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Tonbridge AC national relay champions

Tonbridge and Aldershot claim road titles

Exciting conclusions to national road relay in Sutton Park

Relays are always exciting. The pressure on each athlete is ramped up by the team spirit as clubmates who have finished their contribution and those yet to run are out on the furthest points of the course to add their verbal encouragement.

On Saturday (8th October) the best clubs in England gathered at Birmingham's vast Sutton Park – the traditional home for the English Road Running Association National Road Relay Championships that always bookend the summer season.

The senior women's race, over four legs of 4.315km, was won for the very first time by Tonbridge AC (pictured above). Lincoln Wellington AC were first on the opening stage and the eventual gold medal winners had plenty to do before claiming their awards. At halfway it was still Lincoln Wellington leading with Salford Harriers moving ahead on leg three. The final stage saw Tonbridge sweep past Salford as defending champions Aldershot came through for bronze at the expense of Lincoln. 

Amelia Quirk (Bracknell, 13:38) was comfortably the fastest athlete overall from Abbie Donnelly (Lincoln Wellington, 14:00) and Jess Judd (Blackburn Harriers, 14:02).

The senior men's race (6 x 5.847km) ran to form as the holders Aldershot, Farnham and District retained their trophy from last year's runners-up Leeds City. Early leaders Cambridge & Coleridge AC had to settle for third. Aldershot led on the second stage; Leeds at halfway; Cambridge for the next two legs and then the stage was set for a thrilling finale as Jack Rowe sealed the deal for Aldershot by five seconds with the fastest lap (16:39). The next best times were set by Will Barnicoat (Aldershot, 16:50) and Phil Sesemann (Leeds, 16:53) – despite his 2:12:10 PB in the London Marathon six days earlier!

The Autumn National Road Relay Championship also includes races for young athletes in a full programme and the team winners and fastest individual times were:

U13 Boys – Wolverhampton & Bilston. Fastest: Fred Jones (Wolverhampton & Bilston, 12:22)
U13 Girls – Aldershot. Fastest: Jasmin Christmas (Cambridge & Coleridge, 13:38)
U15 Boys – Sutton & District. Fastest: Owen Ulfig (Wolverhampton & Bilston, 11:55)
U15 Girls – Wreake & Soar Valley. Fastest: Isla McGowan (Banbury)/Katie Pye (Aldershot) 13:15
U17 Men – Cambridge & Coleridge. Fastest: Isaac Morris (Cambridge & Coleridge, 11:36)
U17 Women – Exeter Harriers. Fastest: Innes Fitzgerald (Exeter Harriers, 12:08)

Full results at race-results.co.uk here

Image of Tonbridge AC senior women courtesy of Mark Hookway

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