Leeds City AC retained their Northern 12-Stage Road Relay title at Heaton Park . Pre-race favourites Leeds enjoyed a three minutes five second winning advantage over runners-up Stockport with annual Northern challengers, Morpeth Harriers, in third.
A fifth title in seven years, including a unique success at Sutton Park in 2013 after adverse weather caused the Northerns to be c
ancelled, was hardly ever in doubt.
Dominic Easter (15 mins 50) propelled Leeds in front after stage four and the defending champions were never headed again. It was left to
Scottish international steeplechaser, Stephen Lisgo (15:06) to anchor Leeds to their latest triumph. “It was nice to put the icing on the cake to all the hard work the lads did over 11 laps,” said Lisgo, a Leeds based PE teacher. “We were horribly far in front and Stockport had played all their cards for me to mess it up. “It was remarkalbly hilly in the first half of the course. That’s why it was fortunate I was in the lead. “I imagine if you were going hammer and tongue next to someone it would have been horrible,” said Lisgo who brought Leeds home in 4:22.29.
Leeds team manager, Simon Deakin, said:”It was good to win by a comfortable distance but we were pushed hard. “Stockport are a good team and they have improved a lot. About halfway it was still in the balance but we had a good second half and the guys ran some really solid legs on their own which is never easy.”
Stockport were seventh after four stages but a rapid run by Steve Vernon on leg five lifted the Woodbank Park club upto second. National cross country champion Vernon covered the 4.9 miles long stage in 27:20 (according to results) and with Stockport’s other big guns following on they kept up the pressure on Leeds.
Morpeth, who included recent Trafford 10K road race winner, Nick McCormick, in their ranks were comfortable in third from Greater Manchester challengers, Salford and Sale.McCormick’s run of 14:16 was the fastest for the 2.8 miles short stage.
1st Leeds City A.C. 4:22:29, 2nd Stockport H & AC 4:25:34, 3rd Morpeth 4:27:31
Fastest Short leg
1 Nick McCormick, Morpeth Ha A 14:16, 2 Andrew Heyes, Hallamshire 14:27, 3 Ross Millington, Stockport 14:28
Fastest Long Leg
1 Steve Vernon, Stockport 27.20, 2 Tom Lancashire, Bolton A 27:28, 3 Richard Weir, Derby AC 27:32
Report Trevor Baxter (Manchester Evening News)