Northern Athletics 12 & 6 Stage Road Relay and Young Athletes 5k Championships.

On Saturday 23rd March, a team of 24 intrepid Amber warriors crossed over the Pennines to Wythenshawe Park in Manchester to represent the Club at the Northern Athletics 12 & 6 Stage Road Relay and Young Athletes 5k Championships.

Consisting of long legs of 8k and shorter legs of 4.5k for the relays and 5k for the young athletes, the race meeting brings out the best athletes from Clubs across the North.

Starting with the 5k, this championship is a real highlight of the distance running calendar and can be seen by the incredibly high standard of competition. We entered 6 junior athletes into the races to give them the opportunity to gain valuable experience, testing themselves against the best and continuing their athletic development.

First up was Stan Quarmby-Crick in the under-15 boy’s race. Stan has only started coming down to the club over the last few months and has already competed for us on the cross country. This was the first time he had raced the 5km distance. He ran a well-paced race and finished the race in 21.14 – an excellent time given his inexperience and limited time training. He now has a benchmark to aim to beat next time.

Next up was the under 15 girl’s race. Representing the club, we had 3 athletes which meant we were in with a chance of winning a team prize. Eleanor Walker, who transferred to us earlier this year from Denby Dale, was first home in 18th place with a time of 21.54 – just outside her PB. Next home for us was Isobel Coulson, always willing to turn out for her club and race. She finished with a new PB for the distance of 22.24 in 20th place. Alice Parry, the youngest and least experienced of three, completed the team coming home in 23rd place with a time of 23.7 establishing a PB in her debut at this distance. As a result of their efforts, they achieved a great result in the prizes by coming second team and collecting silver medals. This is a tremendous achievement by the girls and greatly deserved given how committed they have been to their training over the winter.

Finally, in the under-17 men’s race, we had two athletes. First home was Sam Williams, another who is keen to represent his club over any terrain, who came 30th with a new PB of 17.25. He was followed home by Harry Gilligan, making a welcome to return to racing for his club, in 42nd place with a time of 19.07.

Overall, a really good performance by our juniors as they continue their journey in athletics and progress towards the senior ranks.

The ladies, who started at 12.15 pm had a fantastic race against the best teams in the North and finished a superb 15th out of 50 teams.

The team was made up of 6 runners racing 2 long legs and 4 short legs.

First off on a long leg was Katie Walshaw, giving the team a very strong start and coming back in 15th place in a time of 29.45. Next to run, on a shorter leg, was Julia Jagger who stormed around in her first race for a while in a fantastic time of 16.49, gaining one place. On leg 3, Claire Leaver-Hewitt gained another place, handing over in 13th after a brilliant time of 18.13.

Helena Croft, on leg 4 and the 2nd long leg of the day, ran strongly to maintain 13th position and post a time of 30.42. Sophie Cromwell was up next on the shorter 5th leg and, after stepping in even though she was planning on doing Wakefield 10k the next day, ran a cracking leg in a time of 19.55.

The team was anchored by Liz Woodfield running the shorter leg in another cracking time of 19.58 to complete an amazing run by the team to finish in a fantastic 15th position in a time of 2 hours 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

Leg 1 (L) – Katie Walshaw              29.45

Leg 2 (S) – Julia Jagger                   16.49

Leg 3 (S) – Claire Leaver-Hewitt   18.13

Leg 4 (L) – Helena Croft                 30.42

Leg 5 (S) – Sophie Cromwell          19.55

Leg 6 (S) – Liz Woodfield               19.58

The men’s team skippered by Michael Sanderson, who sadly couldn’t make it on the day, needs immense credit for organising the team and ensuring the Club was represented at this prestigious event; no mean feat getting 12 runners together on what had become a very busy race weekend.

To the race itself and firstly the weather, talk about four seasons in one day; rain, hail, wind, and sun, that was just the first half hour, led to a road race which was more akin to cross country fixture, I am sure there were many a good pair of road shoes spoiled.

I wonder if there is a term for a group of harriers sheltering under one of the smallest umbrellas ever made, we looked like penguins huddled together, maybe we can call it team building!!

Neil Dutton did a tremendous job administrating the numbers and continuously being on hand to not only dish them out but also manage the junior teams and run one of the legs too, a tremendous effort after quite a lengthy layoff from racing.

The race started at noon and with a target time of 4 hours 7 minutes and 15 seconds set by the Skipper, Patrick Needham led the Amber charge and returned the fastest long leg of the day for the Club in 27.46. Equally impressive was Ted Chamberlain on Leg 2 whose 13.41 for the short leg was the fourth quickest and up there with the quickest times of the day. Every team member played their part which culminated in a very creditable 43rd position overall in a time of 4hrs 12 minutes and 49 seconds.

I speak for everyone in that had it not been for the headwind on the return to the track Skipper, we would have smashed the target time!!!

Leg 1 (L) – Patrick Needham       27:46

Leg 2 (S) – Ted Chamberlain       13:41

Leg 3 (L) – Tim Brook                   28:42

Leg 4 (S) – Gary Graham              16:54

Leg 5 (L) – Jared Watt                  29:23

Leg 6 (S) – Philip Hewitt              16:43

Leg 7 (L) – James Washington    29:45

Leg 8 (S) – Neil Dutton                 18:08

Leg 9 (S) – Julian Rose                 17:42

Leg 10 (S) – Adam Sunderland   17:14

Leg 11 (S) – Kevin Dessoy             17:53

Leg 12 (S) – Gary Putnam             18:52

Congratulations to the whole team who participated and our sincere gratitude to everyone for representing the Club at this event. We are very aware that many athletes were doubling up races over the weekend or racing for the first time in a long time and your commitment to the Club is very much appreciated.

Alice Parry, Eleanor Walker, Isobel Coulson

Katie, Walshaw, Helena Croft, Liz Woodfield, Julia Jagger, Sophie Cromwell

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