This past weekend (Sept 21st & 22nd) has seen another great weekend of running by the Wells City Harrier squad at the South of England Road Relays held at Rushmoor Arena, Aldershot. Headlines were taken by the u13 girls A team that gained silver medals for 2nd place, whilst the u17men finished a great 6th and the men’s V40 team were 5th when they competed on the Sunday.
The event draws together the best teams from Clubs from across the region from Cornwall to Norfolk with all races taking part on a traffic-free circuit around one of the old army parade grounds. Conditions were good, though slightly humid, on the Saturday when the juniors and women’s races took place and equally good on the Sunday when the senior men and veteran men raced.There were well over 50 members of the Harriers out competing over the two days, supported by parents and team managers. The Wells trained athletes were once again bolstered by the Yeovil trained athletes.
First up on the Saturday morning were the u13 girls on a 2.3km circuit. We had two teams of three competing, consisting up of four athletes who had raced last year and two new to the event. The pattern was set for all the Harrier juniors throughout the morning by those who were racing for the 2nd time improving on their times from last year. The lead off runners for the two teams were Harriet Fox, competing for the 3rd time here, and Connie Little for the B team, brought in as late reserve. Harriet improved on her time from last year by exactly a minute bringing the A team home in 11th place but within reach of all ahead. Harriet’s time was 8.42. Connie also improved on last year's time but not to the same extent and ran 9.52 handing over the team in 64th (out of 84 competing teams).
For the A team, Elise Thorner on the second leg improved her time by almost a minute with her 8.31 to bring the team home in 5th place, passing on to Elena Sidman competing for the Harriers for the first time. Elena showed great composure and concentration to steadily track down the athletes ahead of her and ran an excellent 8.21 to bring the team home in 2nd place overall for the silver medals. Meanwhile, Rachel Packard on 2nd leg for the B team had an excellent run for 9.49 to haul that team up to 55th overall before Jessica Cooksey took over on the 3rd leg and also improved greatly on last year to pass several other runners and bring the team home in overall 44th place. Jessica’s time was 9.08 (9.42 last year).
Harriet Fox, Elise Thorner and Elena Sidman were presented with their Southern England medals soon after the conclusion of the race, and no doubt are already thinking about future races to come. Well done to all six of the u13 girls.
The u13 boys squad of eight also had a great day out. The A team finished 12th, whilst the B team finished in 28th place out of the 55 teams that took part. Dylan Dukes led off for the A team with an 11.19 clocking for the 2.9km course before handing over to Luke Baker, running11.20, and then Niall Caley with 11.16 and anchored home by Luke Macpherson in 11.21.For the B team Chris Ellis ran 11.45, passing on to Will Pate home in 12.02, and the Will Lawrence 13.28 and Harrison Jones running hard for home in 11.15. Niall Caley, Luke Macpherson and Will Lawrence will be young enough to run in the same age group next year. Will Lawrence and Harrison Jones were making their debut in the Harrier vest and they did not seem out of place at all.
In the u15 girls races we again had two teams of three and managed a 31st and 67th position out of the 87 teams that started. Only two of the six runners had competed here before. For the A team, we had Lucy Baldwin running 11.56 on the first leg, handing over to Jess Morris, 12.15, and then Amy Darcy to bring the team home with 12.31.For the B team Natasha Jones ran 12.49, with Jodie Mitchell 15.02, and Kirsty Jenkins 12.56.
The u15 boys squad ended up being 1 runner short as only 7 of the 8 athletes were available. The A team finished in 23rd place and all four runners finished within 20 seconds of each other to be ever so consistent. Oliver Dickinson ran 10.36; Alex Williams 10.41; Bradley Seager 10.50; and James Bridge 10.55.The B team runners weren’t that far behind with their times either. Johnny Ellis was home in 11.08. Joe Heath in 11.51 and George Mallinson, making his debut for the team, finishing the circuit in 11.02. Bradley and Joe are at the younger end of the age group and will be able to run in this age group next year, but will have learnt a great deal fabout pace judgement rom their experience this year.
For the u17 women’s team Isobel Glaisher was making a return to competitive action after some time out of action having missed all of the track season, and she picked up where she left off from last season. Her last outing was finishing 13th in the English Schools Cross-country championships. Here she ran a very strong 10.23 for 2nd place on leg 1, just a stride behind the leader, who she had also finished just behind back in the cross-country season. Her time was 3rd best on the day from all the runners across the u17s on the day. Isobel handed over to Charlotte Baker who also ran a perfect race, maintaining 2nd place and running an excellent 11.09.
The u17s men’s team ran the slightly longer loop of 3.8km and performed extremely well made up of two at the upper end of the age group and two at the lower end. The ‘two juniors’ led off. Luke Prior ran the first leg with his 12.31 timing being good enough to hand the team over in 13th place, to Sam Sommerville who maintained pace and form with his 12.49, before handing on to Charlie Martin with a 13.44, and then finally Oliver Fox who literally ran down as many of the athletes ahead as he could, catching 7 other teams and bringing the Harriers up to 6th, just a few strides behind 5th place. Oliver’s time was 11.50, 3rd fastest of the day.
Saturday’s exertions were brought to a close by the Senior women’s team which had a lovely combination of youth and experience for the 3.8km circuits. First off was women’s team manager Katrina Prior with her 15.52, handing on to Lilly Hawkins, 16.29, and then Rebecca Carver 16.08, before the glory leg run by Debbie Glover making her debut for the Harrier team with a 16.14 clocking. The Women’s team finished in 52nd place out of the 80 teams that started.
On the Sunday the Harriers fielded two Senior Men’s teams, of six runners, and one V40 team, of 4, to compete over the two lap circuit of 6km. The V40 team was off first and they excelled by finishing in overall 5th place. Tim Hawkins led off and clocked a nippy 20.20 to hand on to Eddie Richards, 21.15, and then Jon James, 19.51 before Steve Masters anchored the team home with 22.02. Jon’s time was the 5th quickest for the veterans.
The Harrier’s Senior Mens A team had a new, youthful look about it this year, with Tom Dukes being the elder statesman given the privilege of leading the team off and running a 21.08 to set the team on the way. On 2nd leg, Nathan Young with 19.17 was the quickest of the Harriers, with Matthew Dickinson on 3rd leg 19.27, and then Kieran Young 20.36, Alex Wiltshire 20.09 and finally Philip Bridge 21.05. that was some good sequencing as the team steadily climbed up through the order to finish in 28th place overall and 25th of all A teams.
For the B team there was just as much effort by the assembled team of 6. Tim Hawkins finished the lead off leg in 20.42, followed by Jon Rowe 24.13, Pete Darton 22.56; Simon Prior 23.39; George Harris 22.39; and anchored home by Paul Maskell in 22.31. The team finished in 72nd place out of the almost 100 teams that started.
The National Road Relays are held on Saturday October 12th (senior men & women) and Sunday October 13th (juniors) at Sutton Park, Birmingham. The Club will be entering two junior teams: u13 girls and u17 men; and a senior men's team. Other teams wil be considered subject to athlete availability and the strength of the team.