HOLMFIRTH HARRIERS’ top endurance athletes were in action in the Nike Senior Men’s 12-stage and Women’s six-stage National Road Relay Championships.
Held in Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, the Men’s event which first used this course in 1970 consists of 12 legs with six long legs of 5.38 miles alternating with six short legs of 2.9miles.
The ladies event which began in 2000 is over six stages of 2.9miles.
Over the years many of the greats of British distance running have run epic legs with former 5,000m World record holder, Dave Moorcroft, of Coventry Godiva Harriers, still holding the long stage record of 24 minutes 27 seconds set in 1982.
In the Men’s event 69 teams started and Holmfirth’s team was a mixture of youth and experience.
Richard Anderson ran a storming first leg bringing the team home in 35th place in a time of 27.59.
Mark Buckingham moved the team up 12 places on the second stage to 23rd.
He was involved in a battle throughout the leg with James Shore, the UK 1500m champion and recorded a time of 14.23.
Paul Smith faced some very talented athletes on stage three and eventually slipped back to 34th, but he still recorded a good time of 30.15.
Thomas Traviss-Pollard ran well on stage four, gaining two places with his 15.42 return.
On the next long stage Richard Smith moved the team up to 30th and his time of 29.03 saw a massive improvement on previous efforts on the course.
John Ewart, the old stalwart of the team, ran extremely well to hold on to 30th place as the team reached the halfway stage.
Max Kaye, just returned from warm weather training in Portugal held his form well throughout stage seven, gaining a place with his 28.40 return.
Geoff Hall, another experienced veteran ran 18.07 on stage eight and had to give way to some younger legs as the team moved back to 32nd.
Matthew Johnson, off some limited training owing to exam commitments, still ran 30.39 on stage nine only losing one place.
Jared Croft, always a great team player ran 18.48 on the next short leg returning home in 36th place.
The last long stage saw Jan Durr experiencing his first National Road Relay, slipping back a further four places to 40th with a 32.38 effort. Jan ran well having to move up from a short stage late in the week to cover for a team member who was ill.
Finally Marwan Khoueiry continues to improve and his 19.12 return saw the team hold on to 40th place with a time of 4hours 43mins 11secs.
The race was won by Tipton Harriers in 4.10.17.
In the women’s event 51 teams started. Katie Walshaw ran a great first leg to bring the team back in eighth place with her time of 17.05 being a 32 second improvement on her 2011 effort.
Kathy Farquhar came up against lots of younger athletes on stage two, but she held her form together well, just losing six places with her 18.30s return.
Claire Leaver continues to run well moving the team up to 13th with her 18.35 effort.
Cara Penfold, despite slipping back to 19th showed a 42-second improvement on her previous attempt on this course recording a time of 21.05.
On stage five, Aideen Farrell, making her debut in this event ran well to record 21.15. only losing four places in the process.
Claire Ash ran to form with her 21mins 16secs return to bring the team home in 23rd place in 1.57.46.
The winners of the race were Aldershot Farnham and District AC with a time of 1.3630.