Birchfield Harriers finish fourth at Relay Championships

Birchfield Harriers Ladies narrowly missed out on the podium at the National Road Relay Championship at Sutton Park.

birch
Runners at the National Road Relay Championships on Sunday. Photo by William Hollingshead

The team finished 23 seconds behind third placed Bristol and West as Aldershot Farnham and District won, ahead Swansea Hurricanes.

Sara Treacy, Geraldine Taylor, Stacey Johnson, Sian Kahn and Catherine Blew clocked an overall time of one hour 32 minutes and 36 seconds on Sunday.

Problems with the running surface meant the race distance being reduced to 2.69m in the short lap and 5.08m in the long; the same as last month’s Midland Relays.

Treacy finished second in the opening stage in 14mins 22s to claim the fifth fastest lap of the day.

She said: “I felt really tired coming up the first hill but after that I really got into it but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with Laura, the girl who came first.

“I just tried to make it up the hill as comfortably as possible but then the rest of the pack caught up with me so I just ran with them and then pushed on towards the end of the lap.

“We have quite a strong team, there’s not many clubs that will be as strong as us so hopefully we can get a medal out of it.”

A team debutant Taylor clocked a time of 17mins 38s and Johnson finished in 15mins one second, bettering her previous time by 19 seconds and overtaking 11 fellow athletes.

Battling with fitness Kahn 15mins 44s moving the Stags up to ninth before Stevens ran a time of 15mins 18s.

Blew then clawed back the deficit to bring the team home in fourth. She ran the final leg in a time of 14mins 23s.

Despite the efforts of the team falling just short of a medal Blews was more than happy with the team’s performance.

“I felt strong in my leg, it’s hard as we weren’t in a great position as I came into the leg but I think I caught a few vests,” she said.

“The girls did really well, we did the best we could do after losing people prior to the race, and the girls that stepped up did really well especially when you’re not used to it because it’s a lot of pressure.”

Meanwhile the 12-strong men’s team claimed 32nd spot in four hours 18 minutes and 16 seconds with only seven of the team who competed in last month’s Midlands Relays.

Oliver Teasel started well running a time of 27mins 45s, an impressive one minute 11 seconds faster than his run in March.

The five that didn’t feature last month; Osman Omer (13mins 36s), Simon McNamee (30mins 36s), Nick Hardy (13mins 32s), Mike Morley (29mins two seconds) and Andrew Kaar (28mins 37s) all played their part in ensuring the Stags remained competitive throughout.

Yousf Al-Lathaa ran a time of 13mins 36s and Jonathan Goringe finished in 14mins 25s

Abdi Abdi was timed at 13mins 43s before Lewis Morley ran a time of 16mins four seconds. Theo Blundell pulled the team home with a run of 14mins 17s in the final stage.

Team manager Peter Dimbleby who was running on marathon legs along with Morley ahead of the London, Boston and Nashville marathons over the next couple of weeks managed a time of 29mins 13s in the seventh stage.

By Kieran Doody