Cotswold Way Relay 2022

11 July 2022

A few weekends ago 30 Harriers took to the trails running to compete in the Cotswold Way Relay. Tough weather conditions, with wind and heavy rain, made the hills even harder than usual, but a fantastic team effort saw the Men’s team finish 3rd and Mixed team finish 10th in the Open category, plus the Women’s team finished 5th in the women’s competition. Harriers also had 8 top 3 finishes and one stage win!

The first leg began early in the morning near Chipping Campden and it was Martin Foster, Michael Imeson and Jane Fairbairn who kicked things off for the three teams. Foster ran well to finish 9th in 1:37.35, Imeson was 24th in 2:09.58 and Fairbairn got the women off to a flying start coming in 2nd female in 1:38.31. Matt Wagstaff completed leg 2 for the men’s tea running 1:28.41 for 4th. Rowan Tibbs performed well to finish 9th for the mixed team in 1:41.12 and Petra Vymetalova finished as 3rd female in 1:47.44. The rain had begun by the third leg making conditions slippier and giving athletes an extra element to contend with. Simon Critchley came in 7th in 1:08.16, Alison Garton 1as 11th for the mixed team in 1:13.17 and Mell Schofield was 4th female in 1:21.24. One of the most impressive performances of the day came on leg 4, making her Harriers debut Nicole Firth was a class apart in the women’s field coming in 1st in 1:34.35, a performance that ranks her 8th on the legs female all time list. Phillip Aconley was 5th in 1:30.42 and Ross Swain was 16th in 1:53.18. On leg 5 Rhys Pippard ran 1:30.15 for 7th, Joe Chan ran 1:37.44 for 17th and Angela Pippard came in 6th female in 1:49.55. The teams were now at the halfway point and in a strong position that could be built on in the second half of the event. U20 Jamie Bell competed for the men’s team running a brilliant race to finish on the podium in 3rd with 1:12.06. James Wilkinson was 9th for the mixed team in 1:18.57 and Ellie Balfe also made the podium as 3rd female in 1:24.57. For the men’s team the next two legs were the turn of team managers Andrew Kaighin and Elliot Prince. Kaighin finished 4th in leg 7 in 58:27 and Prince was 3rd on leg 8 in 1:31.10. The mixed team saw TracyAnn Whitfield come 21st on the 7th leg in 1:22.32 and Matt Evans run well to finish 8th on leg 8 in 1:42.31. For the women’s team Katie Lea was 7th on leg 7 in 1:44.48 and Jo Fletcher ran brilliantly to finish 3rd in 1:40.53. Dan Minors and Russ Forsbrook completed legs 9 and 10 for the men’s team. Minors was 4th in 1:05.02 and Forsbrook had a fantastic run, finishing in 2nd in 1:06.24. Matt Withey came 5th on leg 9 for the mixed team in 1:07.02 and Paul Barnes brought them home in 10th with 1:21.14 on leg 10. Sadly for the women’s team they were missing one runner and had to take the forfeit time on leg 9 of 2:15, but Joan Shaw brought the team home on the final leg finishing 5th in 1:32.00.