The Senior Men’s A team equalled their best ever performance in the English National 6-Stage Road Relay Championships at Birmingham’s Sutton Park on Sunday, finishing in 13th – the same position as last year – and top South London and Surrey team. In remarkable symmetry, the B team finished in 45th, again the identical position to last year.
The achievement was especially sweet as the A team, having targeted a top 12 finish, had to have a rapid re-shuffle when in-form Jonny Cornish was forced to drop out due to illness 48 hours before the race. Howell Craske stepped into the A team, while Matt Gibbons was drafted into the B team. In the windy conditions no one was able to come close to Ben Toomer's club record time of 17:30 set last year when he handed over in 9th place on the first leg. However Ross Franks got the team off to a strong start in 34th place after covering the 5.85km lap in 18:19. Second leg runner Charlie Eastaugh (pictured below left) gained 10 places in 18:29 before Howell Craske gained a further two places, clocking 18:37.
Alex Milne gained further ground in the buffeting wind as he moved up to 19th place in 18:15 before Richard McDowell and Tom Jervis on the last two legs ran identical times of 18:06. McDowell, who took the team up to 15th place was the eighth fastest runner on the penultimate leg, while Jervis brought the team home in 13th place, posting the fifth best time of the final leg. Despite the conditions the overall time of 1:49:52 was barely slower than the 1:49:24 set in 2018 and the team proved to be well balanced, with only 31 seconds separating the fastest and slowest times.
For the B team first leg runner Fred Slemeck also had a good start, handing over in 47th place in 18:42. Finn Johnson (above right) then posted the best performance of the sextet, moving through to 34th in 18:41, with Joe Clark (19:11) gaining a further place on the third leg. Andrew Parker (20:06) handed over in 41st place before Rob Tuer (19:49) lifted the team to 39th. The youngest member of the squad, Matt Gibbons (21:35), anchored the team to 45th place.
First win of the winter season for the U13 Boys
The Club’s youngsters were in action in the opening East Surrey League meeting of the season at Croydon’s Lloyd Park, also on Sunday. The U13 Boys team packed well to take the team honours, with Benjy Street finishing second, covering the two miles in 11:59. Oliver Warbey was third in 12:13 with Ibrahim Mohamed Achchi completing the winning team, finishing fifth of the 31 runners in 12:21. Jack Hobden was 14th in 13:23.
HW also took third place in the U15 and U17 race over 2.5 miles. They were led in by U17 Morgan Rennie, who was third of the of 51 runners in 14:21. Adam Hammadi was second U15 finisher in 15:42 taking 11th place overall, with Joseph Willis 18th and sixth U15 finisher in 16:52.
HW runners took the men’s and women’s honours in the Kingston parkrun on Saturday. Will Russell headed home the 373-strong field in 16:42 with W40 Gina Galbraith posting the top age-graded performance and taking the women’s race in 18:16.
M50 Stuart Fraser also posted the top age-graded performance, finishing seventh out of 501 runners in 17:39 on his debut appearance in the Burgess Park event.
Jesse Coulson, running in her 50th parkrun, was runner-up in the women’s race at St Mary’s, Bridport, Dorset, in a personal best of 22:30. It took more than a minute off her previous best set in August. Lisa Thomas was in action in the de Montsouris parkrun in Paris where she was second woman in 20:30.