Men’s Bronze at the Northern 6/4 Stage Road Relays, Birkenhead 24th September
Hallamshire returned to the same venue as the 12/6 stage relays in 2022 hoping to repeat the results which gave the men’s team bronze and women’s silver.
For the Men’s A team, the opening salvo came in the form of James McCrae who, being an Everton fan, is unaccustomed to the idea of fighting for silverware on Merseyside. Nonetheless James put in a sterling performance, completing the 5.08 km lap in 14:57 to bring the team through in 9th position. He handed over to Andy Heyes who, despite being in the middle of his 20 mile long run, was still able to record the 5th fastest time of the day in 14:27 to bring us up to 2nd – much to the surprise of the third leg runner, Jamie Hall, whose comments when he was called to the start line did not make the editors cut for this article. Despite having to battle it out with Rory Leonard and Jonny Mellor, Jamie put in a terrific performance, finishing with a very respectable time of 15:15. Next up was club stalwart Bertie Houghton who fresh from his sub 15 at Mid Chesire in August kept our position to finish in 15:19 and hand over to Jed Bartlett with two legs left to run. In a hugely competitive race, Jed was able to bring the gap to medals down from 30 seconds to just 5 going into the last leg. At this point previous Hallamshire teams have relied upon the magic of a certain Euan Brown to bring home the bacon, but with Euan otherwise engaged, it was left to Tommy Power to attempt to bring home the vegan bacon. With the race so finely poised Tommy bridged the gap to the bronze medal within the first kilometre, and then – using his cycling background – spent the next two drafting behind them before launching a devastating attack to secure bronze with a time of 14:54.
The Men’s B team was trying to make it three years in a row of qualifying two teams for the nationals. Fresh from a sub 15 performance at Mid Chesire, Toby Antcliff put in a quality performance on the opening leg to run 15:36. He handed over to Connor Milnes who despite having a long layoff this summer got round in a very respectable time of 16:41. He handed over to David Lewis who ran 15:42 in his opening race of the season. Next up was club captain Craig Fishwick who also put down a good marker in his return to fitness with 18:01. Also coming off the back of an impressive run at Mid Chesire, Josh Panthradil completed the 5th leg in 17:33 to hand over to the new Hallamshire website wizard, Luke Townsend. Despite being in the middle of a half marathon training block, Luke ran a very gutsy race to finish in 17:16 to bring the team home in 42nd.
Despite only having one women’s team entered we were not short of quality in it! Lauren Heyes led us off and came back comfortably in first position, running the fastest time of day in 16:13. She handed over to Cat Allen who put in a great performance, running 18:54. After her was Shen Wigfield-Turner who put in another strong performance running 17:48. This left us in 4th position with one leg left to run and who better to turn to than Hallamshire’s new Head Coach, Nic Squires, who used all her experience to hold off fast finishing opponents and maintain our position, running 18:31.
With 3rd and 4th place finishes along with the fastest women’s leg off the day a good time was had by all on the Mersey. Huge thanks must go to road captains Charlotte Slack and Matt Craig for entering and organising the teams. Margaret Lewis’s photos for the race can be found by using the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/193954013@N05/albums/72177720311455218
We must now take this momentum into the National Road Relays next week, and Cross-Country season. I would strongly encourage everyone to sign up for both the Northern and National cross relays – both of which are held locally in Graves Park and Berry Hill Park Mansfield respectively – as well as the South Yorkshire XC League, and to get in touch with our cross captains Charlotte Slack and Jed Bartlett if you have any questions on anything.
Look forward to seeing everyone working well and getting involved with training over the next few months,