HOLMFIRTH Harriers AC’s leading endurance athletes were in action this weekend at the Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships at Woodbank stadium, Stockport.
Both the women’s 6 stage and the men’s 12 stage race started and finished on the track, with the women running 2.36 miles on their leg, and the men alternating between long legs of 4.25 miles with short legs of 2.36 miles.
The top half of the course through Woodbank Park was flat, but once through the park gates there was a steep decent into Stockport and then a tough climb back into the park.
In the women’s event 45 teams faced the starter and Claire Leaver opened up for Holmfirth returning home in 21st place with a time of 15mins 30secs. Horwich RMI Harriers won the stage with a 13mins 24 secs effort.
On stage 2, Helen Berry ran strongly to move Holmfirth up to 18th recording a time of 14 mins 50secs.
Up front Sale Harriers had moved into the lead. Julia Johnson ran well on stage 3 to gain two more places with an individual time of 15 mins 55secs and Karen Sinkinson kept the team in 16th place on the next stage with her 16mins 35secs effort.
Morpeth Harriers AC had now moved into the lead.
On stage 5 leading veteran Dawn Broom used her experience to good effect to gain two more places recording 15mins 12secs.
Katie Walshaw continued the good work on the final stage to bring Holmfirth home in 12th place in a time of 1hour 32mins 44secs. Katie’s individual time was 14mins 42secs.
The race was won by Chester-Le Street and District AC in 1 hour 25mins 04 secs. Lucy Griffiths 16mins 31secs and Yvette Arthur 18mins 14secs ran the first two legs of an incomplete B team.
It was an ‘in form’ Matthew Pierson who opened up on the first long stage for the men as 58 teams toed the line.
Matthew was involved in a tremendous battle with Adam Grice of Leeds City AC and Carl Hardman of Salford Harriers as all three athletes entered the stadium together, with Adam just gaining a two second advantage over the last 300m.
Matthew recorded a splendid time of 20mins 34secs to claim second place.
Matthew Johnson, home from Oxford University, had his best run of the season on the first short stage to keep Holmfirth in second place with an individual time of 12mins 48secs.
Dave Watson came under pressure on stage 3 as Liverpool, Salford and Derby turned their leading athletes out. He slipped back to fifth but still recorded a good time of 22mins 03secs.
Middle distance specialist Jake Harman used his speed to good effect on stage 4, just losing one place as he crossed the line in a good time of 12mins 53secs.
On stage 5 Dave Turnbull was passed by Sale Harriers and Altrincham’s leading athletes as the team slipped back to eighth. Dave still recorded a good individual time of 22mins 21secs.
The youngest member of the team, James Dewhirst, was passed by Trafford and Morpeth on the next short stage, but still kept the club in the top 10 at the half way mark.
James’ individual time was 14mins 25secs.
On stage 7, Richard Smith slipped back to 12th with a 23mins 51secs effort, while veteran Julian Rose, running at this level for the first time just lost one place with his 14mins 23secs return.
John Broom ran an aggressive leg on stage 9 to keep Holmfirth in 13th place with a time of 23mins 19secs, while Mark Dewhirst lost one place with his 13mins 56secs effort on stage 10.
Alistair Langron ran very strongly on stage 11 to move Holmfirth back up to 13th with a 23min 26secs effort.
Matthew Dewhirst in 14mins 54secs just held off Stockport Harriers on the final stage to bring the team home in 13th place in 3hours 38mins 52secs.
The event was won by Leeds City AC in 3 hours 19mins 22secs. Chris Carris of Bingley Harriers ran the fastest long leg in 20 mins 15secs.
Last Sunday saw the running of the Wakefield 10K on a new course. In perfect running conditions 10 Holmfirth Harriers competed with Ricky South dipping below 35 minutes for the first time in five years. He ran a very good race to finish 12th 3rd O/45 in 34.57.
The other Holmfirth finishers were D.Shepherd 99th 40.12, D.Wadworth 202nd 43.49, Zoe Charlesworth 361st 47.12, Kiersti Dickinson 363rd 47.13, M.Rose 384th 47.37, C.Crossland 459th 48.59, Christine Jones 759th 55.18, T.Cock 832nd 56.43, Isobel Gabanski 1067th 1-03.19
There were 1,182 finishers.