National Road Relays day at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday October 7th enjoyed very good weather and some great racing. For Blackburn Harriers, the U13 Boys Squad who had won Gold in the Lancashire Championships and Silver in the North West Championships going on to win Silver in the Northern Championships, had another cracking day finishing in the top 25 with David Holman (14.38), Kyle Taylor-Pomfret (15.04) and Dexta Thompson (15.00) combining to place 23rd Team overall which has capped a great four weeks of competition for them.
(David Holman on Leg (1) Start in the U13 Boys Relays)
At the end of the day the three lads all reflected on their performance with David telling us that “It has been a great experience being able to compete in the national road relays. It was a difficult race and I am proud of what we achieved today” whilst Kyle said that he had “had a great day and has really enjoyed the experience. He also wants to say well done to the older boys” with Dexta commenting that he “found the hills and the overall course tough but it was a good experience for the future”
(L-R U13’s Kyle Taylor-Pomfret – Dexta Thompson – David Holman — U15’s Matt Ramsden – Sam Hodkinson – Leon Thomas)
Next team up for the Club – the U15 Boys Squad – have been in fantastic form over the Road Relay month winning Gold Medals at Lancashire, North West and Northern Championships and safe to say they entered the Nationals confident of a good performance albeit that this was, just like the U13 Boys, their first time competing at National level.
Leon Thomas led off on the first leg featuring seventy five other Teams, clocking 13.33 to come through in 27th spot. Sam Hodkinson charged after the field, pulling back nineteen places in a time of 13.02 to hand over to Matt Ramsden on the final leg. Matt ran the equal fourth fastest leg of the day (12.42) to pull back another seven places, overtaking the then 2nd placed athlete on the home straight to clinch a fabulous Silver Medal for the lads. What a run by all three of them and this is what they had to say after picking up their Medals:
Leon ………“Words cannot describe how proud I am with our Team effort, coming second in such a prestigious competition and winning a silver medal for Blackburn Harriers was the best feeling ever. Well done to all Blackburn Harriers”.
Sam………“I am really proud of myself and the team today. Expectations were high, but not that high. All that training and help from the coaches has paid off. I am on cloud 9. Well done lads”.
Matt………“I am so pleased with mine and the teams performance at nationals. With it being such a vastly talented race coming second exceeded what we expected and the race was such a great experience”.
On to the Senior Men’s Race for the Harriers which saw Swansea win impressively by over a minute in a combined time of 1hr 45.16. The Harriers finished in 35th spot with a total time of 1hr 55.14 less than twenty seconds behind Gateshead.
Team Manager Paul Guinan was pleased with how the day went commenting “Great to be back at Sutton Park competing in the National Relays, we definitely belong there, pitching ourselves against the country’s best, and no doubt doing a really good job of it as well. Solid performances throughout the team and hopefully something we can build on in the near future, a big thank you to all the athletes that ran and also a thank you to those athletes that helped get us there. The athletes are the most important thing about the Club without a doubt, but a big thank you to George, John and Karl for making the trip and supporting the team. The future is bright. Well done all”.
(L-R Most Welcome Guest Jess Judd – Rob Warner – Chris Davies – John Chaplin (Senior Coach) – Karl Billington (Leading Cheerer on the Course) – Chris Arthur – Jack Hindle – Mat Nuttall — Front Row – Paul Guinan (Team Manager) – Tim Raynes)
Rob Warner kicked off the first leg placing 33rd in a time of 18.27, handing over to Chris Arthur on Leg (2) who ran the fastest time of the day for the Club clocking 18.00 and pulling back another nine places. Mat Nuttall went on Leg (3) running a solid time of 20.41 before handing over the Chris Davies on Leg (4) who posted a time of 20.18. Jack Hindle went on Leg (5) and by that time the Team had slipped to 51st place but pulled one back at the end of Jack’s good run in 19.19. Tim Raynes blasted off on leg (5) running a time of 18.29 to pull a massive 15 places back.
At the end of the day the lads spoke to the Club about the Championships with Rob Warner telling us that it “Was a fantastic day for the team yesterday, I felt everyone ran solid legs and in most cases ran quicker than we would have down on paper before the race! Like Chris said, we’ve got a really strong senior men’s side at the moment and if we can keep pushing on we’ll have some great results! On a personal note, I was satisfied with my run out. First time I’ve raced the course at Sutton Park and I really enjoyed it! I’m never quick to be back in top shape after my end of season break after the summer but I felt that I gave a team a solid start and I’m a lot fitter at this time of the year than I have been in previous years!”
Chris Arthur commented “As a relatively new and somewhat sporadic member of the team I’ve really enjoyed the relays as a chance to put faces to names and get to know people a bit better. I can only really echo others sentiments that everyone ran brilliantly and it was great to have the support out on the course. I was very pleasantly surprised by my leg time; I can only assume my ignorance of who I was racing worked to my advantage”.
Mat Nuttall speaking at the end of the day echoed the other athletes when he said “I thought the day went extremely well, every team member gave 100% effort and focused on the job in hand. All of our efforts were galvanised by a great Team Manager and Coaches”.
