Success All Round at the 2024 Rother Valley Relays

Report by Alex Rice 
Race Date: Tuesday 14th May 2024


The sun was unexpectedly shining on Rother Valley Country Park for the annual relays, which was once again held on a Tuesday evening in May. As usual, Striders turned up in their droves for the eagerly anticipated competition, which attracts a huge number of teams from across South Yorkshire.
It was an incredibly lively atmosphere. As soon I turned up I could see hundreds of athletes, in a multitude of club colours, enjoying the pre-race build-up, whether that involved socialising with their team mates, pinning the race number onto their vest or doing a recce of the course, which doubled up as a warm-up. I could also see countless club flags blowing in the notorious wind of Rother Valley.
Striders were well represented across all categories, having a total of 11 men’s teams (2 x Senior, 4 x M40, 3 x M50, 2 x M60) and 12 women’s teams (6 x Senior, 3 x F40, 1 x F50, 2 x F60). Three mixed teams were also entered.
There were four runners in each of the men’s and mixed teams. The women’s teams had three runners, so they joined from the second leg. Each team member ran one lap of the lake, which is not far off 5km. To make up the shortfall, a small out-and-back was added toward the end of the race in 2023. This was to the dismay of some of the regulars, who preferred the simpler, albeit shorter, course of previous years (totalling 4.8km). There were already murmurings in the warm-up about whether the individual 5km legs would count as an ‘official time’. Admittedly, I was curious about this myself – the answer unfortunately was no.
The men’s senior A and B teams both got off to a very good start, with both first-leg runners finishing just behind the leading pack. Naeem Stevens (A Team) powered through the one lap course in an impressive 16:31, keeping up the good form from his blisteringly quick 2:35 marathon, set in Rotterdam last month. Liam Brennan (B Team) was just 13 seconds behind, putting in an incredible performance, to clock a huge 5k PB (16:44). I was also on leg 1, as part of the Mixed A team. Whilst I had Naeem and Liam in my sights, there was clear daylight between us. I was pleased however to put our mixed team in third place going into leg two, where I handed the baton to Yasmine. The baton contained the chip for timing and was so light you could barely remember it was in your hands.
The women’s seniors set off from the second leg, with Simone Young Alis going first for the Women’s A team, passing the baton onto Caroline Brock, who further passed it to Abbie Pearse on the anchor leg. The team finished just outside of the podium position in fourth place, with the Senior B team (Emily Green, Sarah Thorne and Sian Evans) finishing only a few places behind in seventh (out of 111 teams). The men’s A team also ended up finishing in the top 10, with an impressive 7th place finish (out of 107 teams).
Talking of strength in depth, there was victory for both the Women’s V60 team (Dot Kesterton, Mandy Taylor and Karen Clark) and Men’s V60 team (Jed Turner, Mark Baines and Chris Ireland). Whilst the official results show the Men’s V60 B team finishing in second place, this was unfortunately based on an erroneous world record clocking of 14:03 from Kevin Haighton. It is chip timing however, so I would claim it!
