National Road Relays, 9th April – race report

Last weekend the Harriers took a women’s team to the National Road Relays at Sutton Park. Unfortunately, the men hadn’t qualified from the Northern regional event two weeks previously, where only the first 25 teams qualify, though the women do not need to qualify.  Entries for both races were down on previous years, with only 53 men’s teams finishing (yet 25 from each of 3 regions qualify) and 25 complete women’s teams, down almost 50% on 2019 when the event was last run!

The six stages of the women’s race are run over two long legs, 5.38 miles, and four short legs, 3.16 miles.

Lucy Byram led the team off on the first long leg, sitting just behind the leading group for the first mile or so before settling down to return in 17th place (33.18). In-form Helena Croft ran strongly on the first of the short legs, handing over in 15th place (19:59) to Amy Smith who dropped just three places (22:25).

Julia Jagger, more used to shorter distances on the track, put in a great performance on the second long leg, picking up one place to handover in 17th (33:39).  Olivia Dyson picked up a further place on leg 5 (23:28) but with no other runners available to race, injured Ladies’ Captain, Helen Haigh, took a very steady jog round the final leg to ensure Holmfirth finished a complete team result in 22nd team.

The race was won by Salford Harriers, with Eleanor Bolton of the same club clocking the fastest long leg (29:40). Gemma Steel of Charnwood recorded the fastest short leg (17:17).  The men’s race was won by Tonbridge, who overtook leaders Highgate on the final leg, and having moved up from 23rd position on leg 1!

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