Relay Good Show!
On Saturday 20th March, three Harborough AC Road Relay Teams showed good early road-season promise that the recent Cross Country success enjoyed by the club could well be replicated over the tarmac. The Midland Road Relays, held at Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield, are usually seen as something of a curtain-raiser to the summer road racing campaign, offering a strong indication of the potential that the next few months could herald. In that vein, and if this year’s event is anything to go by, the forthcoming season could well be one to savour! Essentially an ever-present through the history of the race, Harborough AC’s Men’s Team continued their role as a veritable model of consistency, once again cementing qualification for the National Relay race in three weeks’ time, in an overall time of 4 hours 40 minutes and 57seconds, for 25th position on the day. Pitted against household-recognised clubs such as Birchfield Harriers, Bristol & West, Tipton Harriers, and Coventry Godiva, the Team was led off by Will Clapp who, fresh from a very impressive Cross Country winter, covered the longer, 5.6 mile route, in 30:13. He then handed over to the returning Dan Worley, for whom University is clearly having a far from negative impact on his running, as he clocked the Club’s fastest short leg (2.995 miles), coming home in 16:53 having travelled all the way down from Chester. Next up was Adam Brooks, who ran a solid leg to consolidate a place in the upper half of the field, in 18:07 (short leg). The rest of the Team was: Martin Gore, 32:07 (long leg); Howard Crabtree, 19:45 (short leg) – a notable return following a long-term knee injury; Graeme Rolfe, 20:11 (short leg); a rejuvenated Scott Speller, 32:53 (long leg); Steve Costall, 18:46 (short leg); Richard Brown, 20:03 (short leg); Richard Bufton, 34:17 (long leg); Ady King, 18:39 (short leg), stepping in at short notice after having been at work since 3:30am that morning; before Matt Driver, 19:03 (short leg), brought the team back in 25th place, picking up one place despite running the course in spikes!
In the Women’s Six Stage version, the Club will also have the chance to take part in the National equivalent after echoing the Men’s team finishing position, thanks to the exploits of Hannah Eveleigh (18:54), Karen Brooks (20:05), Hazel Buswell 24:20, Linda Lawton 25:49, Unity Hamilton-Harding 22:52, and Lin Farrow 25:52. Again, the ability shown by the Women’s Team to perform was clearly on show, with both Hannah Eveleigh and Karen Brooks running Personal Bests for the course, while Hazel Buswell performed excellently on her Team debut for the Club.
In the Six Stage Veteran’s Race, the Men’s Team also gave some encouraging performances, with Sean Maxwell proving that his training for the London Marathon is well on track on his Team debut, while former international Dick Callan recorded the ninth quickest time on his Leg.
After the race, Men’s Team Captain Rick Brown acclaimed the strength in depth of the Club, noting how “the whole Team really rose to the occasion, stepping up following some relatively late withdrawals. To qualify for the National event again is a tremendous achievement, and just goes to show how much quality runs through the Club”.
Elsewhere, two Club members represented Leicestershire in the Aviva English Schools Cross Country Championships, at Manchester’s Heaton Park. In the Intermediate Girls race, held over 4km, Emily Taylor followed up a very solid display in the National Championships, finishing 237th in 16:04, while Jessica Edge came 261st in the Senior Girls race, clocking 21:20 for the 4.5km route.
In addition, a number of HAC Members took part in the Sport Relief races on Sunday 21st March on a lovely spring afternoon; with Will Clapp taking first place in the six mile event.