Holmfirth Harriers’ top men’s team are off to the National Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park on Saturday, October 4.

They booked their place with an excellent 14th in the Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships at Birchwood Park, Warrington, when Mark Buckingham recorded the fastest leg of the event to get them off to a tremendous start.

The club’s women finished eighth in their section while the Under 17 men weren’t to be outdone either, finishing seventh – Holmfirth fielding three teams in each of the senior races, which were over two 3,000m laps and incorporating some tight bends.

There were 140 teams contesting the Men’s Championships, with almost 800 athletes participating – including some of the best talent in the North of England.

Elite triathlete Buckingham – about to commence his 24th year wearing the amber and black of Holmfirth – showed his class on Leg 1, jostling for position on the first 3km lap, before moving into the lead and showing a clean pair of heels to the leaders, winning the leg in a super-fast time of 18.07, which proved to be the fastest time of the day.

Richard Smith faced the prospect of battling against the big city-teams of Yorkshire and Lancashire, but coped well, conceding only five places and bringing the team back in sixth with an individual time of 20.07 on Leg 2.

Peter Brookes ran well in the third, finishing 11th and recording a time of 20.23, before handing over to Dave Turnbull, who showed it is possible to cope with a new baby in the home, finishing Leg 4 in 14th in a time of 20.41.

Stu Sharp gave a solid performance on the penultimate leg, maintaining 14th place with a time of 21.03, and Dave Watson demonstrated his class at almost 44 years of age and brought the team home in 14th with the third fastest time of the Holmfirth men (20.09), for a total time of 2-00.30.

Holmfirth’s B team (with their finishing position and time in brackets) finished 70th (2-14.47) out of 114 teams, and were represented by Julian Rose (87th 21.57), Phil Hewitt (66th 21.18), Scott Smith (73rd 23.16), Robert Hinchliffe-Smith (73rd 23.09), Dan Shaw (76th 23.42) and Alistair Langron (70th 21.23).

This was a creditable performance by Holmfirth, including two teenagers, and the strength of the club was further demonstrated by another six men providing a C team which finished 101st (2-30.56), with Ricky South (109th 23.59), Kai Sunman (97th 22.22), Eddie Hinchliffe-Smith (101st 25.03), Shaun Coggon (102nd 26.27), Jake Richardson (102nd 25.41) and Keelan Serjeant (101st 27.24).

The winning men’s team was Stockport Harriers & AC in 1-52.09. Leeds City were second (1-53.02) and Sale Harriers Manchester third in 1-54.59.

The women’s event featured 77 runners and first off for the Holmfirth was Ladies’ Captain, Helen Berry, with a strong and consistent run returning in 10th place in 23.03.

Holmfirth Harriers Ladies teams Northern 4 stage RRs 2014 at Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships
 

Maggie Sykes had a superb run on Leg 2, picking up three places in 23.26. Claire Leaver put in a gutsy performance, dropping just one place in 24.22 and, with Helen Fines maintaining the team position of eighth in 23.33, the Holmfirth quartet clocked a total time of 1-34.24.

The B team (with their finishing position and time in brackets), which included two athletes who have just moved up to the senior level, put in a fine performance to finish 34th (1-44.42) out of 68 teams. The team was Lucy Farquhar (41st 25.18), Ruby Sykes (30th 25.32), Sophie Spencer (35th 27.41) and Liz Woodfield (34th 26.11).

The women also fielded a third team which finished 59th (1-58.17) with Yvette Arthur (69th 27.53), Emma Serjeant (64th 30.17), Dinah Coggon (58th 28.49) and Jo Bailey-Taylor (59th 31.18).

The highlight of the junior races was the Under 17 Men finishing seventh.

Lavell Pierre had a strong first leg (10.43) to put the team into sixth. Alex Robinson took over and ran well (11.33) before passing on to Chris Law (11.01) for the final leg. The second team also ran strongly with Aaron Kettlewell (11.16), Lewis Bartholomew (12.05) and Seth Waterman (11.37) finishing 21st.

In the Under 13 Boys, Sam Bedingfield clocked 12.00, Archie Hall (13.57) and Ned Johnson (12.26) to make Holmfirth 25th.

The Under 15 Girls’ of Annie Stone (12.23), Ellie Sunman (12.49) and Amy Kettlewell (13.29) were 22nd.

Under 15 Boys were 29th with Harry Shelbourne (10.40), William Johnson (12.39) and Ollie Rees (11.35).

In the Under 13 Girls, Sophie Kettlewell clocked 14.53 and Alice Shelbourne 14.39.

Daisy Smith recorded 17.48 in the Under 17 Women.