ERRA 12 & 6 Stage road relay – Report by Ken Smith
Sutton Park Saturday 15th April 2023
In sharp contrast to the previous day’s continuous rain, race day morning was bright and sunny.
Again this year 3 Scottish and 3 Welsh men’s and women’s teams had been invited, whilst all 3 men’s team had entered but we only had 1 women’s team from both Wales and Scotland.
Before the seniors start, it was the turn of the Young Athletes to run the Sutton Park course on their certified 5K.
For the men Salford’s Fintan Kehoe finished 5th 17.51, whilst in the women’s race Salford swept the board with the top 3 finishers and 1st team award, with
1st Sophia Roiditis 8.42, 2nd Marissa Caldwell 19.15, 3rd Matilda Byrnes 20.44
For the Under 15 boys, Warriors Pentathlon had Oberon Kearney taking the silver medal, whilst the team won the gold medal, with
2nd Oberon Kearney 16.54, 4th Jamie Barnes 17.52, 6th Noel Ford 18.42.
The under 15 girl’s winner was Holly Cross, Liverpool Harriers 17.33 with Salford’s Darcy Slattery taking the bronze medal and Salford the winning team with:
3rd Darcy Slattery 18.36, 5th Jasmine Wright 19.01, 7th Sophie Nation 19.27
With their senior women 3rd in the 6 stage, Salford are clearly developing a talented squad of female athletes.
Norther Champions Blackburn Harriers were not competing at the National, but you could sense that the Leeds women were out to make a statement to avenge that 3rd place finish at Redcar after leading for 4 legs of the race.
Three changes in the team and Jennifer Walsh, 2nd fastest long leg at Redcar, moved back from 1st leg to anchoring the team on that crucial final leg.
7th on leg 1. Leeds were up to 4th by the end of leg 2, thanks to Eleanor Curran’s equal 6th fastest time of the day 17.34. Alice Leake then moved those famous Blue and yellow Leeds colours with up to 1st place, 17.59.
Heather Townsend’s 30.04 on the 4th leg, maintained Leeds at the front. .During that 4th leg, Jennifer Walsh could be seen warming up so intensely she was going faster than some competitors in the race.
Leg 5 had S. Pennycook 17.35, and 8th fastest time of the day, maintaining that 1st place but increased the lead to 1 min 49 seconds. Jennifer Walsh was never going to allow anyone to catch her on that last leg and she brought the Leeds City A.C Team.
Great team pictures of Leeds with the twins always present.
Salford women made just 1 change to their silver winning Northern Team, bringing in the experienced Eleanor Bolton on the long first leg. Their team was once again a balance of youth and experience, Nicola Mason on leg 3, and the last 2 legs being the powerful duo of Laura Lombard and Sinead Bent.
Eleanor Bolton brought the team in 4th, their lowest position of the day on the 1th leg. They moved up to 2nd after leg 2, their highest position of the day before finishing 3rd and then 4th on leg 3 and 4. Leg 5 had Laura Lombard finishing behind Hallamshire by 28 seconds, leaving Sinead Bent to produce the 6th fastest time of the day, and move Salford into the bronze medal position some 62 seconds ahead of Hallamshire in 4th, and only just behind Thames Valley Harriers.
Charnwood A.C only had a team of 2 athletes both quality athletes.
Sophie Coldwell produced the 6th fastest time on the long leg and Gemma Steel again produced the fastest short leg time of the day, 16.41 some 36 seconds faster than her 2022 fastest short leg.
Rotherham were the next Northern team 12th, followed by Steel City Striders 19th.
1st Leeds City A.C. 2 hours 10 minutes 49 seconds
2nd Thames Valley Harriers 2 hours 12 minutes 49 seconds
3rd Salford Harriers 2 hours 12 minutes 37 seconds
Men 12 Stage
Central A.C were invited down from Scotland to the championship and they simply won everything they could. 1st team, fastest long leg and fastest short leg. The team was well thought out, lowest place was 14th on leg 2 and on the final 6 stages they were never out of the podium places hitting the lead on leg 11. All their athletes were well motivated and knew their position in the team. And their big guns performed. No more than Andrew Butchart fastest long leg of the day 24.57 by 1 second from Kent’s international Triathlete Alex Yee. They had another athlete in the top 10 fastest long leg times and 3 in the top ten fastest short leg times, including Hamish Hickey fastest of all on 15.07.
No other club had as more than 2 athletes in both the top 10 fastest times.
Invitations to attend the championships were sent to Scottish and Welsh Athletics to introduce more competition, that was exactly what the men did with Swansea also finishing 4th.
Morpeth, Hallamshire and Leeds City the top 3 Northern clubs at Redcar, all seemed to be a couple of their big names short, as were several other clubs. Leeds were the highest placed Northern club in 8th position followed by Morpeth in 11th, Hallamshire in 14th, and Salford 15th.
Marc Scott, Richmond and Zetland, was 1st back on leg 1 with his time of 25.21 being equal 4th fastest of the day and his club finished 31st
1 ) Central A.C 4 hours 9 minutes 54 seconds
2) Highgate Harriers 4 hours 10 minutes 38seconds
3) Kent A.C 4 hours 10 minutes 50 seconds
8) Leeds City A.C 4 hours 17 minutes 3 seconds
11) Morpeth Harriers 4 hours 18 minute 3 seconds
14) Hallamshire Harriers 4 hours 20 minutes 33 seconds
15) Salford Harriers 4 hours 22 minutes 26 seconds
Pictures by Eileen Ingham