Cotswold Way Relay, 29/6/13

Roger Mullins claimed a stage win as he led the Cheltenham Harriers team to victory in the Cotswold Way Relay. Ran as ten separate sequential stage races, the relay covered the 103 miles from Chipping Campden to Bath Abbey and relied on each runner navigating their own way along the Cotswold Way. On the challenging 20.4km fourth stage from Severn Springs to Cranham Mullins was closing down on leader Lee Rankin of Stroud and feeling confident of the win. However, Rankin deviated from the Cotswold Way on two occasions and took a shorter route to the finish. Whilst he crossed the line ahead of Mullins, race officials gave the Stroud runner a time penalty and awarded him the same time as Mullins, meaning that the stage win was shared.

The importance of correct navigation was highlighted on stage one to Stanway House when Jon Barnes gave the Harriers an early lead before going off course. Barnes eventually finished third, with Olympian Dan Robinson giving rivals Stroud a winning start. Russell Forsbrook also placed third on the 19km second leg to Cleeve Common to move the Cheltenham team up to second overall. The third stage to Severn Spring saw Miguel Mundinano move the Harriers into a lead that they would never relinquish as he placed second behind Gloucester’s Steve Millward. Following Mullins’ victory on stage four Andy Gore placed fourth on the leg to Ebbley Mill. Stage six saw team captain Elliot Prince finish second behind Chepstow’s Matthew Stott as the race reached Dursley. Dave Hemmings then placed fifth on the route to Wotton-under-Edge whilst Anthony Bailey placed eighth on the long stage to Old Sodbury. James Wilkinson then finished tenth on the penultimate stage to Cold Ashton before Steve Linton ensured the Harriers team a nine minute victory with eleventh place on the final leg to Bath Abbey.

A second Harriers team consisting of six men and four women also took part in the event with Dave Aubrey’s sixth on leg six and Andrew Kaighin’s eighth on stage nine the team’s highest finishes. Andy McCoy’s eighteenth on stage three means that he has now completed the full set of Cotswold Way Relay legs. Tommaso Migliuolo placed 13th on stage four, Richard Birch came home 36th on stage eight and Mike Ede finished 21st on the final leg. The team’s women also ran well with Teresa Roberts 61st on the first leg, Joan Shaw 43rd on stage 2, Nicola Whiteman 36th on leg five and Becky Amor 51st on stage seven to see the team finish as tenth mixed team, coming home twenty-second of the seventy-nine teams contesting the event.

Full Results