Northern Relays Race Report

Dominic Easter with the first of what is expected to become a regular feature. It is anticipated that these reports will eventually become such essential reading that they will “overshadow the event itself”.

Race results here and here and some pictures and videos here.

Women’s race

I’d been told by a few people that Emma was really fit and this was clearly in evidence on Saturday. She and Elle Vernon pulled away from the rest of the field. Vernon managed to get a small gap but Emma doggedly clung on and the gap was only 8 seconds as she ran 25.51 for 2nd fastest time of the day. On second Katie Parry virtually matched her Stockport opponent to the second with a determined effort of 14.03 (10th fastest), and by the time Charlie Wills had finished (14.10, 12th fastest, no pit-stops) Leeds were essentially in a tie for first place. International triathlete Heather Sellars took on the second and final long leg, she took over 90 seconds out of the Stockport runner (26.56, 4th fastest) meaning Leeds had a commanding lead – with two of the best runners in the country on 5th and 6th legs things were looking good!

Our dear leader, international marathon runner Susan Partridge took another minute out of Stockport running 13.12 (4th fastest) and international steeplechaser Rachael Bamford already had a smile on her face after 100 metres as she finished the team off in style with 13.08 for 3rd fastest. The eventual winning margin was a huge 4 mins 20 and should have Aldershot quaking in their boots.

The women’s B team also took a very creditable 12th place. Suzie Richards (28.39), Rachel Atherton (16.10), Becky Townsend (14.39), Rachel Friend (31.23), Jennifer Yates (17.17) and Kirsteen Young (15.40) combined for first B team (by over 7 minutes!) and national qualification. A fantastic effort.

Men’s race

In the men’s race, Tesfaye Debele took on first leg, matching international athletes Tom Lancashire and Jonny Mellor for the majority of the leg, coming home in 4th place with a time of 23.13 (7th fastest). He was ready. Leon Foster stepped up for his A team debut on leg 2, he pulled out of the station at a strong pace and chugged along to an effort of 12.26 (51st fastest), the wheels came off a bit in the last 400 metres but thankfully he managed to stay on the tracks. Aye Carl had a canny run on leg 3 like, moving the team from sixth up to first with a sensational run of 23.03 (4th fastest). I love him, I really, really do. Dreamy Jon Wills extended the lead still further with an effort of 11.54 (9th fastest). He’s (almost) a Doctor, he’s dead good-looking and he’s bloody good at running. The rest of you must be really jealous.

The first of our marathon running triumvirate, ex-leader Simon Deakin took on the second long leg. Despite the fact that he’d been grumbling most of the week about being ill or something (I wasn’t really listening) he took time out of the Liverpool athlete (23.40, 13th fastest). Well done Deakin you old b&&(*$£. Happy Tom Edwards stepped up for leg 6, maintaining the lead with 13.27. Some people suggested he was preserving energy for his evening activities, but I can’t possibly comment. Joe Townsend (second marathon man) took on the final long leg; tired legs meant it was a battle from basically the first step. If it wasn’t a relay and he didn’t bloody love the club he’d have surely dropped out, but he didn’t (24.26, 32nd fastest). If you haven’t sponsored him yet, please do:

12 year old, 4 stone 6 lbs Ossama Meslek took on leg 8 moving Leeds back up to second with a superb 12.13 (34th fastest). A year ago the thought he was a sprinter – mental. From here on in it was short stages, our final marathon man, King of the Likes, Jason Cherriman took on 9th leg. He might not have been happy with it, but the fact that he’s prepared to come down and do a short leg during the crucial stage of his marathon training shows what a great club man he is (12.15, 38th fastest). We were now in third, roughly 10 seconds down on Morpeth in second. Liverpool were away and gone. Richest man in Yorkshire Mike Burrett virtually eliminated the gap to Morpeth on 10th leg with a swift 12.03 (20th fastest). 11th leg was something special, I’m reluctant to comment on it myself so I’ll just use this quote from a very good looking girl that I overhead and definitely didn’t make up: “wow he’s really fast and he’s very attractive, I really want to sleep with him” (11.45, =5th fastest, back up to second).

Leg 12 is where it gets very interesting. Reformed fatty Michael Salter was given the anchor leg. No-one will ever know at what point he took the lead, but he did take the lead (11.45, =5th fastest). We thought we’d finished second, however several of us concurred that we hadn’t seen the Liverpool athlete go through. Burrett then came bounding over and informed us that he indeed hadn’t gone through, miraculously he’d got lost, we had won! Never let it be underestimated – in order to win, first you have got to finish.

Disappointingly the B team could only muster three runners, Darran Bilton (who I’m reliably informed is a club legend) ran 26.07. I’ve checked power of 10 and he’s nearly 50, what a hero! I want to be like you when/if I grow up Darran. Rob Torch ran a very solid 12.40 on second. Trev Wilks did the final effort, unfortunately we don’t have a time for him because he accidentally ran in my vest and number and the officials were feeling particularly officious.

All in all, a great day for the club, a fantastic start for Susan as team manger/captain/spiritual leader. I prefer her to Deakin already. On to Sutton Park!