The senior winter squad finished 28th in the National Round of the England Athletics Virtual Relay that closed on 21st February, in a time 3:57:34 for the 40 mile race distance. This was an improvement of 15 places and was 7 minutes faster than the performance in the January Qualifying Round that secured our place at the top table in this new mixed team event, based on the times of each club's fastest four men and four women over 5 miles each. The undoubted highlight for Woodford was Phil Norman's run of 23:02, which was the fastest leg of the whole event. Phil had helped secure qualification, without prejudicing his Olympic ambitions, by submitting a training tempo run in the earlier round. This time he committed to racing and produced an imperious 4:36 per mile along the Tarka Trail from Barnstaple on the opening weekend of the competition, while much of the rest of England was blanketed in snow. The team's overall improvement was also built from significantly faster runs by Alicia McArdell, Rachel Lund, Ed Shepherd and Tom Beedell, and greater competition for scoring places as James Stockings entered the fray.
Phil Norman racing on the road 13 months ago
Well ahead on the virtual road, champions Wirral AC (3:32:39) edged out long-time leaders City of Norwich by just 21 seconds, and will now progress to represent England in the International Round against the other home nations' champions. Met League rivals Shaftesbury Barnet were 7th, and Essex challengers Colchester Harriers 22nd. The latter dropped 3 places despite their 3 minute improvement as standards were raised throughout the competition.