Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships, Birkenhead Park – 25th March 2018

Date/venue: Sunday 25th March, Birkenhead Park

Molly Scaramuzza NRRS 2018

After recent weeks of wintery weather, Holmfirth Harriers athletes and supporters were blessed with a beautiful spring day for the Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships.

An event was also held for the juniors which was a straight 5km race and for Holmfirth’s successful Under 15 girls, the trip was worthwhile when they finished a very impressive 4th team. The girls packed well, with Zara Tyas in 19th, Olivia Dyson in 20th and Mollie Scaramuzza in 21st.

The senior relays consisted of 12 legs for the men (4 x 8km and 8 x 4km) and 6 for the women (2 x 8km and 4 x 4km). With both races running simultaneously, it made a great spectacle for supporters, and the Holmfirth club had two men’s and one women’s team entered. It is a crucial qualifier for the men because only the first 25 ‘A’ teams can enter the National Road Relays at Sutton Park in April to compete against the Midlands and Southern qualifying clubs. Holmfirth have managed to qualify for the last 20 years, but has often been a close call in such tough competition.

Ruby Sykes NRRS 2018

With illness and injury taking its usual toll, the A team was packed with our younger athletes. Kai Sunman took on the challenge of the first long leg, running well to come back in 37th (26.26). Harry Shelbourne pulled back to 36th on leg two, the first short leg (13.29). Tim Street on three, another long leg, slipped back to 39th against some stiff opposition. Niall O’Connell, back from University had a good run on four gaining three places to 36th (13.18). Leg five was the third long leg and vet 50  Mike Fanning took over. Normally more at home on the fells Mike still ran well to hang on to 36th (27.30). Alex Robinson on six started the charge back up the field, pulling back four places to 32nd (12.25). Leg seven was the last long leg with another vet, Steve Green taking it on. Steve gained another place, 31st, in 26.36. It was all short legs from now on, with Philip Hewitt on eight running well with another four places in the bag. 27th (12.59). On nine Ted Chamberlain had a fast run, holding 27th (12.33). Aaron Kettlewell had the team’s fastest short leg of the day on ten, getting us up to our final finishing position of 24th (11.59). Lavell Pierre on eleven, 24th, (12.54) and Chris Beadle on twelve, 24th, (14.22), completed the team.

NRRS 2018

The B team finished 51st, with Clark Hind, 42nd, (27.10), with the benefit of his marathon training, having an excellent run on the first long leg actually running faster than two of the A team. The team was cobbled together almost at the last minute, with people being enlisted who weren’t expecting it, so it was to all their credit that we completed a team. On two, Damian McQueen, 47th, (14.58). Three, Jonathon Sykes, 52nd, (29.25). Four, Karl Dransfield, 50th, (14.36). five, Edward Pritchard, 52nd, (28.51). Six, Craig Sheard, 51st, (15.28). Seven, Mark Law, 52nd, (30.38). Eight, Juan Biurrun, 52nd, (15.15). Nine, Andy Shelbourne, 52nd, (15.04). Ten, Alistair Langron, 52nd, (15.09). Eleven Michael Coggon, 52nd, (16.21). Twelve, Rob Kersey, 51st, (16.45).

The women’s team, even though not at its strongest, delivered an excellent result in 15th out of 47 complete teams. Claire Leaver-Hewitt put in a solid performance on the first leg to handover in 23rd (30:54).  Ruby Sykes tired early on leg 2, but still managed to pick up five places (14:23). Margaret Sykes, enjoying a return to racing after a broken arm, gained a further two places (15:03) handing over to Helena Croft in 16th. Helena took on the long leg as part of her preparation for the London Marathon next month. She dropped a couple of places, returning in 18th (33:04). The consistent training has been paying off for Zoe Storr as she overtook three athletes on the penultimate leg (15:52) and the Vet Lesley Ewart demonstrated her ability to race amongst the youngsters, holding the team position of 15th (16:28).

NRRS 2018

The women’s race was won by Leeds City, with their 3rd leg runner, GB international Claire Duck clocking the fastest short leg in 12:33. 

The teams will be out racing again at the Yorkshire Road Relays at the Brownlee Centre in Leeds on 7th April, before competing at the National Road Relays the following week.


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