National 6 Stage Road Relays result and report by Yasmine Chaffer

The National Road Relay Championships were held on Saturday 15th April 2023 at the lovely Sutton Park in Birmingham. A team of six ladies represented Steel City Striders – Abbie Pearse, Caroline Brock, Ellen Broad, Yasmine Chaffer, Claire Wren and Emily Green. This is a high profile event that even had some Olympians running, including Alex Yee and Andrew Butchart. Our team managed a strong 19th out of the 35 teams that started the race.

The race was made up of four short legs of 3.16 miles and two long legs of 5.38 miles. The short leg was a single loop, and was mainly up hill on the way out and downhill on the way back, with an uphill finish. The long leg followed the same route, but branched off for an undulating 2 mile out and back at the mid point. Below is each team member’s experience of the race, in their own words.

Leg 1 – Long – Abbie 

It was a last minute decision that I wanted to run the long leg to get a few more miles in this week, ahead of my taper for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks. I felt very calm being chaperoned to the start pen by Caroline, with plenty of time. This feeling soon changed when the gun went unexpectedly while I was still grinning and enjoying the views 😂. My race felt very hard from the start, no chance I could keep with the front pack and I soon found myself in a lonely gap battling with my tired legs. Pleased to get all the way round and hand over to Caroline and very very pleased with the overall team result!

Leg 2 – short – Caroline 

After the late change of running order with Abbie I was running like I was being chased and relieved not to be passed until halfway and only by 2 runners 😅 as I climbed the second hill and the sun was warming up I was feeling quite glad to be doing a short leg (thanks Abbie and Yasmine!)

Leg 3 – short – Ellen

I was expecting the hardest part of the run to be being overtaken by lots of speedy runners and was very happy to only get overtaken by 2 as well! But I wasn’t expecting the course to be quite so tough both in terms of hills (or what felt like hills!) and also feeling quite lonely on the course in terms of support and barely any other female runners around me! Which actually made it quite hard to push myself round!

Leg 4 – long – Yasmine 

I won’t beat around the bush here – this was not a good performance from me. Right from the warm up I knew I wasn’t 100%, and the race was one of those where it takes every bit of your mental strength to not stop. A low point was when I got overtaken by two guys who were doing their cool down…who still were polite enough to congratulate me on my ‘great running’ 🙂 That said, I was pleased to still put in a strong finish, and only let 2 girls past me – well, it was actually 3 but one then took a wrong turn so I’ll take that as a win based on out smarting your opponent, a bit of a rarity in this sport! (Note – I did try and stop her but she was too far ahead to hear me!!)

Leg 5 – short – Claire 

It was hard being out alone and my watch dying really didn’t help! I got overtaken by so many men 😅and the first women’s team as well. But I did manage to overtake someone! Really pleased to have been part of it – I do love a race day 😊

Leg 6 – short – Emily 

Honoured to get to represent the Green and Gold on the national stage and I hope that came across in my interview as well if it ever surfaces! Relays are the best but on a national stage it made it even more special!

(Also a shoutout to Emily for getting us back into the top 20 by over taking someone on the last leg, and also for the amazing cake!!)

Thanks ladies for your words and for great company on a fun day out!

Just some last thoughts from me – several times during the day I overheard other lady runners saying how they have had to move clubs because their old club could never get a ladies team together for relay events, and there were 9 incomplete teams – some of which had very strong runners in (the fastest short leg runner of the day came from an incomplete team!). Several of the best performing teams at the Northerns a couple of weeks ago also didn’t get a team out to this event. It just made me realise how lucky we are to be in such a supportive club with so many ladies who are willing to put themselves out there and run in races like these. I never thought when I started running that I would run in something like this, and am very grateful for the unwavering support and encouragement that everyone in this club shows each other. Bring on Rother Valley Relays!


The 6 stage ladies relay was won by Leeds City AC, and the men’s 12 stage relay was won by Central AC. The fastest ladies long leg was Georgie Grgec of Herne Hill Harriers in 28:34, and the fastest short leg was Gemma Steel of Charnwood AC in 16:41. And incase you were wondering who won in the battle of the Olympians – Alex Yee ran his long leg in 24:58, and Andrew Butchart ran his in 24:57, a very close call!!

Here is a link to the full results:


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