Combined Autumn Relays at Sportcity, Saturday 16th September 2017
For the second successive year, Sportcity hosted this championship event around a traffic free course on the Etihad campus. The facility has excellent parking and spectator facilities. With the start and finish on the track, this created an excellent atmosphere for everyone.
A huge field of 127 athletes lined up. Starter David Brown got them away on time and despite the high numbers, there were no fallers at the start. The 6.4k, 2-lap course took the leading group back to the track in just over 19.5 minutes.
Lincoln Wellington athlete, Aaron Scott, moved his team up into the lead with a time of 19.50. The major changes here saw Morpeth athlete, Carl Avery, move the team up 10 places into 2nd spot, whilst Jack Morris pulled Stockport Harriers up some 30 places with the fastest time of this leg and of the event, 19.10. Another big move was from Liverpool Harriers’ David Devine, moving the team up 17 places into 8th.
Lincoln Wellington remained in 1st place and were starting to show their intent. Richard Burney moved Liverpool Harriers up 4 places. The 3 big movers of this leg were Stockport, with Patrick Martin (19.36) up 17 places, Richard Weir, Derby (19.20) up 18 places and William Strangeway, Lincoln Wellington B (20.11) up 10 places.
Lincoln Wellington showed both desire and team strength by retaining the lead, in the form of James Straw in a time of 19.57. Liverpool Harriers remained in the top 3 with Dejene Gezimu posting the fastest time on this stage of 19.38. Ominously close behind was Morpeth’s legendary Ian Hudspith in the 2nd fastest time of the stage, 19.43, pulling the team back up 10 places.
Another Straw, this time Tom, maintained Lincoln Wellington’s stranglehold on the trophy with the fastest time of the stage, 19.39. Liverpool Harriers and Morpeth also remained in contention, but more than 2 minutes behind behind the dominant leaders.
It was left to Lincoln Wellington’s Joe Wilkinson to run the glory leg in the 2nd fastest time of this stage, 19.40, whilst Ben Fish of Blackburn pulled his team up 4 places with the fastest leg 6 time of 19.25.
Medals were presented by two of the sport’s legends, Steve Kenyon and Alwyn Dewhurst.
There were 114 complete teams that initially finished, although some were subsequently disqualified.
1st. Lincoln Wellington AC, 1:58.32
2nd. Liverpool Harriers & AC, 2:00.38
3rd. Morpeth Harriers & AC, 2:02.15
4th. Derby AC
5th. Tyne Bridge Harriers
6th. Preston Harriers
1. Jack Morris, Stockport Harriers 19.10
2. Richard Weir, Derby AC 19.20
3. Ben Fish, Blackburn Harriers, 19.26
Report Ken Smith
Photos Dave Greenwood & Eileen Ingham