Chris Davies said that “It’s always great to run for the club and yesterday didn’t disappoint. On a personal note I was looking forward to this one, it had been quite a while since I had run at Sutton Coldfield, nearly five years to be exact so I was keen to see how I would fair this time round. It’s a tough course. It was just over 3 1/2 miles and the first 2 are the toughest. Once their out the way then it’s good running to the finish. I was happy with my time of 20:18, a good solid run so no complaints their. As a team we were all outstanding. Every person (Rob,Chris,Matt,Jack and Tim) all ran great and were a credit to the club and I feel we did ourselves proud with a good solid performance. Team spirit was great and hopefully we can carry on like this and I’m sure in the near future we will come away with a really big result. The Senior group is strong at the moment and is proving to be a good group of runners. Keep it going guys because I’m sure their is a big result coming for us soon”.
Jack Hindle who had such a brilliant event at the Helvellyn Triathlon recently told the Club“It was great to be racing at the national road relays in the seniors for the first time. Pleased with my run, which contributed to an overall strong team performance. Well done to the lads and U15 boys on a fantastic performance”.
Tim Raynes spoke afterwards saying that he “Really enjoyed the day yesterday. As the other lads have said, great runs from everyone in the team. It was obvious that everyone was giving it all for the club! Really solid position from the club, a foundation that we’ll hopefully be able to keep building on. Top 20 next year?! It was great also to have George, John, Guiney and Karl down to support – made it a top day. Particular congratulations too to the U15 boys for winning the silver. Future is looking bright!”
Chris Davies was out again the day after the National Road Relays competing in the Northern Masters 10000m track race at Ashton (October 8th) – the first time he had run the distance on the track. “Like the National Road Relays I was looking forward to this simply because I had never tried to do a 10K race before on the track. The strategy has to be slightly different to the road simply because their is no rest bite on the track, it’s just all full on. The strategy was to hit 5:40 pace which I managed to do, in fact I was averaging 5:35 pace which was very pleasing having run the Nationals the day before. I ran the race well, I stuck behind another runner up to the 5 mile mark and broke away with 4 laps to go. I got the win so that’s 2 for 2 in the Northern Masters on the track and a good way to finish my track season this year. Probably would have got under 35 minutes but I was having to run wide a lot when lapping other people. Still a good result though”.
Out on the Roads Shaun Livesey who recently won the Cragg Vale 10m – (Cragg Vale Results) – was back on the roads competing in the Cheshire Half-Marathon at the weekend (Sunday October 10th) and it turned out be a pretty good day for Shaun as he finished 2nd over all out of a field of five hundred and sixty four and took the 1st V40 prize with a time of 75.04.
Shaun spoke to the Club with his thoughts about the race saying “After my success at the GP series of races I decided to have another go at the half marathon distance. With some reasonable outings at the two road relay events and a good performance at the cragg vale 10m road race ( placing 1st) I knew that I was in the shape to run 75/74 mins. However shortly after the cragg vale race I started to develop a heavy cold which set my training back. I had chosen to do the cheshire half at Arley hall knowing that the ground was flat and mostly tree lined roads. The day before the race I did a little session involving some short strides to see how my breathing was, from that I decided to race, but still not 100%. Come the day of the race the weather was ideal, I knew the race attracted some fast runners and I had hoped I could get involved in a group and work together. However this did not materialize, I basically ran the whole race on my own, turning it into a time trial. I hit 5m in 28:10 and then onto 10m in 57:05, then the last three miles were a big effort trying to keep my pace under 6min/mile, the crowd certainly helped at this point. I crossed the line in 1:15:04 2nd place and 1st vet 40. With everything considered this could prove to be one of my best every races”.
Evan Cook was on the winning trail again too taking the 1st V65 prize at the Rochdale 10k run on Sunday October 8th. Evan clocked a time of 44.45 which brought him home in 42nd spot out of a race featuring four hundred and thirty five runners.
Hammer Circle Reunion Open – October 7th & 8th
Just one more competition for the Club’s Hammer Throwers which took place at Hull over the weekend featuring wins for U17 Charlotte Williams, U17 Sam Gaskell and U20 Jacob Roberts.
Jacob Roberts went in to the U20 competition (6kg) with a personal best of 65.64m and nearly broke that when he won his event with a throw of 65.50 which he was delighted with as he explained to the Club that it was “a brilliant end to my 2017 competition season with consistent throwing and 14cm off my PB….onwards now to winter season. Thanks to my Coach – Mick Hitchon – and my training partners”. Also just cm’s outside his personal best of 59.11m was U17 Sam Gaskell who threw 59.03m (5kg) to finish 3rd in his event. U17 Charlotte Williams broke her previous personal best in the 4kg Hammer, not once, but twice – throwing 51.94m on Saturday for 3rd place and then extending that new PB on Sunday to 52.23m. Reflecting on her performance with the Club, Charlotte commented “So the last competition of the season ended in great success. Competing in the u20’s, getting a new PB adding an extra 3 metres and also winning the u20’s as a bottom end under 17’s was a really good way to end my season. On to winter training now and hopefully big distances next year. Thankyou to my coach Mick, mum and dad, the club and training partners for the continuous support. Looking forward to the 2018 season”.
And just to round off this latest Post for the Harriers – with thanks to David Belshaw for this photo – of some Blackburn Harriers at the Burnley Junior Park Run on Sunday morning, many of them will be running their first ever cross country Club Race next weekend.