Our women's team were 18th today in the South of England 6-Stage Road Relay which was held at Milton Keynes. Real spring weather blessed this year's road relays and added to the traditional, fun, party atmosphere. Women ran 4 'short' legs of 5053m and 2 'long' legs of 7664m. Team Manager Alex Wardle had worked hard to get a competitive team out for this event and said pre-race that she would be pleased to make the top 20.
(L to R) Lund, Phillips, McArdell, Gilbert, Wilby
Photos (by Alex Wardle)
For our first (short) leg Team Manager Wardle selected our (notionally) fastest athlete, Chloe Bradley (left), who is a 1500m specialist on the track and preferred the shorter option. The choice certainly revealed that Chloe is in good shape as the track season approaches. She raced around to finish 6th out of the 34 starters in a time of 18mins 18secs - 59 secs behind Windsor's Chapman who was first over the line. It proved to be the 10th fastest time of the day on the short legs.
The second leg was long and it was tackled by Suzanne Phillips. Following on from Bradley proved a challenging task as Phillips was passed by 11 athletes as she clocked 31mins 51secs. Another track specialist, 800/1500m runner Becky Wilby, took the short 3rd leg and did well enough to fend off the opposition and overtake Belgrave Harriers. Her time was 20mins 53secs.
On leg 4 Rachel Lund, who has had a fine season over the country, nonetheless lost 3 positions as we dropped to 19th. Her time over the long leg was 32mins 20secs. Making her senior debut on the short leg 5 was Louise Gilbert. The team was very pleased to have some more new, young blood and didn't expect miracles of the athlete who has been with us since she was an U13. Her job was really to hold things together and deliver a steady performance, which she did - she clocked 21mins 14secs for her leg as we slipped 1 place to 20th.
And our anchor leg runner was Alicia McArdell, who has enjoyed her first uninterrupted season with the senior team after also coming through from the U13s. She ran a fine leg and pulled back 2 places as she recorded a pleasing 19mins 45secs.
The various team positions got mixed up during the day as 'long' athletes from Oxford and Colchester mistakenly ran short legs. The officials decided to allow them to rectify this by subsequent 'short' athletes running long legs. This was all rather unsatisfactory and possibly contributed to the fact that the teams left the venue without knowing the results.
But it must be said that 18th was a satisfactory team position for our team, so well done to the women and their manager.