ERRA Road Relays Sutton Park Saturday 8th October 2022 – Report by Ken Smith

Sutton Park looked in excellent condition on a bright and clear Saturday morning, after the heavy rain of the previous day.

Under 13 Girls

2021 had 3 Northern teams on the podium, 2 Liverpool teams plus Rotherham, but this time the North was just represented on the podium by Birtley in the silver medal position, with 2 athletes in the top 10 fastest times of the day.

U15 Girls

It looked highly unlikely after the first leg that Rotherham would finish anywhere near last year’s 2nd place, as they finished in 22nd position. However, the team plan worked, not quite perfectly, as their 2nd leg runner gained 14 places to 8th, but still finished behind their B runner in 6th place. Isabella Waugh another 5 places, with the 5th fastest overall time to put them in the bronze medal position. Mention of Graihagh Turner, Rotherham B runner, who had a 9th equal fastest time of the day, 14.00.

Under 17 Men.

This was a much stronger and consistent trio of Black Rotherham vests, with just 33 second between their 3 finishing times. Zak Ferguson enjoyed the glory of crossing the line first on the opening leg; his time of 11.38 was the 2nd fastest of the day.The team slipped down to 2nd place on leg 2, but retained the silver medal place on the final leg.

In the bronze position was another Northern club with a strong tradition for road running, Morpeth Harriers. Their place on the podium owed a lot to a superb last leg run from William Devene-Owen, who pulled the club up 5 places into 3rd.

Senior Women

The 2021 result had Aldershot Farnham and District with the top 2 places on the podium, Lincoln Wellington in 3rd.

So with 92 teams entered, 8 more than the men, could Lincoln improve on last year’s podium position?

It started off well for Lincoln with Abbie Donnelly first back in 14.00, the 2nd fastest time of the day, and they remained in top spot at the end of the 2nd leg, but Salford moved up to 2nd. An amazing leg from Jessica Judd, 14.02, 3rd fastest of the day, moved Blackburn up 26 places into 3rd place.

Salford’s Eleanor Bolton was 1st back on leg 3, Tonbridge up 8 places to 3rd, Aldershot up 3 to 4th.

Salford had a lead of 5 seconds as Sinead Bent set off but Lucy Reid, Tonbridge, with the 6th fastest time of the day, moved her team into the gold medal position. Salford were 2nd, 4 places better than last year, Aldershot 3rd, Lincoln 4th, and Leeds 5th.

Fastest time of the day and the only time under 14 minutes was that of Amelia Quirk, Bracknell, 13.35 minutes.

Senior Men.

In 2021 Aldershot finished 1st, Leeds 2nd, so how would the rematch between current 6 stage champions of the North and South finish?

Aldershot retained Jack Rowe on last leg, the same leg as he raced in 2021 when he recorded the fastest time of the day, 16.33.

Leeds had Phil Sesemann on leg 3.

It was not until the 2nd leg that these two giants of road relays started to emerge, Aldershot in front, Leeds 26 seconds adrift in 3rd.

Phil Sesemann did not disappoint, despite his London Marathon exploits just 6 days earlier. 3rd fastest time of the day and Leeds had a 16 seconds lead over Aldershot, Cambridge & Coleridge into 3rd.

In fact it was Cambridge who almost threatened to spoil the party as they moved into the top spot on leg 4 and retained it at the end of leg 5.

All to play for. Cambridge were 20 seconds ahead of Leeds who were 33 seconds in front of Aldershot.

By the stone Graham Rush had put Leeds at the front, but Jack Rowe was closing fast on the 2 ahead of him.

The climb to the finish was packed with spectators as the lead bike came in sight of the finish line.

It was the red vest of Aldershot just in front of the blue of Leeds. Jack Rowe had done it again, winning by 5 seconds in another fastest time of the day 16.39.

Morpeth were the next Northern Club in 12th place, 4 places ahead of Blackburn.

U13G – Birtley 2nd
U15G – Rotherham 3rd
U17M – Rotherham 2nd
U17M – Morpeth 3rd
SW – Salford 2nd
SM – Leeds 2nd
Full results can be found HERE .

Pictures thanks to Eileen Ingham