor O’Boyle tore round the circuit to record a 5k PB and Ben Jones ran the fastest B leg. Malcolm Baggaley added to the list of sub 6 minute mile showings, whilst Andy Norton proved the positive benefits of fuelling properly the night before a race with Chinese takeaway and wine, firing round the course in the 2nd quickest Striders time of the day. Finally, Parkrun cup finalist Hal Roberts ‘gave it beans’ to complete his 2x5k for the day in a time faster than his morning’s parkrun cup final but admittedly ‘less fun’.

In a cruel twist-of-fate relay organiser-in-chief Tim twisted his ankle when warming up so the B team were unable to field a full team. A certain Sheffield-based running club certainly breathed a sigh of relief at this as the B team were within touching distance of them after 3 legs…

The A and C teams finished in 12th and 28th places respectively (the C team were the 3rd C team) whilst the B team were in 23rd after their three legs. Stay tuned for the third and final leg of the road relay mania soon, in which Striders will be travelling down to Sutton Coldfield to make a bid for glory at the National Road Relays – or at the very least avoid the ignominy of the mass start…

Women’s results: http://www.wakefield-harriers.co.uk/reports/19/yorksrr19fs.htm

Men’s results: http://www.wakefield-harriers.co.uk/reports/19/yorksrr19ms.htm

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