Under 13 boys squad, left to right, Richard Slade, Theo Kontos, Angus Denison-Smith,
Freddie Burrell, Will Perkin, Fred Sanders, Robert Hall, Sam Henning.
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Pictures by Steve Perkin
In the National Road Relays at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, the
highest calibre event yet in the autumn season, Chiltern Harriers young
distance runners again acquitted themselves well.
This time it was the Under 13 boys who stole the glory with a superb bronze medal. Both Under 15 boys and girls teams just missed out on the medals, both finishing in fourth place.
The 3.8k hilly course in Sutton Park is common to all age groups so a tough test for the Under 13s. The boys ‘A’ team was led off by Robert Hall who had an excellent run to bring the team home in fifth place with a leg of 13.57 (seventh fastest of the race). Will Perkin took over and found himself in the lead for a time and was one of three runners finishing the second lap neck and neck. His lap of 14.23 set up Sam Henning for the final stage. Sam, who recorded 14.30, couldn’t hold the experienced Leicester runner whose team won the race, but moved away form the rest of the field only to be overhauled near the finish by a fast finishing Tonbridge runner.
Meanwhile the B and C teams also fared well, the B team finishing an amazing 11th (from 34 complete teams), ahead of many clubs’ A squads. After the end of the first leg Fred Sanders on the B team (14.50) in 22nd was just ahead of Theo Kontos of the Cs in 23rd (14.53). Freddie Burrell took over to run 14.56 to move the B team up 9 places. Angus Denison-Smith then had a brilliant run of 14.28 to collect two more places to end in 11th. Richard Slade moved the C team up a couple of places with 15.29 to finish as an incomplete team.
The Under 15 girls did very well to finish fourth from fifty-four teams in a high quality race. Hannah Morton had another good run to end the first leg in fourth with a time of 14.12, which was ninth fastest of the race. Katie Bench took on the second leg and ran 15.46 to bring the team home in eighth. Connie Lewis then ran a great leg to haul back four places, just missing catching the girl in third. Her time of 13.50 was third fastest of the U15 girls race.
The Under 15 boys were led off by in-form James McCarthy. He was in a group at the front of the field and ended the leg in second place with a brilliant 12.40, fifth fastest of the race. Joe Aherne took over and maintained second place with 13.19. First year Bill Hughes had to contend with several exceptional runners on the third leg and did well to run 13.28 to finish in fourth place. Joe Cochrane ran 14.04 as the sole B team runner.
The Under 17 men were next up and finished 31st from 54 complete teams. George Gillingwater led off with 12.51 to finish 26th. Jack Walker gained a place with 13.13 and Liam McDonald finished things off with 13.49.
Earlier in the day the Under 13 girls had fared less well. After an intensive few weeks of training and racing, Hannah Thear struggled with sore knees on her first leg. She bravely finished her lap however in 16.35, to give the second and third leg runners a chance. Orla Fawcett ran well to move up 14 places in 15.45 and Year 6 girl Sophie Morton did very well to run 16.16, moving up a further four spots to finish a creditable 20th . First leg runner on the B team Lizzie Barraclough struggled with breathing to run 16.57, and Abi Jones (18.27) and Rachel Padwick (17.40) also found the long course tough going.
The racing season now has a rest for a fortnight so athletes can recover and train for the period leading up to Christmas. The next big event is the final part of the Relay Season, the National Cross Country Relays in Mansfield on November 5th.