There is only one place to start this week at that is in Sutton Park, this time for the ERRA National Road Relays where the top qualifiers from the Northern, Southern and Midlands Road Relays faced each other to determine who was the best in the country. There were rumours flying around of a famous athlete, famous to those in the know, running later in the day according to social media but we started with our own famous faces as the kids kicked things off.
The club were briefly amongst the medals in the U13 boys’ event when Rocco Hawley finished the first leg in 3rd place in 13.33, the 5th fastest time on the day, Theo Ulfig hung on for a good 4th with a 14.15 second leg and Jonathan Yang ran 14.23 to bring the club home in an excellent 6th place in 42.11. In the U13 girls race the A team placed 32nd, just 30 seconds behind local rivals Tipton Harriers, with Kiki Guest running a 15.28 first leg, Gracie Billett taking over the second leg with 17.32 and Erin Mia Nash on the third leg with a time of 17.52, a total time of 50.52. The B team of Evelyn Haines 17.20, Phoebe Bridgen 18.08 and Amira Moulder 18.08 placed 43rd in 53.36.
There was a 25th place finish for the U15 boys A team with Sam Thursfield running 13.04, Will Hughes 13.23 and Jayden Burdish 13.55 to finish in a total time of 40.22. The B team was incomplete with Jack Stockton the only runner, clocking 12.52. The U15 girls placed 29th in 47.24 with Grace Hendy running 15.25, Lucy Horton crossing the line in 16.15 and Ronni Read finishing in 15.44.
It was onto the men’s race with talk of Australian international athlete, Stewey McSweyn turning out for Belgrave Harriers according to his Instagram page, fresh from doubling up over 1500 and 5000 at the Budapest World Championships, the World Cross Country Championships bronze medallist was pulling on the Belgrave vest to run the final leg for the London based club. However, the might of Wolverhampton & Bilston beat Belgrave as McSweyen was disqualified as he wasn’t registered in time. The rules stated any overseas athletes must be registered by the 1st January and although Belgrave knew he would be DQ’d prior to the event they said they wanted him to run for the buzz it would create.
There was still plenty of excitement from our own club as Jon Hart, on the first leg, lost a shoe with a mile still to run and finished with just a sock on his right foot and his carbon Hoka on his left. Despite doing some serious damage to the skin on the bottom of his unshod foot he finished in 19.50, there were no dramas from Rob Meredith who was off second and came home in an uneventful 19.37, James Neilson ran the third leg in a rapid 19.19, James Wright ran 20.56, Paul Dean made his Sutton Park debut with a 22.20 fifth leg and Harry Dyall raced round in 19.38 to bring the club home in 63rdplace in a total time of 2.01.40.
Paul Dean was at it again 24 hours later in the Werrington 10k running 42.23 to take 27th place, Craig Buggins was 96th in 56.12 and Ruby Buggins chased him home in 97th in 56.13. A couple took part in the spectacularly named Run Bournemouth Supersonic 10k, although there were sound barriers broken the club was well to the fore with Ben Pilsbury crossing the line in 14thtaking 1st M40 in 38.12 and Lee Pearson finished in 18thin 38.23 claiming the 1st M50 prize. Also in Bournemouth Emily Simmonds and Vanessa Landreau took part in the Bournemouth Half Marathon, Emily was 388th in 1.45.26 and Vanessa finished in 1.57.43 to take 882nd place.
Rob Edwards took part in the Shrewsbury Half Marathon finishing in 1.43.09 to take 130th place and our fantastically consistent marathon duo rolled on to Chester where Dave Joynson was 341st in 3.12.10 and Gillian Mitchell stopped the clock in 5.36.58 for 3211th place. And Imogen Harley ran the postponed Buff Winter Trail (Half) Marathon Wales around the forest of Dolgellau finishing in 468th place in a time of 3.22.45.