This was not the only victory of the day. The Mixed A Team (comprised of myself, Yasmine Chaffer, Annie Chambers and Rob Byers) won the coveted first place trophy, fending off 34 other mixed teams. Amazingly, our team was four minutes behind the leaders going into the last leg. Rob Byers’ anchor leg clocking of 16:25 was enough to claw this back from the female anchor leg of North Derbyshire RC. Annie had extra cause for celebration, as she ran the quickest 5km of her life! (19:03).
Other team podium finishes were second place Men’s V50 (Adrian Fisher, Neil Schofield, James Storey and Chris Lawson) and third place Female V50 (Caroline Greenough, Jacqui Herring, Catherine Mckeown).
All in all it was a successful day all round for Striders and testament to the strength in depth at the club. I won’t hesitate to run again next year and encourage all others to do the same.
Striders Results 
Mixed Teams 
Position Leg1 Leg2 Leg3 Leg 4 Overall time
1 Alex Rice 17:18 Yasmine Chaffer 20:56 Annie Chambers 19:03 Rob Byers 16:25 01:13:42
7 Edward Shattock 18:38 Fran Robbs de la Hoyde 20:51 Sarah-Jane Brown 20:52 Robert Atherton 19:12 01:19:33
9 Harry Browne 20:07 Ellen Broad 21:00 Sam Ainscough 20:13 Emily Green 21:34 01:22:54
Senior Women
Position Leg1 Leg2 Leg3 Overall Time
4 Simone Young Alls 18:52 Caroline Brock 19:01 Abbie Pearse 18:02 55:55:00
7 Emily Green  20:36 Sarah Thorne 20:09 Sian Evans 18:29 59:14:00
22 Claire Wren 22:34 Nicola Ross 22:28 Hannah Holliday  21:09 01:06:11
28 Kathy Liddiard 21:59 Rachel Hardy 23:01 Bethan Varney  22:22 01:07:22
37 Christine Booth 26:30 Simone Young Alls 21:52 Caroline Brock 21:24 01:09:46
43 Caroline Greenough  23:04 Jacqui Herring 22:44 Catherine McKeown 24:38 01:10:26
45 Katelyn McKeown  25:10 Ann-Marie Mulvey  23:45 Josie Hill 21:50 01:10:45
50 Helen Royles-Jones 24.17 Victoria Johnson 23:28 Sharon Colyer 24:17 01:12:12
84 Emily Jones 23:43 Hannah Wright 32:29 Colleen Moore 25:44 01:21:56
90 Laura Rangeley  24:02 Lisa Markham 33:09 Lisi Briggs 26:30 01:23:41
Women V60
Position Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Overall Time
1 Dot Kesterton  23:36 Mandy Taylor 23:49 Karen Clark 24:36 01:12:01
4 Jo Gleig 26:46 Shirley Walsh 32:47 Louise Rowley 24:20 01:23:53
Senior Men
Position Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4 Overall time
7 Naeem Stevens 16:31 Luke Tipping 16:46 Luke Mair 17:22 Matt Spoor  16:32 01:07:11
23 Liam Brennan 16:44 Rob Funnell 18:07 Ben Stittle 20:50 Steven Cahill 17:41 01:13:22
35 Malcolm Baggaley 18:49  John Kilcoyne18:35 Michael Pearson 20:17 Louis Wood 18:33 01:16:14
36 Adrian Fisher 17:52 Neil Schofield 19:40 James Storey 18:51 Chris Lawson 20:18 01:16:41
46 Tom Bassindale 19:53 Ben Elliot 19:54 Phil Gregory 19:14 Jonathan Smith 19:53 01:18:54
60 Colin Hardy 20:18  Ian Hunter 20:24 Chris Froud 22:08 Michael Richardson 19:30 01:22:20
68 Adam McAuley 20:57 Robin Nelson 21:22 Nick Burns 21:14 Paddy Treehowes 20:12 01:23:45
88 Ian Black 20:38 Martin Greenhough 21:47 Andy Rowland 23:23 Brian Jenkins 22:55 01:28:43

Paul Johnson and Andrew McNamara also ran in an incomplete men’s team.

Men V60
Position Leg1 Leg2 Leg3 Overall Time
1 Jed Turner 19:40 Mark Baines  20:52 Chris Ireland 19:15 59:47:00
8 Tony Bell  23:44 Martin Hughes 22:45 Kevin Haighton 24:03 01:10:32
Hallamshire won both the men’s and females events.  Euan Bilge from Hallamshire was the fastest man in a new record time of 14.59. Laura McNeil from Hallamshire was the fastest woman in 16.24 – also a new record.
The final results are still to be published – they are available on the Rother Valley Relays 2024 FB page but awaiting quite a number of amendments still.
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