Midland Road Relays, Cardiff + Weston Half Marathons + National Primary Schools XC Championships
27 March 2022
The Midland Road Relays are always an exciting time for the club, a chance for our distance runners to come together as a team and compete against the best the Midlands has to offer in a fun and supportive environment.
This year the day kicked off with the young athletes road Championships. Incredibly in the U15B race Sam Wilson and Dom Martin were rewarded exactly the same time but Wilson was deemed to cross the line just ahead of his teammate giving him 8th place to Martin’s 9th. Harriet Smith also finished 8th in the U15G race and Milly Foster ran well to finish 17th.
The Women’s A team got off to a flying start thanks to English Schools Cross Country bronze medalist Kaitlyn Sheppard. Sheppard took on the 1st of 2 long legs (5.3miles) running 31:41 for 6th on leg 1 and a brilliant 9th quickest long leg overall on the day. Rather fittingly for Mother’s Day weekend Sheppard passed on to her mum, Sarah Sheppard. Sheppard two ran well to complete the 1st of 4 shorter legs (3.1miles) in 22:24 putting the team in 13th. Petra Vymetalova stepped up to take on the 2nd long leg. Despite a tough leg with the sun beating down on much of the course Vymetalova ran fantastically to finish in 37:09 and put the team in 17th at half way and with just three short legs to go. Brittany Crombie made her road relays debut on leg 4 running well to move the team up into 15th with a time of 23:14. Team manager Jo Wilkie then led by example on the 5th leg with a strong run of 21:49, before Rachel See completed the team with 20:13 and brought the home in in 15th.
(Photo: The women’s A team)
The Women’s B team also enjoyed a fantastic day finishing in 41st overall and an amazing 3rd B team! The team was led out by Angela Pippard with a time of 41:09 for 47th. Holly Derrick then moved the team up to 44th with a 23:47 clocking. Emma Quekett always rises to the occasion when it comes to the road relays and was reliable once again with a brilliant 42:07 to move the team into 43rd. Tracyann Whitfield ran 25:58 to move the team into 41st, before Mel Schofield and Lucy Goode brought it home with 24:34 and 25:11.
(Photo: Lucy Goode bringing it home for the women’s B team)
Meanwhile, beginning before and finishing after the women’s race the 12 strong Men’s team put on a brilliant fight. The race consisted of 4 long legs and 8 short legs. U20 Jamie Bell, new to the road relays, jumped in at the deep end taking on leg 1. Bell's performance was impressive, proving he was the right man for the job, running 30:43 for 35th place. Harrison Miles, Andy Gore and Martin Foster took on the remaining long legs all running very well to finish in 32:17, 32:43 and 32:41 respectively and handing over to the short legs in 39th. Darren Dempsey took on the first short leg running 19:32, Elliot Prince then moved the team up to 35th with a run of 18:34. Rhys Pippard ran 19:52 and Kev Spillman completed his leg in 20:27. Matt Evans then moved the team up to their highest position, 33rd, with a run of 19:55. Joe Chan made a brilliant Harriers debut running 20:35, before Michael Ede and Andrew Kaighin brought the team home in 34th place with times of 24:25 and 19:46.
(Photo: Jamie Bell, Joe Chan and Andrew Kaighin)
The following day it was our Half Marathon runners who took the spotlight. At the Cardiff Half Georgia Palmer ran an incredible race, knocking over 4 minutes off her PB to finish 1st U20 and 21st female in 1:24.34. The performance is an (unofficial) club record and puts Palmer 3rd in the UK U20 rankings!
Clare Hawling ran her fastest half marathon since 2021 with an impressive 1:41.06 to finish as 7th F55. Nicola Knight’s performance of 1:44.31 was her quickest since 2018 and ranked her as 20th F45. Over at the Weston Half Sue Townsend ran 1:43.11 to finish 2nd F55 and 31st female overall.
(Photo: Georgia Palmer at the BUCS Cross Country Championships earlier this year)
Back on the mud our youngest Harriers were getting their first taste of National Championship action at the National Primary Schools Cross Country Championships, with most of the Harriers competing for Gloucestershire.
Patrick Paul had a brilliant race finishing just outside the medals in 4th place in the Year 7 boys race. Jack Pennell also ran well to finish 23rd and Oliver Wilson was 87th. Running in the Year 7 girls race Olivia Avery completed a fantastic season finishing in 12th place. In the same race, but running for Worcestershire, Scarlett Eagland finished in 30th. Verity Lilley was 46th and Molly Hyde was one place behind in 47th.
In the Year 6 girls race Eleanor Thomson made the top 10 finishing in 10th and Martha Marsden finished 18th. Lucy Perry was 39th, Maisie Scott was 68th and Heidi Woolley was 85th.
Otto Pennell was 20th in the Year 5 boys race, Bertie Rogers finished 71st and Monty Wilkins finished in 92nd. Ivy Wightman led the Harriers home in the Year 5 girls race in 18th, with Hattie Bennet not far behind in 28th, Kimberley Hodgkinson in 35th and Jess George in 60th.