Cheltenham Harriers produced an excellent team performance to finish 24th in the National 12 Stage Road Relays in Sutton Coldfield. Dave Roper took the opening long leg aiming to break the 27 minute barrier for the undulating 5.4 mile course for the first time. With his confidence high after placing fifth in the previous weekend’s national duathlon championship, Roper had an outstanding run to come home in tenth place in 26:47, the 22nd fastest time of the day. With the team so highly placed taking the 3 mile second stage was always going to be tough, but the experienced Darren Jordan paced himself well for a time of 16:01 to hand over in eighteenth place. Rhys Park ran well on the next long leg with a 27:41 clocking to maintain position, as did Anthony Bailey on the fourth stage with a 16:05 on his first appearance in a national championship. Dan Owen then ran 30:30 to hand over in 26th place before Jon Barnes brought the team through the halfway point of the race in 28th place with a pleasing time of 15:59.
Richard Dare then gained two places with a course personal best of 29:03 before Jeremy Bradley moved the team up another place with a 15:56. Andrew van Kints clocked 29:26 to hand over in 26th position to James Miller who impressed course pb of 15:56. Julian Wilkie took the final long leg and held position with a 29:51 leg before Marc Fallows gained a place with 16:09 on the final short stage. As well as taking 24th in the national event, the Harriers placed fifth in the Midlands Championship that was held within the same race due to snow causing the cancellation of the recent Midlands event. This equalled the club’s highest ever position in a Midland 12 Stage Relay.