National Road Relays - 9/10/21

12 October 2021

7 Harrier teams headed to Birmingham to take on the fastest teams in the country at the National Road Relays. After an array of brilliant performances at the Midland Road Relays two weeks prior expectations were high.

Olivia Avery and Rosie Reynolds kicked the day off for the Harriers running the 1st leg for the U13Gs A and B team respectively. Avery ran a brilliant race, holding her own against a fast pace to finish in 16:25 and passed on to her sister, Evie Avery, in 26th. Evie Avery moved through the field running an almost identical time to her sister, 16:29, meaning Maddie Thomson headed into the final leg in 21st. An incredible run by Thomson saw her beat her time for the Midland Championships by 6seconds and her finish time of 14:31 saw her secure the 4th quickest U13G time of the day. Overall the team finished a phenomenal 10th, the highest placing Harrier team. Meanwhile, Reynolds was breathing down the neck of the A team on leg 1 with a run of 16:56 for 33rd place. Josie Steer kept the B team's momentum going with an impressive time of 16:21, moving the team into 25th. Bluebell Heath-Smith then brought the B team home with a time of 16:24, gaining 5 more places for the team meaning they finished in 20th. The 6 runs meant that 2 Harrier U13Gs teams finished in the top 20 in a National Championships demonstrating huge strength in depth at the club. 

(Photo: Left - Maddie Thomson bringing home the A team in 10th. Right - The U13Gs A and B teams)

Next up was the U15Gs with two Harrier teams heading to the start line again. Eleon Wightman took on the challenge of leg 1 for the A team. Wightman ran superbly to finish in 16:12, just 1second slower than her time at the Midland Championships and hand over in 47th. Georgia Howell moved the team up 11 places  to 36th and ran well to finish in 15:42. Despite being ill in the lead up to the event Ellis Woolley was determined to make the start line and did the team proud running 16:05 and bringing the U15Gs A team home in 31st. Isobel Burfitt, Abigail Thornley and Harriet Smith combined to form the U15Gs B team. Burfitt headed out first running 19:28 and handing to Thornley in 67th. Thornley ran well to finish in 18:21 and move the team up to 60th. Smith then improved on her Midland Road Relays time by 4 seconds, running 16:23, to bring the team home in 52nd. 


(Photo: The U15Gs A and B teams)

The U15Bs race turned out to be eventful for the Harriers team. Dominic Martin led the team out to a flying start running 13:11, 12 seconds quicker than his Midland Road Relays Performance and a brilliant 9th on leg 1. Freddie Coombe took the pressure of running in the top 10 of a National Championships in his stride and also improved on his Midland Road relays performance by 12 seconds, running 14:21 for 19th. Sam Wilson encountered an issue around halfway around the course resulting in him running the entire second half of the race with only one shoe on. The determination to keep going and not give up in such challenging circumstances was incredible and despite the issue Wilson still ran 14:05 and brought the team home in 17th place. 

Chloe Sheppard ran well on leg 1 for the U17Gs team finishing in 15:26 and 36th place. Freya Howell maintained the position with a fantastic performance of 16:50. Finally Molly Dibden brought them home in style with a run of 16:30 to finish in 29th.

(Photo: All smiles from the U17Gs team)

The senior women’s team qualified to compete with a 6th place finish at the Midland Championship and two of the runners returned to take on the Nationals. The senior women’s team also featured a rare mother-daughter duo with Kaitlyn Sheppard and Sarah Sheppard both making the team. Rachel See had a tough job on leg 1 with a very fast start to contend with. See ran well to finish in 16:26, 42 seconds quicker than her performance at the Midland Championships and hand over in 51st place. Kaitlyn Sheppard stormed through the field on leg 2, picking off 22 teams to finish in 29th. Sheppard’s time of 14:59 was 9 seconds quicker than her previous performance. Petra Vymetalova ran brilliantly on leg 3 in her first race since long term injury issues. Vymetalova ran 17:53 to hold 34th place. Sarah Sheppard was also returning from persistent injury set backs with a strong run of 18:12 to bring the team home in 39th.

(Photo: The SW team)