Both Leamington C&AC and Kenilworth Runners’ men finished inside the top 25 at the Midlands Counties Spring Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park to qualify for next month’s Nationals.
The event went ahead despite an amber weather warning though team numbers were down due to a clash with several marathon training-specific races - many of which did not go ahead in the end.
First off for Leamington in the men’s 12-stage relay, running a long stage of 5.38 miles, was Paul Andrew.
This stage is where all the clubs put their fastest runners and Andrew was always in contention, bringing the team home in 29min 6sec for 11th place.
Continuing his recent improvements over the cross-country season, Callum Hanlon ran the 14th fastest long stage of the day of 28:01 to move the club up to fourth.
Jamie Langley, one of several C&AC runners who live out of the region, again showed that he can compete with the best by running 31:12 (7th) before Bill Andreoulakis completed the last long stage in 32:10 to leave the club in 11th.
The following eight stages were run over a shorter distance of 3.165 miles and Charlie Eastaugh, who now lives in London, made a fine return to the red, white and blue with the 19th fastest short stage time of the day and a Leamington club record of 16:37 to move the team back into the top ten.
Charlie Staveley (18:22) lifted them one spot to eighth and Dean Mawby (18:18) maintained the high position.
Club debutant Kevin Walpole ran 20:27 (12th), with training partners Paolo Foglino (20:40) and Simon Perkin (20:21) both knocking more than half a minute off their best times.
The team were completed by John Knibb’s 19:40 (16th) and Craig Bower (20:26) for a final placing of 18th in a team total of 4:35:20.
The men’s event was won by Bristol & West AC in 4:02:05.
Kenilworth Runners’ A team finished 22nd of the 43 completed teams, with Andrew Siggers running their fastest short leg of 29:24 and Stanley Doxey logging the quickest short leg of 17:49.
Kenilworth also fielded an incomplete B team, with eight runners taking part.
A team: Long leg: Andy Crabtree (30:46); George Crawford (30:44); Andrew Siggers (29:24); Stuart Hopkins (31:57). Short leg: Stanley Doxey (17:49); Peter Bryan (20:02); Chris Lyons (20:52); Richard Broadbent (20:47); Nick Lawrence (19:53); Ian Baynes (20:45); Stewart Underhill (20:15); Wayne Briggs (19:15). B team: Long leg: Stan Alexander (39:14 ); Craig Phillips (40:01); Chris Luntley (48:56); Tom Dable (51:56);. Short leg: Tom Williams (23:10); Colin Bailey (21:58); Mark Alldritt (21:04); Stephen Chalkley (22:29).
In the ladies’ six-stage relays, Leamington C&AC finished eighth in 2:40:06, knocking more than three-and-a-half minutes off the club’s previous best time.
The first and third stages were over the longer distance and international master Monica Williamson judged her run to perfection to clock 35:04 and hand over to Jade Holt in ninth position.
Holt completed the shorter stage in 20:43 (10th).
Zara Blower, a C&AC stalwart despite having to drive nearly two hours to get to the venue, clocked 36:28 (9th), with Eve Walpole (22:56) maintaining the position.
Saffia Del Torre, making her first appearance at the relays, ran strongly for 21:43 (9th) and the team were brought home by marathoner Courtney Thornberry’s 23:12 for a final position of eighth.
With several ladies absent due to injury, Kenilworth Runners finish 20th of the 45 teams.
Shani Samarasekera (39:03) and Rachel Kerr (39:24) ran their long legs, with Bella Doxey (22:51), Lesley Mellor (22:51), Stef Lunn (23:07) and Pauline Dable (31:27) completing the Kenilworth sextet.
The ladies’ race was won by Birchfield Harriers in a time of 2:14:27.